Shop Etsy

Shop Makeover Series: Makeover Your Listings with Color

Jan 22, 2008

by jenlo262 handmade and vintage goods

For her second post in her color theory series, jenlo262 has some recommendations and examples for sellers undertaking the Shop Makeover series. The following article covers color combinations and theory, as it applies to your listings.

Before you can make a sale, you will need to get buyers to look at your art. There’s no better way to entice the browsing customer to click on your image than by keeping it fresh, interesting, and colorful!

For the first image in your listing, I suggest worrying less about what and more about the wow. It’s not necessarily important to capture the whole complete image of your item as long as you get the basics of the item with some colorful artsy flair. How can color make your item pop? Follow these six tricks for a better image and see how these sellers made it work…

  1. First things first — keep your colors true: Before you start arranging or choosing colors for your background, you will want to make sure you can keep your colors as bright as they can be by building a light box (see Lori’s post here). A box will especially help when trying to keep your whites bright — making your item the center of attention. If you can’t build a light box (or your item is too big, keep it natural by using indirect sunlight. For two-dimensional items, scanners work great too if you have one available.

    [crochet pattern by anapaulaoli, yarn by OneSheepHill, bracelet by FancyFreeMe ]
  2.  Contrast – balancing your lights and darks: Keep your item from blending into your background by using dark colored backgrounds for light items and light backgrounds for dark items. Or mix and match!

    [earrings by KiwiTreeBotique, mug by misslo, apron by JoyfulAbode]
  3. A splash of bright color: Keep your listing fresh by increasing your color intensity.

    [soap by SudsMuffin, beads by tearose, cuff by NicoleLorentz]
  4.  Using your color compliments: Make your item pop by looking across your color wheel for a background color.
    [buttons by frombelgiumwithlove, hairpins by thefunkyfelter, clay pendant by Dirtgirlpottery]
  5. Using analogous colors:  Invite your viewer into your listing with a lovely combination of similar colors.

    [earrings by staroftheeast, face wall pocket by amandamoon, ceramic pendant by leapinglizards’s shop]
  6. An artsy background: Finally, give your listing a little artsy flair with an interesting, unusual, or incongruous background and have some fun!

    [earrings by  executeme, lariat necklace by 12linden, vintage book by whiteelephantvintage, Green Katamari pincushion by ReFabulous]

If you’re still not sure how to spruce up your listing, try just keeping it simple. The tiny little square that makes or breaks whether you get a shopper in your shop can only hold so much. A solid colored background with a quality photo will make a great lead-in to your wonderful works of art.

Comment below with links to your before and after screenshots from your Shop Makeover improvements! Which of the techniques described here helped you out?

Little Worm and her Apple Home - crochet pattern
Little Worm and her Apple Home - crochet pattern
T R U S T - Sterling Cuff Bracelet
T R U S T - Sterling Cuff Bracelet
Vintage Flower Cabs - Yellow and White
Vintage Flower Cabs - Yellow and White
SALE  Heart Hair Pins - Needle Felted Bright Orange Wool
SALE Heart Hair Pins - Needle Felted Bright Orange Wool
Sea Urchin Collection - Pink Earrings
Sea Urchin Collection - Pink Earrings
Green Katamari pincushion
Green Katamari pincushion
Tangerine Soap-preorder
Tangerine Soap-preorder


  • Caprichos

    Caprichos said 11 years ago


  • Dirtgirlpottery

    Dirtgirlpottery said 11 years ago

    Yeah! My pendant was featured! I'm new at photographing my stuff, but when I started I went back to my orginal color theory lessons and that have been really helpful to me.

  • jenlo262

    jenlo262 said 11 years ago

    Great job dirtgirlpottery! I love your use of color!

  • staroftheeast

    staroftheeast said 11 years ago

    This is awesome!! I've been working 16 hours a day for the past 1,5 month to change all the pictures in our shop! The nice thing is I was reading the Make over article of the Storque so this is awesome to be an example now!!! Thank you, thank you!!! Now off to change some more pics :)

  • pouch

    pouch said 11 years ago

    taking good pics is one of the things that takes up most of my time and I am always thinking of new ways to take photos! I've learnt lots about photos since joining Etsy and hope my pics are improving :)

  • SudsMuffin

    SudsMuffin said 11 years ago

    What a great article and what a treat it it to also be featured in it! Thank you so much! :)

  • muxoriginals

    muxoriginals said 11 years ago

    This is great!

