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How to Organize a Photo Shoot on a Budget handmade and vintage goods


Do you ever daydream about having a beautiful, airy photography studio? A top-of-the line DSLR? A stylist on hand and a room full of gorgeous models to show off your items?

Well, guess what? Etsy is filled with creative sellers using out-of-the-box thinking to organize inspiring photo shoots with small budgets and limited resources. It’s easier and less expensive than you might think.

Australian Etsy seller Alice Nightingale decided to overhaul her item shots a few years ago and says that the results transformed the look of her shop, dramatically increased sales, and attracted instant attention from blogs and magazines. “I found that focusing on clearer, eye-catching photos each season made it easier for customers to be sure what they were buying online,” she says. “Images that look great in treasuries also boost your chances of word-of-mouth publicity and might just lead to a front-page feature.”

Feeling inspired? Read on for tips and tricks for organizing your very own professional-quality photo shoot. If you’d rather collaborate and share resources with other Etsy sellers, consider organizing a group photo shoot with a local Etsy Team.

Recruit a Talented Photographer

Sometimes it’s best to invest in outsourcing tasks in order to save time and get the best results. Photography is one instance where this can really pay off. Sound expensive? It doesn’t have to be. Here are some tips for finding a free or inexpensive photographer:

  • Conduct a mental scan of your friends and family. Do you know anyone who would be willing to help you by lending his or her awesome photography skills?

  • Research local schools and colleges that offer photography courses and workshops. Student photographers are often willing to work for free, just for the experience. It can be a win-win situation.

  • Check out websites like Model Mayhem or Craigslist. These kinds of sites [AS1] are often packed with students looking to build their portfolios and who may be willing to work for experience only.

  • Are you a member of an Etsy Team? Perhaps there are some photographers among your fellow team members. You could barter for an exchange of goods or services from your shop in return for their photography skills.

Find the Face of Your Brand

A professional or aspiring model wearing your items can often catch the eyes of shoppers and lead to higher views, favorites, and sales. Here are some ideas for booking a model or two to help bring your items to life:

  • Models and hair/make-up artists who are new to the business are generally eager to get some experience and add to their portfolio. Again, websites like Model Mayhem will make this search super easy.

  • Consider friends and family. Invite everyone to a fun picnic in the park or a party at your house and host your photo shoot on the side, calling friends over one at a time to have a few shots snapped.

  • Check out local modeling and beauty schools for students seeking experience.

AliceNightingale highlights a familiar face in each of her shop’s Featured Items spotlights.

Scout a Location

You don’t need to hire a professional photographic studio or rent lighting equipment to get professional results. Here are a few low-cost options to consider:

  • Local parks, beaches, and public gardens

  • Community halls and sporting clubs

  • Your own house or apartment

  • Check out Airbnb. You might be able to find a cool apartment or house in your area for a reasonable price

  • Maybe your grandma has a beautiful place with original retro furniture? Do you know someone who lives on a farm? Think outside the square.

Define Your Style

Do you have a friend who’s a stylist or who has amazing taste? Or do you have a local college nearby where you might be able to find a stylist in training? If you have a good eye yourself, spend some time collecting inspirational photos from magazines or style sties to develop your ideas.

Make a collage from these pictures to create a mood board or use Pinterest to gather your ideas. Make sure that all your style decisions for the shoot reflect the aesthetic you defined in your mood board.


Via Alice Nightingale

We don’t actually know what library this photo shoot took place in, but we think it’s a clever location.

Stay Organized

On the day of the shoot, you will likely be juggling a lot of balls, and it’s important to ensure that everyone knows exactly where they need to be and when. Creating a call sheet will help you keep everything and everyone on track. Here’s an example of a simple call sheet:

8 a.m.: Make-up artist to arrive on location for final briefing.
8:15 a.m.: Model 1 to arrive. Start make-up.
8:30 a.m.: Photographer to arrive for final briefing.
9 a.m.: Photographer shoots Model 1 with Products 1–3; Model 2 arrives. Start make-up.
9:45 a.m.: Photographer shoots Model 2 with Products 4–6.
10:15 a.m.: Break
10.45 a.m.: Photographer shoots Model 1 with products 7–10.
11:30 a.m.: Photographer shoots Model 2 with products 11–14.
12:15 p.m.: Lunch. Models finish.
1 p.m.: Photographer shoots stock shots of all products.
3 p.m.: Shoot concludes.

If you have time, ask your photographer to take some shots of you so that you can update your About Page. Etsy shoppers love to see the face behind the products they’re buying.

Organizing a photo shoot will take planning, time, and preparation, but it can be incredibly creatively satisfying and it can also be one of the most important steps you can take to really take your business to the next level.

Are you considering organizing a photo shoot or updating your shop photography? Share your photography tips in comments.

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3 Featured Comments

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  • Aristocrafts

    Aristocrafts from Aristocrafts says: Featured

    Wonderful tips! And this post came exactly on time as I'm planning a photoshoot for a new line of products. After a very dissapointing barter exchange experience with a professional photographer, I now have to start over, so this advice is much appreciated! To those considering a barter exchange, my tip would be to have the terms of the exchange very clearly stated and written down, it's best to don't leave any room for surprises, and everybody will win this way.

    1 year ago

  • superdewa

    Deirdre Malfatto from superdewa says: Featured

    As a photographer, I can assure you that I don't want to be asked to work for free. However, for the right items, many photographers "might" be happy to work for model/property releases and an agreement that they can license their photography as stock. They might also be be happy to work for barter of an item from your shop. I know that a lot of photographers search etsy for interesting props -- you can take advantage of that.

    1 year ago

  • JennieIngrid Admin

    Jennie Ingrid Smith from EtsyAUshop says: Featured

    I could not agree more that professional photography is one of the most important investments you can make for your creative business. Definitely worth every penny. If your budget allows, I would absolutely recommend hiring a talented photographer as a top priority. However, for those shops in the initial stages, or for those with lower budgets, there are ways to collaborate with other creative types in a way that is beneficial and fun for everyone involved. I would love to hear some comments from sellers who have invested in a professional photographer. What are your top tips? What were your experiences?

    1 year ago

  • CoralHome

    Elizabeth Veres from CoralHome says:

    Wonderful tips!! I am working on my About page and this article is helpful! Thank you! <3

    1 year ago

  • admspeicher

    Adam Speicher from SpeicherBowTieCo says:

    Very Helpful

    1 year ago

  • happydeliveries

    PrintandBeMerry from PrintandBeMerry says:

    Thank you for the helpful tips! Photography is something I've definitely been working on lately. I'd say one of the most challenging parts of running my business.

    1 year ago

  • saraaires

    Sara Aires from saraaires says:

    Great tips!!

