Let me first say that I actually enjoy taking pictures of my newly created goodies and I usually can't wait until they are all ready to be posted in my shop.
However, If I had to choose one thing from my entire production process which annoys me the most; it would definitely be the time I spend editing pictures.
Deleting, Adjusting Brightness/Contrast, Cropping, Exporting, Saving, Changing Levels. It is just an unbelievably tedious task! But of course, there is no way around it either. It needs to get done one way or another and the longer I take to finish that, the more time I waste having my products sitting on my desk instead of being on the way to someone's home.
I'm sure everyone has a different way of doing all this so if after reading this post you realize that your methods are more effective and quicker, please do get in touch with me. I'll be more than willing to learn something new and make my life easier.
In the meantime, one thing that I do keep in mind is that if I get better at taking pictures, I'll also be able to decrease the amount of time spent editing them. If my lighting turns out to be great that day (cause you know, I have days where I just get 'lucky' and my pictures don't look too dark or too bright) then, I would skip that step completely.
Moving on to the actual editing...
As far as graphic editing software goes, these are some of the options I would recommend:
- Picasa (free, made by Google) This is a very basic, yet powerful picture editor which you can download at : http://picasa.google.com/
Awesome Video Alert! - These are a couple of video tutorials on how to edit your pictures for Etsy using Picasa. Make sure to watch them both, they are very easy to understand and follow.
Since I took about 300 pictures yesterday, my first task should be to go through them quickly and delete those that are very blurry and that make my
- Gimp (free) This is a great tool, with lots of editing features and you can download it at : http://www.gimp.org/
Here is the best tutorial I've found so far:
- Photoshop (Paid) This app just comes with all the bells and whistles. Lots of powerful options and my personal favorite, as I have not yet realized what the limitations of this tool are. You can download it from : http://www.adobe.com/
Being such a complex piece of software, here is a couple of great tutorials that will show you
how to fix pictures for Etsy by adjusting levels. (I'm still very tempted to record my own video, but that will sit in my to-do list until after I'm done with the 30 day program)
I love that both tutorials show you the before/after pictures. Remember what I said yesterday about not deleting the ugly/dark ones too soon?
Well, with some of these quick fixes; a lot of the pictures you thought would end up getting deleted may have turned into the ones you will decide to keep.
- Photoshop Lightroom (Paid) At last, here is one that I just use because of very practical reasons (a.k.a laziness ). Lightroom lets me import all my pics directly from my camera and it shows them as an album (similar to Picasa). I use this tool as my first step as I can, almost mechanically, crop, discard bad pictures and then export the ones I'd like to further work with in Photoshop already re-sized.
Since I don't think this process is any more effective than the one shown in the Picasa tutorial above, I will not bother providing more details at this moment.
Random Tips on Cropping
Cropping your images for Etsy is a little bit of a mystery. I've heard several professional photographers criticize some of the product pictures we see in there as not being 'good' from the commercial photography point of view.
Yes, props can sometimes be confusing to the viewer and may not really emphasize the actual product you want to sell.
Also, I'm sure you have noticed pictures where only part of the item would show and the rest is just blurred out or not visible at all.
Why? Because Etsy has a style of its own and so do the artists in there.
Whereas those type of pictures would never make it into a retail store catalog (at least not likely), we continuously see them hitting the front page of Etsy's website. They bring the artistic, theme based feel that we all love instead of making everything look like we just landed on Overtock.com or Walmart.
Therefore, whenever you read tutorials about photography, editing and what's right or wrong...
Always remember that your audience has a taste for a personal touch and creativity. They have eyes that will get wide open when they see a shiny close-up of a swarovski ring and they will certainly click on that soap that reminds you of that sweet cinnamon scent you've always loved.
Finally, being a newbie gives you license to experiment!
List and Test! Remove and Change! Switch and Replace! Keep and Enjoy!
- Edit your pictures the best you can.
- Use your imagination and play with special effects, filters, and cropping.
- If you get a 'good feeling' from some of your pictures, present them to your audience for a while and see what kind of feedback you get.
- Remember that the first picture is the one that needs to make your customer CLICK!
- Have at least 5 pictures per product.
- One picture showing how the item is packaged could be helpful and give you that little 'extra' credit if your packaging is cute or special.
- If you can, also a picture of your item being used/worn. (This gives the customer a really good idea of what they are buying and what it is for)
Also, you will want to test your pictures after resizing by uploading them to Etsy and viewing them from your shop page or the search results page.
Sometimes, the picture may look great in Photoshop or Picasa, but then whenever you upload them to Etsy, they seem darker or way too tiny and cannot be distinguished among the other products in your category.
Painful but possible!