  • KiwiTreeBotique

    KiwiTreeBotique said 11 years ago

    I've been lucky. I can manage to take my photographs in natural light. It is ideal for my jewelry, since I tend to use natural stones and glass as my focal pieces... they literally glow in the light of my north-facing window. As for my NotableBookmarks, I think it is time to build a lightbox. I hate using Photoshop to alter my images, but with paper products, they can look so flat. A lightbox will reduce the need to alter brightness/contrast and correct for color expression. I'll be working on that as my next project! Thank you for featuring me in your examples... as a newbie, I am quite honored.

  • Luvbubblettes

    Luvbubblettes said 11 years ago

    Thank you... isn't Etsy fab with all the tips and tricks and so on... no other site like it! I'm going to go away and play around with colours for my photo's now!

  • pawandclawdesigns

    pawandclawdesigns said 11 years ago

    Nice article! I made some changes in my shop after reading this. took 1207 pictures today; bet that's some kind of record ;)

  • jenlo262

    jenlo262 said 11 years ago

    Way to go pawandclaw!

  • katelynjane

    katelynjane said 11 years ago

    Thanks for the advice! I'm going to have to change up some of my photos (:

  • SilverShadow

    SilverShadow said 11 years ago

    Nice article. I had already revamped some of my product photography, after getting my lightbox, but some older ones still need to be redone. This article is "pushing" me to finish it ☺ Good job!

  • nicoleraephotos

    nicoleraephotos said 11 years ago

    Love this article. I definitely need to get creative in using color. These are ideas I hadn't even really thought of before. Thank you!

  • coventgardenvintage

    coventgardenvintage said 10 years ago

    Thank you for your advice. I have a lot of work to do and now I have a direction.

  • patricewright

    patricewright said 10 years ago

    great information for all of us out there who are trying to get those pics right. thanks

  • tinyhands

    tinyhands said 10 years ago

    Thanks! This is great, and just what I'm looking for.

  • susanskeepsake

    susanskeepsake said 10 years ago

    Thank-you so much for this great advice. I really needed some help with my pictures and lighting. I have tried many forms of light and just haven't been getting it right. I can now go back and redo my pictures. Thank-you.

  • BebeToby

    BebeToby said 10 years ago

    Thanks for the great tips! I've always have trouble thinking about what background to use.

  • LaurieValko

    LaurieValko said 10 years ago

    Wonderful tips! I am going to try out some new colors in my photos. I also like the idea of using different/unique background that compliment my sculptures. I am thinking dog treats, collars......I'm going to have fun! Thank you!

  • HomemadeZen

    HomemadeZen said 10 years ago

    nice tips, thanks!

  • PDXfabricdeli

    PDXfabricdeli said 10 years ago

    Great tips, I always knew but didn't know exactly what. Thanks for giving direction.

  • janetkemp88

    janetkemp88 said 10 years ago

    Wonderful advice and just in time for the weekend, so I can get to the work on a light box. Thanks Etsy!

  • AuntTiff

    AuntTiff said 10 years ago

    I am so glad to have read this. I need color! My shop is currently like my house with white walls. I'm addin' COLOR! Thanks for the inspiration.

  • loopiforyou

    loopiforyou said 10 years ago

    Now that I have made a lightbox... maybe I should start using a bit more colour. Thanks for the tips!

  • handstrung

    handstrung said 10 years ago

    I am a newbee with Esty, so I love to hear about how to take good pictures for my shop. Thank U all!

  • HModine

    HModine said 10 years ago

    Love this series and all your tips are fantastic!!

  • 2BellesBeads

    2BellesBeads said 10 years ago


  • debthedollgnome

    debthedollgnome said 10 years ago

    My favorite color is blue. Should I be using it as a tag in every listing?

  • myfriendamy

    myfriendamy said 9 years ago

    thanks for the tips. i really like idea #4!

  • Tina669

    Tina669 said 9 years ago

    Thanks! This is great!!!~

  • idaviktoria

    idaviktoria said 9 years ago

    Thanks for some great advice!

  • gpearson55

    gpearson55 said 9 years ago

    Thanks for all for all your help! I knew my camera just wasn't cutting it, so... off to buy a new one!

  • vintagepaige

    vintagepaige said 9 years ago

    Very helpful as I am brand new to this. Thanks!

  • RozPetalzStudio

    RozPetalzStudio said 8 years ago

    I just added color to my shop. Glad to hear I'm headed in the right direction! Thanks!

  • mnhince

    mnhince said 8 years ago

    This was so helpful. I'm still working on improving my photos and my shop feels a bit bland right now. Bring on the colour!

  • allthepreciousthings

    allthepreciousthings said 8 years ago

    Thanks for another helpful post. Great photos definitely make a difference..

  • TheNightjar

    TheNightjar said 8 years ago

    great suggestions : )

  • insectus

    insectus said 8 years ago

    Interested in what people suggest for gray items? I mostly work in steel, which doesn't have the highlights of silver, like in the 12linden photo above. I fear using colorful backgrounds would distract from the item... Good article, though!