    1 year ago

  • kaseyscrochet

    Kasey DeHart from KaseysKookiKreations says:

    This was so helpful! One thing I have done thought that wasn't specifically mentioned was to join a prop-photography trade team. I make baby/childrens photo props so this was an awesome decision for me. I make the prop, mail it off to my photographer, she takes the pictures and edits them then emails them to me..its a win-win situation for both of us. I get the pictures, she gets the props for the pictures which she gets to add to her portfolio. :)

    1 year ago

  • Aristocrafts

    Aristocrafts from Aristocrafts says: Featured

    Wonderful tips! And this post came exactly on time as I'm planning a photoshoot for a new line of products. After a very dissapointing barter exchange experience with a professional photographer, I now have to start over, so this advice is much appreciated! To those considering a barter exchange, my tip would be to have the terms of the exchange very clearly stated and written down, it's best to don't leave any room for surprises, and everybody will win this way.

    1 year ago

  • sylviatrench

    EB from SharpLilTeeth says:

    this is great. i had no idea about model mayhem. i already found three people who i think might be great to work with. awesome tips!

    1 year ago

  • ColourscapePrints

    Kelly and Kelly from ColourscapeStudios says:

    Oh dear... please Etsy, don't make photographers out there seem like they're overcharging with throw away lines like "Student photographers are often willing to work for free, just for the experience. " A student photographer.. or hobbyist photog'er for that matter, deserve to be paid for their services just as a crafter does for the item they're selling. Photography is a craft learned like everything else and these people deserve to be paid for their time.

    1 year ago

  • agebo

    Ann Cosgrove from acbcDesign says:

    Wonderful tips. Always trying to find ways to have better and better photos!

    1 year ago

  • aressa

    aressa from OriginalBridalHanger says:

    Great article....I would love to think outside the box for my photos....I often take them right before an item ships out!! :) I need to think of some awesome photo ideas for my new line coming soon....

    1 year ago

  • NicolasKnitKnacks

    Nicola and Jessica Belton from CelticKnittingCo says:

    Great tips, I try my best to make my pieces look good and stand out, these tips will defiantly help in my photography!

    1 year ago

  • labellefairy
  • RenataandJonathan

    Renata and Jonathan from RenataandJonathan says:

    Excellent advice ! Thank you.

    1 year ago

  • JillianReneDecor

    Jillian Carmine from JillianReneDecor says:

    Great tips! Thanks so much Jennie!

    1 year ago

  • Catinthecloset

    Catherine Dillhoff from Catinthecloset says:

    very helpful. thank you :-))

    1 year ago

  • WhisperingOak

    Quality Handmade Items from WhisperingOak says:

    Love the post. I especially liked the written schedule. Keep things organized and on time

    1 year ago

  • MegansMenagerie

    Megan from MegansMenagerie says:

    Wonderful tips! Photography can definitely be challenging!

    1 year ago

  • sukran

    Sukran Kirtis from SukranKirtisJewelry says:

    I was searching about it, how great to find here these great tips, Thank you:)

    1 year ago

  • ressamyavuz

    yavuz saracoglu from ressamyavuz says:

    Great tips! Thanks so much Jennie!

    1 year ago

  • houseoftravis

    Travis from strangepainting says:

    I agree with Adam and Kelly above. I have friends who are photographers and make up artists and their biggest complaint is constantly being asked to work for free "for the experience". Their time and skill is just as valuable as anyone else. Offer up a trade at least.

    1 year ago

  • MadisonLBridal

    Madison Lane from MadisonLaneBridal says:

    great advice! thanks!

    1 year ago

  • ForeverRenee

    Crystal Renee from ForeverRenee says:

    Wonderful tips! Thank you.

    1 year ago

  • WinsomeGreen

    Christa from WinsomeGreen says:

    really great tips! thanks for the article. :)

    1 year ago

  • SultanasCrochet

    Sultana Muzikir from SultanasCrochet says:

    Great tips!!! I really need to work on improving my shop's photos. Guess I'd better get to work :D Thanks!!!

    1 year ago

  • Iammie

    iammie from iammie says:

    Great tips! Thanks!

    1 year ago

  • ikabags

    IKA PARIS from ikabags says:

    Great tips ! Merci beaucoup !

    1 year ago

  • DoolittleJewelry

    Sandra from DoolittleJewelry says:

    Great article!

    1 year ago

  • JewelrybyDorothy

    JewelrybyDorothy from JewelrybyDorothy says:

    Great tips! Thank you!

    1 year ago

  • superdewa

    Deirdre Malfatto from superdewa says: Featured

    As a photographer, I can assure you that I don't want to be asked to work for free. However, for the right items, many photographers "might" be happy to work for model/property releases and an agreement that they can license their photography as stock. They might also be be happy to work for barter of an item from your shop. I know that a lot of photographers search etsy for interesting props -- you can take advantage of that.

    1 year ago

  • StelmaDesigns

    Julia from StelmaDesigns says:

    I enjoyed the article since I am needing to revamp my shop myself. I agree that no matter who models or works for you, they should be paid or compensated for their time even if it's a homemade meal at the end. Thanks!

    1 year ago

  • deekish

    Deeksha Lakshmi from TheColorWagon says:

    Great tips. Most of these tips relate to products. I would love to see articles on photographing artworks/paintings. I have a really hard time getting good pictures of artworks which are framed!

    1 year ago

  • NirvanaRoad

    Lisa from NirvanaRoad says:

    This was seriously, a very helpful article! Thanks for sharing your tips and ideas.

    1 year ago

  • AmyCuevasSchroeder Admin

    Amy Schroeder says:

    I've also heard of photographers working for trade. Any experience with bartering your goods for services?

    1 year ago

  • muesserbozkurt

    müesser bozkurt from Istanbulcolors says:

    thank you sooo much, great words...

    1 year ago

  • recycledwares

    Nerrissa W from RecycledWares says:

    wonderful tips, thanks for the ideas and links.

    1 year ago

  • Bunderful

    Bunderful from Supermarche says:

    The thing about awesome the photography skillz is... they are often the result of 4 years of school, and a lot of expensive equipment on top of that. Not a week goes by that some friend of a friend is just SHOCKED that I am not jumping at the chance to shoot 200 free pictures for them, for free. Shocked.

    1 year ago

  • dragonhouseofyuen

    Annette from TheLeveretsNest says:

    yes, I just did! I borrowed the hot body of one of the guys from my free weights gym where we workout - he now models a few products in my shop, and I have another totally hot dude who will soon be appearing! yay - SO much better than the diet coke dude :) and thanks for the article and tips - ps. I bartered with my models too

    1 year ago

  • banyantreeclothing

    katherine from banyantreeclothing says:

    Very good info and photos. This has been my weak point from the beginning. This article helps me to put things into perspective and to know where to start. Thank you.

    1 year ago

  • carolwagner1

    Carol Wagner from VintageBettyLuke says:

    Thanks for the tips! I keep trying and trying to improve my shots!

    1 year ago

  • kitandcaboodleshop

    Gayle Dowell from kitandcaboodleshop says:

    I think that a lot can be done to improved photos without hiring or finding a photographer. If you have a decent camera (even a point and shoot) with a timer and a tripod or even a ladder to place the camera on, you can get great pictures using natural light. This time of year is great for outside shots. Setting aside a whole day and doing some pre-planning to insure that you reinforce your brand will go a long way to achieve better photos. Start with a few items even to test out the new way you are photographing. Be sure to do some editing in photoshop or other photo software so that you can crop to show the items up close. There are some free photo enhancing sites online that you can do a lot with.

