Creating Artistic Product Photographs for online selling


I’ve had a lovely creative day, first wire wrapping and beading some pretty, vintage inspired earrings, and then creating the photographs  for use in my online shops.

I don’t pretend to be the expert photographer (I have absolutely no training whatsoever) but I can honestly say that my photographs have improved in my time selling on etsy (and now also on madeit).  There are two ways to improve your product photographs… the technical way (mastering use of white balance, exposure values, lighting, and macro features of your camera) and the artistic way. If you need help with the technical side of things I would advise you to read any of the online advice articles or forum threads on etsy, videos on youtube, and photography blogs.

Artistically, I would advise you to study the photographs of products that you love, what kind of mood do they create? What kind of props are they using to construct their arrangement? What do you have on hand that you can use? When I decided to get serious about my photographs, I went through my house, room by room, drawer by drawer, shelf by shelf, closet by closet and made a complete list of potential props and backdrops.


You would be surprised at how small a piece of paper, or fabric is needed for some photographs, I use everything from sheets, to small remnants of fabric, to small (10cm by 10cm) scraps of used wrapping paper or scrapbooking paper off-cuts.

Don’t forget you can use a larger piece of fabric or paper, and lay a small strip of lace or ribbon across it to make a very effective photograph. I would not rule out any pretty or appealing item you can find from being a star in your next photo shoot, no matter what size it is. I have even used a confetti of coloured paper from my hole punch on a piece of light coloured fabric and then rested my jewelry on top. Nothing goes to waste here.

The more you think creatively in this way, the easier it gets to come up with great images.

While some people will advise you to stick with one style of presenting your products, I can make a case for making a split. I create images like those above for my pretty, vintage inspired jewelry, and a more natural, primitive arrangement for my symbolic and traditional creations.

The two different feelings and looks created by the two styles is important because they suit the products represented, and appeal to the two different types of shoppers I’m trying to attract. I can say though, that some of my regular buyers have purchased creations from both styles and I can understand this, my buyers and supporters are quite like myself, and if the two different tastes are part of my soul, why not a part of others?

If you need help deciding the style of your photo arrangement, I would again, look at photographs of the top sellers in your creative field, and spend time developing your understanding of who your target shopper is (and there is a wealth of information about this in the etsy seller’s handbook, and in last year’s popular, Etsy Holiday Boot Camp series).

Practice makes perfect. I am still, not perfect. I can do a wonderful photo shoot, and then another day, I can struggle, I find it most challenging to photograph the domed glass in my altered art necklaces, and for some reason I struggle with light pink. I enjoy the challenges of creating successful photo shoots, and this is the reason that my once most hated job (photographing my products) has become just as joyful as creating the jewelry!

The jewelry featured in this post is fresh made today, therefore not ready in my shop yet, except for the witch necklace which is in my etsy store and ready to go to a new home.

To view moe of my jewelry or product photographs, you can visit my etsy store or madeit store and you will see for yourself both the highs and lows of product images!




6 responses »

  1. Nice tips!

    I’ve read a few posts that suggest ways to improve photography, but not much has helped for 2D artworks. I think you made a great point in advising to look at others in your field for inspiration and ideas.

    Another tip I hadn’t thought of or read before was to write down things in your house with “prop potential”. Then you can peruse the list later for something that matches your latest item. Perfect!

    A very helpful post – thanks, Starry!

    • I could do a future post on photographing art, my dad is an artist and I often photograph his work, I had to get pretty nifty with it since its behind glass (reflections! flash reflections!)

      I made the list to save me time and so I’d never forget something when short on inspiration. When I think of something new I just add it.

    • I’ve had that harmonica since 1994…. I love it. It wasn’t on my original list of props, but I was getting batteries out my top draw and there it was… I added it to the list but today is the first time I’ve used it.
      What instruments do you play? I haven’t mastered harmonica, but have several recorders/flutes, xylaphone, and can play piano

  2. Hi Starry,
    I have only even seen nice photo’s on your blog, and the way you use props is fantastic, and you do come up with some great ideas, that really do show the pieces of jewelry nicely.

  3. Pingback: Creative and Compelling Product Photography for online sales | starzyia

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