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Sarah Waggoner

The Best Way to Take Pictures for Etsy: Product Photography Tips for Sellers

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Unless you have a history of professional photography, taking listing photos for your products can be overwhelming. So what’s the best way to take pictures for your Etsy shop? Get the rundown here.

Why your photos matter

Product images matter because they help buyers trust you before purchasing. Buyers want to see high-quality images because it helps them feel confident that you will ship them a high-quality product to match.

Product photos can also help you stand out in a competitive marketplace like Etsy.

Recommended Listing Photo Size

It’s important to keep recommended listing image sizes in mind before taking your photos. Etsy recommends your listing photos are 2,000 pixels on the shortest side. You can read more about those requirements here.

Recommended Gear

While it can be tempting to jump into buying a ton of photography gear when you get started, it’s best to keep it simple at the beginning.

Going out to buy a DSLR camera is great only if you’re willing to invest the time it takes to learn how to actually use it. Otherwise, you’re wasting a ton of money on a camera that won’t work any better than your average cell phone.

So if you aren’t willing to spend hours learning how to shoot with a DSLR, start with using your phone’s camera.

You’ll know when it’s time to upgrade!


When you’re first starting on Etsy, I highly recommend using a plain white background for your images.

Props and fun colors can be great to experiment with, but can easily overwhelm your products if you’re not careful.

If you’re using props or busy backgrounds, take your images then ask yourself (or a neutral third party like a friend or family member) if your eyes immediately go to your product when first looking at the image.

Look at this photo below for example. It’s a beautiful setup, but if you’re selling the wooden tray under the coffee mug, it’s a bad image for your listing because most buyers will look at the book first.

camera, book, candle

Your buyers should never be confused about what you’re selling before they click on your listing.

Use a plain backdrop like a white poster board or a clean, white cloth.


Lighting for your photography should also be kept simple. Yes, there are a lot of artificial light sources that claim to make photography easy, but nothing will ever beat soft, natural light.

You don’t want to use direct sunlight like outside in the middle of the day. Instead, think of when the shadows are soft. You can take photos outside around sunrise or sunset.

You can also use filtered natural light. This occurs if you set up your product photos next to a window or an open door so the light is soft.

Shot Checklist

You’ll want to include a variety of different types of photos to make sure your listing photos are effective in showing your buyers what they’re purchasing. Here’s a great shot list to start your listings.

  • Wide shot to allow for cropping if needed in the future

  • Lifestyle shot to show buyers what their purchase may look like in their own home or daily routine

  • Detail shot for showing off special features or good craftsmanship

  • Scale shot to help buyers see how large your product is if they don’t read the description well

Lifestyle photos can be difficult if you don’t have a lot of photography experience. Make sure to give yourself plenty of time to practice or outside your lifestyle images to a photographer or influencer.

I love using The Social Cat to find influencers.

If you do have a DSLR camera, try using a macro lens for detail shots to get the best close-ups. Some phones have a macro setting you can try as well!


Keep editing simple by using Adobe Lightroom or a mobile app on your phone.

You’ll want to start by adjusting the brightness of your listing photos and adding a bit of contrast.

Make sure to avoid changing the colors of your product, even slightly, as this can cause issues when buyers expect the product color to match the photo.

Mistakes to avoid

Need some more tips? Check out this list of mistakes to avoid with your product photography.

  • Avoid cutting off your products in your thumbnail images. Taking that wide shot from the shot list above can help!

  • Avoid blurry photos. “Good enough” images on Etsy aren’t good enough anymore with the increase in competition. Make sure all of your images are clear and in focus.

  • Don’t over-edit. Editing software is a lot easier to use than it used to be, but you can overdo it. Make sure your product remains the focus of the image.

  • Don’t over-zoom. It’s best to walk closer to the image to get a good-quality shot. Using too much zoom can degrade your photo quality.

  • Don’t over-crop. It’s all about quality here! Cropping your image too much can make it appear blurry.


What is the best image format for Etsy?

Etsy accepts JPEGs, GIFs, or PNG images. Click here to learn more.

Can I use mockups instead of taking photos?

Etsy does have a strict mockup policy. You can use mockups for digital products, for POD listings (with some restrictions), and if you have made the mockups yourself with image of your actual products. Click here to learn more. (You will need to be logged into Etsy to view that link.)


The most important factors for your product photos are proper lighting and a clean background that allows your product to be the highlight of the photo.

Be prepared to practice a lot before getting the best product photos and keep motivated by remembering that they’re an important part of each shopper’s decision to purchase from you.


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About Author:
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Sarah Waggoner is a full time Etsy Seller with over $700,000 in sales. She helps handmade and digital sellers get daily sales on Etsy without all the complications.

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