    1 year ago

  • ArtsyShark1

    Carolyn Edlund says:

    Photographers should never be asked to work for free. Neither should models, or artists (how many times have you been asked to "donate" your work by someone who will never be your customer?) And, if you do end up getting photography for nothing, it might just be worth what you paid for it.

    1 year ago

  • MerCurios

    MerCurios from MerCurios says:

    Thank you much for the article. I've been slowly trying to update the shop photography; moving away from the catalog white background, but it just keeps pulling me back, lol. I would love some suggestions on photo shoots for one of a kind items or (very) limited collections - is it worth it in the end? Do you put the time and money into those pictures? That's the main reason why our photos are strictly product shots - when it's gone, It's gone and I would really like to keep the photography consistent.

    1 year ago

  • wildethyme

    Laura and Steph from wildethyme says:

    I teach Fibers at the local university and I am forever telling my students *not* to work for free. It undervalues their services. By the same token, I would never ask anyone to take my pictures for free. Ever. For trade, rarely; for money, yes. Never for free. Not much offends me (really :), but this does. Nevertheless, as always, an informative article. Thanks! Laura

    1 year ago

  • franeymiller

    franeymiller from franeyiscool says:

    This is great! If anyone needs photography done, I'd be willing to help.

    1 year ago

  • PurpleFairyCreations

    Lizy from PurpleFairyCreations says:

    Great tips :)

    1 year ago

  • Luxopolis

    Luxopolis from Luxopolis says:

    while this is fine some people , you might be surprised what a professional photographer can do, professional means they actually make a living for making beautiful images, a apposed to a young photographer with little know of the field. "a little learning is a dangerous thing " Alexander pope you can always fall back on the idea of the bottom line, but that's more what big business ( walmart ) the look is every thing if it's on line

    1 year ago

  • beauxoxo

    Beauxoxo from beauxoxo says:

    This is a wonderful article and I am nodding my head with agreement to everything. One thing I would add is to consider working with other brands so that many of you get good photos. I make hair accessories but I regularly work with little clothing boutiques and jewellery brands. It just provides everyone with beautiful imagery! xoxo

    1 year ago

  • whateverworks

    Andrea Nichole Still from WhateverWorks says:

    About a year ago I exchanged an item for photos from a professional and it was a very satisfactory experience. The photos were beautiful! I'm hoping to do the same soon, since I have more stock. Thanks for the advice!

    1 year ago

  • mademoisellemermaid

    Renae Abbate from mademoisellemermaid says:

    I've been thinking about using Airbnb for a photoshoot...maybe renting out a cool spot in town for a "staycation" slash photoshoot. Just wondering if I would need to get a release of some sort if I'm using someone's property in photo backgrounds or if just getting permission in person or via email would be enough?? As a side note, I've been convo-ed MUCH in the past to lend or donate items for photo shoots (where I would not be present), and I have been disappointed several times...but I have also had- and continue to have- some FABULOUS experiences!! I think everything usually turns out best when there will be a face to face meeting. I love model mayhem!!

    1 year ago

  • staysilee

    Staysi Lee from StaysiLee says:

    I love model mayhem! After working with a couple different people I now have a great group of photographers, hair and makeup artist that I love working with!!! And now I have lots of people asking to work with me :)

    1 year ago

  • hadleyclay

    Hadley Sedgwick from hadleyclay says:

    Hiring a photographer is a great idea if you have a small budget, typically they charge per item rather than per photo. My advice is to find one who has experience with product photography! I learned this the hard way.

    1 year ago

  • Hayatgul

    HAYAT GUL from HayatGul says:

    Good ideas and tips! Thanks! I was lucky enought to find a great photographer but we bartered and it worked out fine for my henna business , will do the same for etsy products since the views have tripled when Ii posted new photos but still no sales!

    1 year ago

  • vickymyers

    vicky myers from VickyMyersCreations says:

    This week I had a half day 1 to 1 tuition for product photography.. I highly recommend it. I now know how to make the most of the natural light in my home, with the equipment I have (budget DSLR & a tripod) and the purchase of a reflector. I am now slowly re photographing all my recycled bags, into crisp, fully focussed, correctly exposed images. I also suggest looking at how other people stage similar items to yourself to work out what styles you like and to spark ideas for working out your own staging.

    1 year ago

  • EricZippeImagemaker

    Eric Zippe from EricZippeImagemaker says:

    From a professional photographer's and educator of new photographers point of view, I'm dismayed at the lack of compensation expected to be given to the photographer and models. If you make items for sale you should expect to compensate or barter for services. Would you give away your crafted items just for the experience of it? If you can't afford to pay or barter, spend some time learning how to take some great photos with an iphone/point and shoot, which can produce some very nice product images with the right techniques. The correct title for this post should be "How to Organize a Photo Shoot on a No Budget" since budget implies some spending. You may get lucky with freebie images but most of the time "cheap you buy cheap you get". Images of your products are what really helps sell them so the high quality the better:-) That said, the post was very informative on many aspects of organizing a photoshoot.

    1 year ago

  • LowCountryStudios

    Dolly Lynn from LowCountryStudios says:

    This is so timely for my shop. I started emailing friends this week who have college age daughters in order to line up models for my jewelry shoot. I especially like the time outline you suggest. Hadleyclay adds a great suggestion; Hire a photographer who is comfortable shooting product. There is nothing worse than a photographer who accents a part of the model's body, taking the customer's eye away from the product. This is a Helpful post. Thank you.

    1 year ago

  • rewstargazer

    Erika Hapke from LaRouxVintage says:

    Please, please do not seek out photographers and offer 'experience'. It is as ridiculous as asking a chef to cook you a free meal for the benefit of your opinion, or a dressmaker to create your wedding gown for the joy of having your friends and family see it. Art students are working professionals, and if you cannot afford to pay an artist for their work, then seek out friends and family who will do it for free because they want to - or even better, read all of the wonderful articles on etsy and brush up on your own abilities. There are countless free tutorials on the web to bring your photography to a whole new level!

    1 year ago

  • SkelentonKey

    Mary Otto from SavviShop says:

    I do these often...however...I end up doing hair, makeup and styling on my shoots......I just love doing it! I do get a lot of my accessories from And I send my photo for the seller to use..It's a win win!

    1 year ago

  • lisalippiner

    Lisa Lippiner from EllieAndEmmas says:

    Good article. I am in the process of hiring my second photographer for a "product photography training" session. Ultimately, I can't afford to hire a photographer for all products, so I need to figure this out myself (and I have always offered to pay cash for photo services). I did mess up with my first effort.....I hired someone who trains photographers regularly, but his experience was largely weddings and people. His recommendation was to put all products with black backdrop (which really did not work well) and to assembly line it and get it done super fast. I didn't really get any good photos out of the session....but I did get some ideas and I'm moving from there. Built my white box and have found great areas in my backyard for backdrops. My next session is with someone who does have product photography experience and I'm hoping she can help me capture more detail in my images..... I suspect product photography is one of those things that one can always improve.... learn each day and eventually it's good?

