Part of the fun of browsing through Etsy is discovering new makers and products which make the visual aspects of a listing very important. As a buyer, we often judge a book my its cover. Dark, dingy photos of what could very well be an incredible product are often overlooked while well-lit, bright and styled shots win over the hearts of buyers and lead to a sale.
We chatted with the maker of Spry Ceramics about how to take good product photos while using simple tools and tricks. Discover how to bring your photos to the next level below!
1. Tell us about Spry Ceramics.
My name is Heather Spry and I live in a village in Lancashire, UK. I started making pottery a few years ago when I went along to a local class with my two daughters and loved it – pottery is so therapeutic! I’m still amazed that beautiful ceramic pieces started out as a ball of cold, wet clay!
In 2014 I was lucky enough to be given the opportunity to start my own business working from home and Spry Ceramics was launched. I love using beautiful patterns including Indian wood blocks in the design of my products, the creative possibilities are endless!
Every item made at Spry Ceramics is individually handmade by me in my garden studio. I use smooth, white earthenware clay that is rolled, stamped, cut and moulded into the finished shape. Everything is fired twice in my electric kiln before it’s ready to be listed in my Etsy shop. There is no better sight than the opening of a kiln full of newly glazed pottery!
Like most small handcrafted business owners I not only design and make my products, I’m also responsible for my own advertising and marketing which includes taking good photos, listing on Etsy, interacting with customers on social media (I LOVE social media), packaging and dispatching orders – all by myself! Luckily I enjoy being busy as there is always lots to do.
2. How do you take your product photos?
All my product photos are taken with my trusty iPad – I’d be lost without it! I have a special clamp that I attach the iPad to so it can be placed on my tripod. This means I have both hands free to move my products and props around easily to get the best shots. I also use the timer feature on the camera, recommended if, like me, you’re always nudging the screen when you press the camera button.
I don’t have a dedicated space or light box for taking photos but I like to make use of good daylight, if it’s too bright I use white boards and sheer fabric to deflect the light. I like to play around with backgrounds – plain white, natural wood, pretty fabric, even gift wrap – whatever enhances the product I’m photographing. I also like to include other items in the photo, flowers and crystals are my current favourites.
3. Do you edit your photos before posting?
I don’t think I’ve taken a photo and published it online without using an app to edit it. There are so many great apps available; it’s just a case of finding the one that suits you the best. I mostly use PicsArt to resize and fine tune my photos, it’s easy to use and can make a bad photo look fab!
4. What are some tips you have for new Etsy sellers?
Look at other Etsy sellers’ product listings and make a note of what works for them, or doesn’t in some cases – product photos are an example. Obviously it’s never a good idea to copy other makers but you may notice small details such as using keywords in listing titles will get your products seen by more customers.
Make use of social media! It’s not enough to just list your products on Etsy, people (including me) love to know as much about you as a real person and the behind the scenes of your business as you can share with them. Instagram is my favourite app – don’t forget the hashtags!
Offer your products to international customers if you can. Most countries have brilliant overseas postal services so make use of them. Also, it can be frustrating to find a gorgeous product on Etsy only to be told you can’t buy it because the seller doesn’t ship internationally. Around 50% of my sales are shipped outside of the UK so you could potentially double your orders!
Have fun! Running a creative business is hard work but it’s also very rewarding to know you’ve accomplished so much on your own.