The Beginners’ Guide to Etsy Product Photography

The Beginners Guide to Etsy Product Photography

When buyers are on your Etsy store, your goal should be to present all your products in the best light possible. The right way to achieve this is to learn all the essentials of product photography.

If you’re on a mission to learn the basics of product photography for your Etsy store, our guide will take you through everything you should know. 

We’ll start with gear first and then move to other essential tips that focus on lighting, camera settings, and the whole shooting process.

Gear Up

Your product photography journey starts by gearing up. While you might use a smartphone, working with a DSLR or a mirrorless camera might be a better choice. You get much more control over your photos.

Before you begin, you’re going to need several pieces of equipment.

1. Camera Body

You can opt for a wide range of cameras. Most modern systems have enough pixels for high-quality prints, so anything you opt for will get you there. Our recommendation comes down to Sony a6400, Nikon D5600, or Canon T7i.

That’ll satisfy all your product photography needs, especially if you’re a beginner. Each of these bodies is exceptionally user-friendly. Furthermore, they are also affordable.

2. Lens

Since you’ll shoot plenty of closeups, it’s a good idea to get a macro lens. Using a regular one might not allow you to get close to your subject.

For example, a Nikkor Micro 105mm f/2.8 is an excellent lens for product photography. Choosing your lens will depend on your body. However, all brands offer an equivalent to the previously mentioned one.

3. Artificial Lighting

You’ll need a lot of light for your photos. With more light at your disposal, your camera will capture much more details.

4. Light Reflector

If you have a natural source of light, a light reflector will be beneficial.

5. A Table, Props, and White Paper

Get some white paper for your table and the wall behind it. Also, getting a few props might be a good idea. You can use them to make your photos more interesting.

6. Tripod and Shutter Release Cable

A tripod is a must-have since you won’t be holding your camera. On top of that, you’ll use a shutter release cable. In essence, once you set up the camera, you’ll operate it without touching it.

You’ll understand why when we get to our shooting tips section.

Take Photos in the Right Surroundings

Lighting plays a crucial role in how your photos are going to look. You can either opt for natural light or artificial.

You can use natural light both inside and outside. If you’re inside, you should bring your table as close to your window as possible. While you’re going to have a lot of light, it’ll create a sharp shadow. 

That’s where using a light reflector will come in handy, as the reflected light will cancel out the shadow behind your product. 

Another option to opt for is to go outside. For example, it’s more suitable for clothing products.

However, if you want to take photos indoors and don’t have a lot of natural light from your windows, getting artificial light is necessary. Get photography lights in pair, so they can cancel out the shadows they create.

If you’re selling small products, you can also opt for a lightbox instead of investing in expensive lights. You can make one in seven simple steps.

Shooting Tips

Once you’ve prepared everything, it’s time to start shooting. Here are some tips that’ll help you take outstanding photos.

1. Understand Manual Settings

While taking photos in auto mode will result in great images, it’s better to take a deep dive into your camera’s settings. If you that, you’ll know what you’re doing when taking photos. Let’s go over the most important settings.

  • Shutter Speed - Ideally, you should stick with low shutter speed in product photography. That’s because you need to let in more light to your sensor. The quicker the shutter speed is, the less light gets to the sensor. That can result in underexposed images.
  • Aperture - The aperture stands for how open your lens is. The higher the number is, the closer the lens becomes. That means you get more depth of field, but the price is less light coming to the camera’s sensor. In product photography, you’re going to need more depth of field, so your whole product is in focus.
  • ISO - ISO value defines the sensitivity of your sensor to light. The higher the number is, the more light you’re going to have in your photos. Unfortunately, that comes at a cost. The higher the ISO goes, the grainer the image is going to be.

Therefore, a general rule to follow is to stick with the lowest ISO, shoot with an aperture of f/8 or f/9 and keep the shutter speed as low as you can. That way, you’ll still get enough light in your photos while the whole subject is in focus.

2. Use Autofocus

While you can focus every image on your own, it’s an unnecessary waste of time. Modern cameras have great autofocus systems. Rely on them to get the job done quickly.

3. Rely on Tripod and the Release Shutter Cable

When you get the shutter speed low, there’s a small problem. You’ll have to keep your camera as still as possible. Otherwise, the image is going to be blurry. 

Therefore, put the camera on your tripod and use a release shutter cable to shoot photos.

4. Utilize Rule of Thirds

Using the rule of thirds will allow you to take great photos. In essence, the rule serves to help position your subject, so the photo’s composition is on point.

Shoot, Edit, and Repeat

After everything’s ready, it’s time to start shooting photos. It’s the best way to learn how to take good pictures for Etsy. 

Do you have your first batch of photos? It’s time to do some editing. There are numerous photo editing tools. While Adobe is one of the best in the game, there are plenty of alternatives out there to explore.

All that’s left is to repeat the process until you get results that you like. After you get some practice, taking product photos for your Etsy store will become second nature.

Monitor Your Progress With Alura

As your product photos become better, your Etsy conversion rates might go up. You can keep track of all that with Alura. Our Etsy tool packs plenty of useful features. Reach out to us to learn more about it.

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