    1 year ago

  • jardinjoli

    Pam Thompson from JardinJoli says:

    <---- found this model on model mayhem :) Great article. I do agree with a lot of what was said here. Hiring a profressional photographer was so worth every penny.

    1 year ago

  • EverySewerNeeds

    Cassandra from EverySewerNeeds says:

    Many years ago, I worked with a photographer and wouldn't have asked Doug to take & supply photos to me for free. Granted using pro equipment gives a better image. Perhaps to lower cost, get a group of Etsy sellers together to share and spead the cost. Or even have an Etsy team take photos themselves of everyone's items. Share the props & gain the experience. Someone will get that photo from a better angle - everyone learns and gains good photos.

    1 year ago

  • Dogdohr

    Joanne Dohr from Dogdohr says:

    Sounds like a fun time, good tips.

    1 year ago

  • SheilasBaskets

    Sheila Sargent from SDSuniquelytheirown says:

    Thank you so much. Everything I read on here gives me great pointers on how to , etc to set up my store on Esty. I want to be ready when I do. I want it all right. Just don't want to jump into something, Thanks for the great advice. I am learning a lot. God Bless.

    1 year ago

  • rabbitandtheduck

    Shannon from rabbitandtheduck says:

    Wonderful post, I've recently had some professional photographs taken for my new range and am already noticing the difference. Good photography really does help and it is a worthwhile investment. Thank you!

    1 year ago

  • mazedasastoat

    mazedasastoat from mazedasastoat says:

    Etsy, I'm disgusted that you advise sellers to try to blackmail, bribe or coerce family, friends or poverty stricken students into taking free photos for them, or otherwise providing free services. Why should anyone work for free, even if they have the misfortune to be related to such a cheapskate? If you run a business, pay your way or do it yourself.

    1 year ago

  • VintageCaviar

    Victoria Hamilton from BornTwice says:

    Great Tips!. Also great timing. I have my first photoshoot of my clothing label scheduled for June 8. I've found everything I needed on Model Mathem. Being up front and very Direct with everyone involved is key. A good photographer who understands your style, product and needs is also important. I'll be posting the end result hopefully by June 10th. Check it out!

    1 year ago

  • SophieBrowne

    Sophie from sophiebrownehandmade says:

    As a photographer, I'm really bothered by some of the points made in this article. Student photographers should not be expected to work for free. They are still working. "This will build your portfolio!" is one of the worst ways to establish a great working relationship with another artist. It undermines them and undervalues their time. If they are going to be working for you, you have chosen them because of their skill and their time should be valued appropriately. I read a post a while back that said "I don't need your clothing to sell my photography. You need my photographs to sell your clothing." This applies to every small business, and Etsy should already know this.

    1 year ago

  • ImageInCafe

    Sandrine from ImageInCafe says:

    Thanks for the article Jennie. The planning of a successful photo shoot is relying on many aspects and planning is surely the key! As a stylist and photographer and a creative on Etsy, I do believe in the great reward of beautiful photography to allow your creations their best chance for being valued and appreciated.Modelling for clothing is certainly very rewarding as Alice Nightingale is such a great example! I value my time and creativity like other creative people here and could not afford to work for free... as just buying quality photographic equipment is very expensive just on its own.I think we deserve to be valued as any creative entrepreneur. I initially felt a bit sad reading about expecting photographer to work for free, but Thank you Shannon you just lifted my spirit reading that my photography work has been already called a "worthwhile investment". x

    1 year ago

  • BSBoutique

    Bobbie Smith from BSBoutique says:

    Thanks so much for the helpful article. I find getting good photos one of the lest "fun" things I have to do to getting my work ready for sale. Appreciate every helpful article offered.

    1 year ago

  • WackyWanitas

    WackyWanitas from WackyWanitaDesigns says:

    It's got me inspired!

    1 year ago

  • WedunitJewels

    Ines from WedunitJewels says:

    Interesting article, thank you very much. Photos is the one aspect, I really have to get into soon, but not something I enjoy.

    1 year ago

  • thbvintage

    thbvintage from TrendyHipBuysVintage says:

    I have my own vintage shop and I am also a fashion photographer. You can learn a lot about lighting and photography from Adorama's website. Cheers!

    1 year ago

  • MysteriousMannequin

    mj from MysteriousMannequin says:

    I especially like the calendar of events suggestions for day of the shoot! Very organized

    1 year ago

  • azjewelrydesign

    Linda Blackbourn from LBlackbournJewelry says:

    Some very great advice. Thanks!

    1 year ago


    Donna Dooley from Freshofftheneedle says:

    I was just lucky enough to buy a 6ft model for my photos. worked out great for me

    1 year ago

  • HappyAccidents10

    Stephani Schwartz from HappyAccidentCandles says:

    These tips are VERY helpful ~~ so does this mean that Etsy is no longer showing preference to all white backgrounds which it started several months ago?

    1 year ago

  • andreamwl

    Andrea Lawson from MaeWarrenDesigns says:

    Thanks for sharing these tips. Lots to consider here!

    1 year ago

  • Ambiaka

    Ambiaka from Ambiaka says:

    As an art major who received my BFA in fine art photography no one should expect to get such services for free. I am now a painter, I do not do that for free either. All art created by all artists needs to be respected and valued. As a teen I was frequently taken advantage of because I did not know how to charge for drawing portraits. I learned a lot from that experience. No one deserves to be taken advantage of regardless of their youth, that's just rude. If you want to learn photography, take a class, that's what the photographers did.

    1 year ago

  • 14xbags

    Kimberly from 14xbags says:

    These are great tips and inspired me to re-shoot my newest listing today. Sometimes I get in such a rush to get a bag listed that I forget to take the time I need to on photography. Re-shooting today made me feel so much better! A crisper background with a fresh green plant really made the difference! I'm excited to plan a shoot for my first look-book this spring. I'd love to see an article on putting together a look-book specifically with points hitting on what retailers want see! I'm lucky enough to have a photographer as a husband and plan to use his skills in my look-book ; )

    1 year ago

  • debranelson541

    Debra Nelson from UnlockedLibra says:

    I was the photography editor of my school yearbook. I took the pictures and used a darkroom to develop them. I understood the chemicals, the smells, and the feel. These cameras today want more info.. LOL! I like to take my own pictures for my shop and yet I don't know how to do the adjusting, cropping and correct lighting. I like the tips but would you come show me everything MY little camera can do that I used to do myself?! oh, I have trouble with the DVD player too!

    1 year ago

  • HandicraftsByIris

    Iris Collins from HandicraftsByIris says:

    Just like any other business person, Photographers really can't afford to work for free... I need one myself (to fix my blurred photos in my shop) and I'm trying to figure out how to pay for the service; maybe with a custom afghan or something... IF the photographer agrees, that is.

    1 year ago

  • INeedAStitch

    Katy from INeedAStitch says:

    Thanks for all of the great tips!

    1 year ago

  • JennieIngrid Admin

    Jennie Ingrid Smith from EtsyAUshop says: Featured

    I could not agree more that professional photography is one of the most important investments you can make for your creative business. Definitely worth every penny. If your budget allows, I would absolutely recommend hiring a talented photographer as a top priority. However, for those shops in the initial stages, or for those with lower budgets, there are ways to collaborate with other creative types in a way that is beneficial and fun for everyone involved. I would love to hear some comments from sellers who have invested in a professional photographer. What are your top tips? What were your experiences?

    1 year ago

  • ColourscapePrints

    Kelly and Kelly from ColourscapeStudios says:

    " However, for those shops in the initial stages, or for those with lower budgets, there are ways to collaborate with other creative types in a way that is beneficial and fun for everyone involved." Collaboration is one thing. Trade is one thing. But asking people to do it free should NEVER be acceptable, especially here on Etsy. As handmade sellers you are well aware that it takes time to make things. It's the same for a photographer. We ask every person that utters that line the following same question. Would you give the product you've been working on for days away? Would you be offended if you were asked? The answer is usually, no they wouldn't give it away, and yes they would be offended. Not valuing their time is usually the popular response as to why they're offended by the request. Please, for the love of your friends, family and the photographers (pro, semi pro or hobbyist) out there... realise that a photographers equipment, skill, and most importantly, time matters. The time you expect them to spend shooting your product for free is time away from their own family. It's telling them you don't value them as an artist, and frankly, that's just rude.

    1 year ago

  • waterandearthjewelry

    Lindsay Bell from waterandearthjewelry says:

    great article! not everyone can afford a camera, lighting, or a photographer! and a lot of photographers are on model mayhem to build their portfolio! i'm on model mayhem myself and i can tell you right now that many growing photographers (despite what a lot of people on here were saying) are VERY willing to work for trade if they are building their portfolio so they can approach different brands with images that relate to the product. example: i was contacted through model mayhem by a photographer from new york who was coming down for miami swim fashion week and wanted to add some beachy lifestyle shots to his portfolio so he could approach brands like vans and o'neill. we were strangers and i came to find out later that he photographed rachel weiss the next week or something. anyway, the images were unreal. we did action shots on my beach cruiser that came out awesome for both of our portfolios. another was a great photographer who'd never shot pinup. i was approached and it was my favorite shoot ever! you can post in the casting section and see who responds. that way you know you're not begging a favor or annoying someone. i've never paid to have my photograph taken and i've often worn my own products so i can use the photos for my shop or facebook page. sometimes i get paid but it's mostly just for fun. :) just say in the listing that the compensation would be tfp or tfcd (time for print, time for cd) for the model and images for the photographer's portfolio. if you have a cool concept someone will bite. :) i can understand from a working photographer's perspective that it would be super annoying if people are constantly bugging you to work for free but using model mayhem, etc is a great resource! good luck everybody! meanwhile i need to reshoot my whole shop. :/ it's all mixed up and neglected right now. :(

    1 year ago

  • Ghadah1

    Ghada Hassan from MyGDesigns says:

    This is very helpful and inspiring. Will have to do it especially nowadays that the weather is really nice in Toronto. Thanks for the great tips.

    1 year ago

  • LTreeDesign

    Laura Spinella from LTreeDesign says:

    Thank you for sharing your vision! You have a beautiful page! Very inspiring photos and work! :)

    1 year ago

  • Crystalphotography

    Crystal from CrystalGaylePhoto says:

    Interesting read. As a photographer, I would not be willing to work for free. Why should I pay for someone's product is someone doesn't want to pay for my skills? As far as trades, I've done some trade of photos for products. Great photos will definitely help sell your products better!

    1 year ago

  • emily8150

    emily from emilyemilyjewelry says:

    thanks for your tips . i am collecting the ideas and also learning how to take pictures and photoshop . good suggestions , find not expensive way to realize the ideas .

    1 year ago

  • staceyramirez3

    Stacey Ramirez from SouthernChicNaturals says:

    Thanks for the article. I'm actually in the process of revamping my photos for better quality.

    1 year ago

  • SheEarth

    SheEarth Crystals & Creations from SheEarth says:

    A really great article. Now to figure out how to apply the principals to my items. I think I really need to work on an overall mood for my shop that I feel is my main down fall.

    1 year ago

  • trish3693

    Trish Steele from SleepingJoeyDesigns says:

    Thanks! Great article! I do my own photography & moddeling to keep costs low. It's pretty easy because I know what I want to convey in each session. Not only does it keep costs low, it lets me flex my photographer muscles that I wouldn't have much time to flex otherwise.

    1 year ago

  • anordicrose

    virginie lykins from anordicrose says:

    I did a barter once with an ETSY photographer, the first set of photos were amazing and have been the ' face' of my shop for years.... but the second shoot was a little less inspired, and I ended up not using the pics.... my sisters-in-law have done some nice photos for me, and there are a couple beautiful pics. that my sister posed for with yours truly as a photographer using my own home.

    1 year ago

  • thevicagirl

    VaLon Frandsen from thevicagirl says:

    Organizing a photoshoot sounds like so much fun. I just don't have a big need with my jewelry. I just stick with a nice cheap model - me, and studio - my basement white walls, and taking tons of shots of myself until I find one I like. I have come out with some pretty good ones. My favorite was my shoot with my hats in which I changed every outfit per hat. If nothing else, I had a lot of fun.

    1 year ago

  • vardalev

    vardalev from vardalev says:

    Thank you for your inspiring tips! Usually I'm the photographer, and I take shots in my study room and use several backgrounds that I think convey the mood and atmosphere for my jewelry. But it may be a good idea to take some shots in the nature! Thanks again.

    1 year ago

  • DeepSilence
  • Attractive1

    Elena Fom from Attractive1 says:

    Thanks! Will try it!

    1 year ago

  • livasaule

    Liva Steina from livasaule says:

    I have had super wonderfull experience with models. I usually choose to shoot models that are a fan of my work, so when i offer them to pay with my items they are more than happy. Sometimes i even make something individual for them, as an order. It is definitely worth the time.

    1 year ago

  • ianira

    Efi from Ianira says:

    Great tips! It is really helpful!!! Thanks!

    1 year ago

  • haniajewellery

    Hania from Haniajewellery says:

    Really well timed article, just gathering ideas for my own photo shoot. Lots of interesting comments too. Thanks for the tips.

    1 year ago

  • tinkelstein

    Katja Amler from tinkelstein says:

    Regarding the discussion of asking a photographer to work for free... I too think it is not ideal because no one likes to work for free. Sometimes it pays to think out of the box when trading. My friend introduced me to a semi-professional photographer because I was looking for someone to do shoots of our band in our medieval garb. Since budget is tight, we agreed to trade photos for horseback riding lessons. My husband is a riding instructor and will do this for me gladly so we save the money. Win-win situation!

    1 year ago

  • sparrowsalvage

    Sparrow from sparrowsalvage says:

    Well I'm a professional level photographer (as in I'm very good at it, but I don't work in the field for various reasons) so I'm saving money there. I have a great model - actually I have 3; one is top of the line, the other two are more full-bodied but they don't have a head so they're no good for earrings. I don't see the point in hiring a living model for my vintage shop as the stock is all one-of-a-kind, so it's a waste of energy/time. Currently my jewlery shop is all OOAK as well, but in the future I may do small-run designs. When that is the case, my 'photo shoot' will be me, my point n shoot, my friend (who will gladly work for a roast dinner because she's not 'in the field' and frankly it's about time she came to visit me anyway) and the local botanical park 5 minutes down the road.

    1 year ago

  • Nemki

    Nemki from nemki says:

    Really great idea! Photoshoots go a LONG way towards making your work look professional if you're selling fashion-related items.

    1 year ago

  • Dulcinea17

    Ingrid from SuddenlyYou says:

    Just have an idea how to wear your items, what kind of clothing they fit best with. Make up isn't that important if you know how to take photos that are interesting. Combine your items with backgrounds that complement them! Always have photos from a couple of different perspectives (the whole item, some interesting parts zoomed in) and on a model... And remember - just smile :)

    1 year ago

  • hurdyburdy

    Beverley Richmond from hurdyburdy says:

    Having worked with professional photographers and with student photographers I know that not all students will work for free and often it's tutors pushing for their work to be valued. Something to consider with professionals, they all have their specialisms (product, PR, fashion, events) so best to check portfolios first. I know it seems obvious but it's vital to ensuring you don't waste your time and theirs. In the UK you will generally be talking between £150-450 for a day shoot depending on the photographer, location and brief. Great article though and perfect timing for me as I haven't done a fashion shoot before but am hoping to get one done this summer. I do have a friend who does vintage makeovers who says some of the women she knows will happily model for free in order to build their portfolios. I think exchanging services is a great idea.

    1 year ago

  • hurdyburdy

    Beverley Richmond from hurdyburdy says:

    Oh and I meant to say... I love Alice Nightingale's imagery. Beautiful way to show off her clothing.

    1 year ago

  • PolClary

    PolClary from PolClary says:

    We hold 'big' photoshoots twice a year, usually in spring and autumn (when it's not too hot or cold to be outside for too long). My daughter invites all her friends over, we make a facebook event and encourage people to bring friends. Everyone makes or bakes something to eat, I bring over two or three bags filled with items, and it's a ball. One of my daughter's friends loves make-up, so she's the designated make-up artist, everyone picks which items they would like to model, my daughter plays photographer and I'm the stylist. It's amazing how much you can get done in one day with a group like that. I also love that the girls (and sometimes boys!) are all different bodyshapes, showing real people wearing my items. And then, at the end of the day, we gather around a laptop, eat our body weight in cookies and muffins and quiche and salade, and look at the pictures together. The outtakes and 'do a crazy pose' group photo are put on facebook, the models all get all the pictures from the shoot and a special discount for the shop, and everyone swaps leftovers!

    1 year ago

  • underneaththeoaktree

    Natalie Atkins from underneaththeoaktree says:

    Photography can be scary but its so important. I feel that the key is to keep developing your style and to always be looking at how it can be improved.

    1 year ago

  • Evitala

    Eva from ColadeconejoItaly says:

    Wonderful tips and great article. Very helpful!!!! Thank you so much ^_^

    1 year ago

  • ilkerbayar

    Casa Fantasia from CasaFantasia says:

    Many Thanks Etsy Team for this useful article. Although we had a very fresh start, here are some tips from our shop that you might consider useful. All of our shootings in fact took place in homes of our team. As a visual merchandiser, i design windows that attract customers to stores. So i know that the first thing to do is to create a scene with a story. Meaning you should decide on your concept in which your product will belong and stand out. Then you need to decide a spot where you will set up your decor. Speaking of decor, we used all the nice and simple props such as toys, statues, collectibles, trunks, etc. to create that scene. With a little bit of knowledge and rather creativity you can have the best shoots possible. You can even go to a park nearby or a public library or a cafe and do the shootings. Sky's the limit. Our photos are taken with a very old digital camera (7.1 megapixels). Even the lens is faulty. So we needed a lot of light to do the shooting. But eventually we are very satisfied with our pictures. If you check our shop you will agree. Photos of our products are our shop windows on Etsy, they are so vital. But we also believe that you do not need to spend a dime to have cool photos. Good luck everyone! CasaFantasia

    1 year ago

  • Luncheonettevintage

    Jana from Luncheonettevintage says:

    Great tips here. We just started working with models and it is so much fun. And the clothes really come alive. Thanks!

    1 year ago

  • medicineproductions

    Medicina from MEDICINAdesigns says:

    I just did my first photo shoot with a model and me as photographer. I stayed under a roof of my deck and hung a grey and silver fabric backdrop. It was easy and smooth... My model was stylish and came with make up on looking beautiful. She wore my new hair accessories wonderfully! She has great hair and is so pretty! It took only 45minutes to do five items! I'm just adding the pics to my listings now and adding the new listings! I traded her for a hair accessory. Its amazing how much better the items look on her than a mannequin!!

    1 year ago

  • camermaidjewelry

    Troy Stengel from camermaidjewelry says:

    Very good tips!

    1 year ago

  • jm2468

    j m from Esoterique50 says:

    So true! How can someone chose my item if they can't see it presented clearly and looking as pretty as I think it is. When I see an attractive photo it draws me into the entire shop. I want to see more!

    1 year ago

  • HeidiSchreck

    Heidi Schreck from CatalystJewelry says:

    Great article. I am interested in finding good props for my jewelry- maybe I will go thrifting. It seems that selling products online has A LOT to do with the photos of the item. Don't skimp on the important stuff, especially in a saturated market.

    1 year ago

  • smishko11

    Julie S. from julesoldjewels says:

    Good article and great advise. I've learned a lot about photography in a short time but have so much more to learn.

    1 year ago

  • ThreeBarDGifts

    Monica from ThreeBarDGifts says:

    Lots of good advice! I have plenty to learn about photography. Thanks!

    1 year ago

  • julespalms

    Jules Palms from JulesBags says:

    Very helpful tips ... thanks for sharing ...

    1 year ago

  • LittleWomenSisters

    Pennington Girls from LittleWomenSisters says:

    Wow! These are all awesome tips, and those product photos are amazing! I'm a photographer. My sister and I work together to sell her vintage style found object jewelry. Do you think it's important to have one model, or many? My sister also has great style taste, and she models all our products. I would love to shoot on location some day, but I'm sixteen, and she's seventeen, and neither of us have our license yet. :) I love the library idea! (Note to self) :D I'd have to say that my top struggle is maintaining a specific style, and getting great lighting. Also, since we sell jewelry, We don't always get to show the "big picture". We are definitely going to call some friends up one of these days, and do a photo shoot. Thanks again. :)

    1 year ago

  • sweetnsourvintage

    Natalie G. from sweetnsourvintage says:

    I've used a hired photographer on and off for over a year now and supplement with my own shots to keep costs down. Having good photos and more of a look has led to more exposure and opportunities for my shop without a doubt. That being said, I did hire a then college student off Craig's List to do the photos, as this article suggests, and it works out great. My budget is not huge, but the photog knew that going into it, as that was stated upfront in the ad. This is key. She was willing to work for a little less because she likes vintage, wanted to build her port and I give her a lot of creative freedom. She usually helps pick and find the models, for example. I've always paid her and valued her work for sure, but she gets to use the images to build her portfolio and hopefully do more fashion stuff. She does get something out of it, as do the MUA/hair people, whom I also pay a bit :). It's more of a collaboration for everyone, but I do pay them. Also, yes, MANY inexperienced models especially on Model Mayhem and C.L. are more than happy to model for free, if they like the clothes and everyone who is involved and their work. The girls get professional quality images and exposure they wouldn't otherwise have had because they're newbies, which helps them in the beginning. It's also just fun :). I don't think this is a bad thing. If they feel they are not getting enough out of it, the models can always say no. I am upfront from the beginning with everyone and I feel no one is being taken advantage of, as per some people's comments. You just have to meet people who's styles jive with your own and who feel the shoot would be helpful/enjoyable for them. I also usually bring food and drinks and give away vintage to everyone if they want it.

    1 year ago

  • laurenweiland

    Lauren Weiland from RaiseMyGlass says:

    Thank you for all the wonderful tips! This came at a very appropriate time. I just went outside and shot some new photos of new items I will be posting to my site shortly. They are a bit different from anything I have done thus far, so I will see who notices. Looking in the camera, I am pleased, as it will give my store a fresh new look. Always trying to learn and grow my business so please continue to share all these awesome tips for success. Thank you!

    1 year ago

  • laurenweiland

    Lauren Weiland from RaiseMyGlass says:

    Thank you for these fabulous tips! They came at a very appropriate time. I just went outside and completed a very successful photo shoot. I tried to capture a different background scene and give a fresh new look. Will wait and see if anyone notices? Please keep all your wonderful tips for success coming. They continue to inspire me as I try and grow my business. Thank you!

    1 year ago

  • ld34760

    Lydia Diaz from WEBAnaturalproducts says:

    Nice piece. I recently purchased photography equipment, and hope to make a few memorable photos myself in the near future.

    1 year ago

  • reyesmargaret

    Margaret Reyes from RosebudsandCo says:

    Best advice to date.thank you etsy for all your good ideas !

    1 year ago

  • iluxo

    Mariko Carandang from iluxo says:

    Not with that SX-70 camera with discontinued film you won't!

    1 year ago

  • joycekropewnicki

    Joyce Kropewnicki from CozyComforts10 says:

    Good ideas. I agree about compensation for a photographer. I make quilts which is a rather difficult product to capture in a group of photos. When I have several finished pieces I make it an adventure to find places in my yard with great morning or late afternoon light. Watching for those shadows can be a challenge.

    1 year ago

  • pagehirst

    Alice Hirst from PageHirst says:

    Wonderful tips which are greatly appreciated. I will have to rethink my concept.

    1 year ago

  • riajewelsandvintage

    ria from Riajewelsandvintage says:

    Lots to think about . lots of good advice thanks.

    1 year ago

  • teridrobnick

    Teri Drobnick from TEEsoxbyTeri says:

    I am actually doing a trade with another artist who is a photographer, my own daughter! I am so pleased with the improvement in my photos since I had her start doing them. I also bought an inexpensive studio light at:

    1 year ago

  • LahReflectionzPhotos

    Melissa l Lah Reflectionz Photography says:

    Not only do I make my own props, but my first love is my photography. Many good tips, but must agree with most when they say asking for free photos. I already provide more then reasonable prices, so when someone asks for free photos, I tell them they will get what they pay for, which is nothing. It may sound harsh, but I wouldn't go into your place of business & ask for your most expensive piece of product at no charge, & find it down right unclassy to ask the same of photographers.

    1 year ago

  • outoftheattic2u

    Barbara Ostashev from outoftheattic2u says:

    Thank you for the very helpful information. This will be a challenge for me in the near future and it is something I need to do to enhance my products. I am into vintage clothing and finding someone in my area is hard and expensive. I will continue to look for the least expensive way to go. Thanks again!

    1 year ago

  • fanciestrands

    Tammy Kowalczyk from FancieStrands says:

    This is an ongoing battle for me - the non photographer that I am. This article is great and very helpful - thanks!

    1 year ago

  • 1tenthAngel

    GiGi from 1tenthAngel says:

    Well, I am going to go for it and use my iPhone4s, I think I can pull it off for now. I do have two professional photographers in the family. That will come in the future. The article is very inspiring and I am excited to discover my niche in Etsy.

    1 year ago

  • carolann8478

    Carol Ann from WhimseyApronsEtc says:

    Photography IS a challenge. I live on a farm & now, with springtime/summer I've got loads of flowers & flowering trees in my yard. I'm trynig to coordinate photographing my aprons & including the flowers & flowering tree outside. Taking my pictures this way adds a little more work on my part, but I think it will pay off in the end.

    1 year ago

  • kailapeterson

    Kaila Peterson from KayCrafty says:

    great article thanks for the help.

    1 year ago

  • VBVintage

    Laurel And Carrie from VBVintage says:

    Very inspiring to get in gear for a photo shoot!!! Thank you for the great tips and resources!

    1 year ago

  • magnamemos

    Karen Olks from magnamemos says:

    I'm doing a photo shoot this Friday, so this is so timely! I was so overwhelmed at first thinking of shooting the hundreds of products I have, but when I started to break it up into pieces, it became much more manageable. It's just important to get started. We're doing all "in use" shots this week and will do stock photos next week. Also saving money by doing the shoot in my own home and using me as the hand model!

    1 year ago

  • Elizabeth26

    Elizabeth Mermel from FragglesAndFriggles says:

    I've been looking to do this for a long time and this post was super helpful (and motivating!)!! Thanks, Jennie!

    1 year ago

  • esmerelda33

    Kathy Smallwood from esmerelda33 says:

    This is a keeper of Great Ideas Had to pin it Thanks

    1 year ago

  • imperfectconceptscom

    Tasha Robinson from ImperfectConcepts says:

    I did this for my stores first shoot. I called all my friends and family. Gather everyone together for free to help me do the shoot. It was meet with wonderful feedback. I am excited to do the second one in a couple of weeks.

    1 year ago

  • KittyMacsCottage

    Maureen from KittyMacsCottage says:

    Very helpful....I know I need help with my photos...great idea to recruit help from someone who really knows how to make a photo sing...or sell!

    1 year ago

  • basketrybotanica

    Carole Moore Cole from basketrybotanica says:

    I've traded for models in the past (like 35 yrs ago) when I made handwoven clothing and would have felt like a creep had I paid nothing. I would never consider asking someone to do photo work "just for the experience". It's just wrong and anyone who tried this would deserve to get lousy photos. I would be so willing to trade for some help with upgrading my photos of baskets in a nice setting - like my onion and garlic baskets in several wonderful kitchens and my ribbed baskets in some lovely vintage houses. The odds of finding someone like that, in my area, interested in such an exchange - probably not so good. Like someone else mentioned - operating these hi-falutin new cameras is a pain. I have 5 digital cameras because when I can't figure one out, I look for another. I'm stopping at the camera on my android phone. It's the best camera ever. Not buying anymore cameras, but I still just get lucky when I manage to come up with decent pictures. As simple as I know it is, even this camera stumps me.

    1 year ago

  • sallyannlivingston

    Sally-Ann Livingston from TheNavigatrix says:

    It's amazing what can be done when you get together. My Etsy Team Captain Georgina of In Here Life Is Beautiful, my brother Matt of Arcane Armoury and I recently got together for the second time to take photos of each other with our creations. 'Cap'n G.' helped me with make-up and hair (I never was a very girly girl), Matt provided studio space in his dining room, our aunt and uncle lent us the use of their gorgeous little English country garden and I lent Georgina fantasy and Steampunk costume. We had a great time with some amazing results. All three of us were, at some point, behind the camera as well as in front. I've begun a series of blogs about it here: My motto ever since starting my shop, having a very limited budget, was 'I'll do what I can with what I've got". It's growing :)

    1 year ago

  • 777carolala

    Caroline Barbosa from OldSoulVintageltd says:

    Awesome advice! If my sister lived closer she would be my photographer. In the meantime I spend A LOT of time photographing trial by error style. ;)

    1 year ago

  • tckennedy

    Terrice C. Kennedy from tckennedy says:

    I would underscore the idea that artists and crafters should not expect aspiring photographers and models to do that work for free. That is insulting, and bad karma comes back three fold. If you can not pay them, try the barter route. You want to own the photos of your work, so do not allow a photographer to own a piece of those photos. This is also true when you hire a model. Make sure the model signs a standard release form allowing you to use their image with no further compensation than the agreed upon fee or barter item. When I was young, naive and overly idealistic, I thought nothing of trusting others to be honest and to do the right thing. Unfortunately, about 10% of the time, I got shafted. Sorry to say, I now make sure I have everything signed when it comes to my business concerns. Do a search online for the very simple Model Release and Photographer Release forms. It will save you headaches in the long run. And as always, keep on caring, crafting & creating.

    1 year ago

  • lauralaughren1

    Laura Laughren from lorahliemaybe says:

    This was very timely as my "good" camera went on the fritz. Relying on my android, this article reminded me to emphasize the quality of light. Thank you!

    1 year ago

  • greenlakeblue

    Natalia from GreenLakeBlue says:

    Great tips and interesting ideas here as I'm new on Etsy and trying my hand on how best to capture my creations. In regards to jewellery it personally puts me off to see it on a model before I buy. I'd rather buy it by looking at an inspiring and good quality photograph without a model. But for clothing and some accessories it's a real Go the use of good models. Nevertheless I think good photography is a must in any online business.

    1 year ago

  • maqaroon

    Joanna Zhou from Maqaroon says:

    One of the most overlooked resources are university photography studios. During my final year at Chelsea College of Art (London), I realised we could book free slots in the fully equipped studio where you can also borrow their top end DLSR camera. Professional lighting and camera equipment makes an absolutely massive difference. Despite having no experience in photography, I managed to take decent hi-res photos in studio lighting that were used by many press sources. Unfortunately you have to be a student to use the studios, but I think it may even be worth enrolling for a short course (relevant to your business) just for the additional access to facilities. Or perhaps ask students/friends with the ability to access free studios. I also did two budget shoots at home using a light box and a professional photographer friend's help. The pictures turned out very well but I feel it's a lot to impose regularly on a friend, especially as the whole process is tiring and time-consuming. Unless you're really best best friends or partners with a photographer, I don't think it's polite to ask someone to do every shoot on a budget. Once or twice is ok but (as a designer myself who's happy to do free work as a favour) nobody wants to commit to a long-term unpaid project, especially if that project has commercial goals. After the first year of business, I decided to get professional photography. It's incredibly expensive, but I agree it's probably one of the most important things you could possibly invest in. The advantage is that you can plan everything much better instead of rushing through and feeling guilty for taking up friends' time who are doing you a favour but are obviously not being compensated. If you're paying for photos, you can retake them until you're satisfied with the result, and the professionals will know infinitely more about how to get the result you're looking for. Lastly, never underestimate photo-editing. I think no picture, even a super hi-res one from a studio, should be placed online without some Photoshopping. There are always colours that can be bumped up, shadows lightened, scratches/fingerprints to smooth over and consistency details (such as using the same chain for different necklaces).

    1 year ago

  • lastminutegiftsny

    Margaret Mary Rodriguez from GothamPops says:

    Great article and tips. My husband is a photographer which makes it much easier for us. Great photography goes a very long way. It really makes a difference, especially when we meet with clients and can't bring everything with us. We show our clients photos from our portfolio or on our IPAD. Something else we would recommend is making yourself a lightbox. It makes all the difference in the world. If you are in the New York City area and need photos, contact us. We will be more then happy to try and help you out.

    1 year ago

  • bnzamo

    Very BZ from VeryBZ says:

    Initially I was considering a photographer for my listing images. Now, I see this could be a great benefit for my digital paper as well! Good tips : )

    1 year ago

  • scarvesinfinity

    Le Chelle from ScarvesInfinity says:

    These are wonderful tips! I never thought of seeking out a local photographer. Thanks so much for this informative post :)

    1 year ago

  • TheSilverAcorn

    Linda Wagner from TheSilverAcorn says:

    I agree with Margaret on the lightbox - add a tripod and photo editing software and you can get great photos yourself. You'll take a lot of pictures to get the one you want to use and you'll have to touch up your photos, but you'll save a lot of money and have the satisfaction of knowing how to do something yourself.

    1 year ago

  • kathleenburrows

    Kathleen Burrows from storystonesjewelry says:

    Great tips! I am looking forward to seeing an increase in sales as I begin to perfect the images of my products. It would be great to have a different eye behind the camera. I also love the idea of gathering the mood of you shop on a Pinterest board. Every choice you make about your shop should enhance the look and feel of the brand you are creating.

    1 year ago

  • GemdropsoftheFalls

    GemdropsoftheFalls from GemdropsoftheFalls says:

    Wonderful tips! We're a family jewelry business, so one daughter does the professional photography, and another does some modeling. Great ideas to keep in mind. Thanks for sharing.

    1 year ago

  • palomae9513

    Paloma Elorriaga from TheSacBarcelona says:

    Thanks for the tips that come in a very appropriate moment. I've just have opened my shop and need good advices like this.

    329 days ago

  • hempnvinyl

    China Barbie from MyPeaceLoveLifeShop says:

    Lately I've been using my mom and my sister for last-minute photo shoots. I like this idea to have it actually planned out, and a bit more professional!

    78 days ago