  • insectus

    insectus said 8 years ago

    Star of the East, your new photos look AWESOME. i was a fan of your shop before, but's MINDBLOWING!

  • LizAnnasOnTheLake

    LizAnnasOnTheLake said 8 years ago

    Thanks for this helpful post! I'll be reopening my Etsy shop after a 'vacation' period while I worked on new stock. This will be a good opportunity to try out some different background ideas.

  • mariadiana

    mariadiana said 8 years ago

    i am an art major. why didn't i think of that? oink!

  • eloiseBYemily

    eloiseBYemily said 8 years ago

    great advice! i am going to have to change some of my photos now!!

  • GemuineCreations

    GemuineCreations said 8 years ago

    Thanks! Some ideas I never thought of like using complimenting color backrounds. It's fun to switch it up:)

  • EponaJewels

    EponaJewels said 8 years ago

    These are great tips. Photos are soooo hard sometimes!

  • SmokyMountainVintage

    SmokyMountainVintage said 8 years ago

    I have always been a horrible photographer so this is the hardest thing for me to do when listing my items. I also have problems with glare. Thanks for the tips. I will definitely use them.

  • charisg08

    charisg08 said 8 years ago

    Awesome! I'm going to have to work on some better ideas for photos.

  • SweetiePieCaketopper

    SweetiePieCaketopper said 8 years ago

    Vety interesting. I guess I need a better camera for starters.

  • Stompz

    Stompz said 8 years ago

    I'm thinking it's time to stock up on some scrapbooking paper with a wide range of colors and patterns.

  • taintbosh

    taintbosh said 8 years ago

    Great advice, especially on another post about using software to help as well.

  • zoozjewelry

    zoozjewelry said 8 years ago

    Great article! I need a lightbox, the light is too sharp in Greece.

  • lv2cr8

    lv2cr8 said 8 years ago

    This is one of my favorite articles. Photography is my biggest struggle and I am constantly trying new things. Thank you for the basics.

  • JBMoods

    JBMoods said 8 years ago

    Working. on these photo changes is alot of work, but when an item was featured I thought it was awesome! So I'm still working of both my pages. Always good advice I get from the Etsy team!

  • Lissies

    Lissies said 8 years ago

    Great tips! Thank you for sharing! :)

  • DIVINEsweetness

    DIVINEsweetness said 8 years ago

    Thank you so much!!


    AJSPASTIME said 8 years ago

    love the tips, I have already tried using dark background for my pics but I think maybe I should use more of a contrast than the color that I used. thanks for sharing

  • ToteallyBlessed

    ToteallyBlessed said 8 years ago

    This is great! I have alot to learn! Thanks so much.

  • onceuponapeony

    onceuponapeony said 8 years ago

    I was wondering how people got those beautiful white backgrounds! Thanks so much for all the great info!

  • CJJewels

    CJJewels said 8 years ago

    Thanks for the info. I had made a box with a white background but didn't think of adding a light inside. I'm off to try it right now :).

  • Jordannajoy

    Jordannajoy said 8 years ago

    Thanks! I will work on my pics.!

  • Cookstah

    Cookstah said 8 years ago

    So super. I am wondering this though... it seems to me that most front page treasuries have white or very plain backgrounds? Maybe 80%? Would you say this is the best way to go?

  • MarianDesigns

    MarianDesigns said 8 years ago

    Thanks for sharing your excellent and creative color ideas!

  • 2Tui

    2Tui said 8 years ago

    Thanks for sharing! Great article. Away with my white backgrounds!!

  • ScrapHappieAZ

    ScrapHappieAZ said 8 years ago

    Love the tips, I hope I improve

  • MysticStarDesigns

    MysticStarDesigns said 8 years ago

    Excellent tips thx!

  • laylacopeland

    laylacopeland said 8 years ago

    Thank you! These are really inspiring ideas.

  • RomanceCatsAndWhimsy

    RomanceCatsAndWhimsy said 8 years ago

    Great tips - thank you!

  • frenchiesfinds

    frenchiesfinds said 8 years ago

    Thanks for this! I'm just getting started and just got a great camera. Now I just need time to create and take pictures! This will help!

  • kathartstudio

    kathartstudio said 8 years ago

    Thanks for the great tips!

  • TMutzCreates

    TMutzCreates said 8 years ago

    Great samples!! especially "rock in the road" which i want to check out now...

  • GemdropsoftheFalls

    GemdropsoftheFalls said 8 years ago

    GREAT tips! I love the idea of using the color wheel. That is genius and I never would have thought of it. Thank you!!

  • designsbyegs

    designsbyegs said 8 years ago

    This sounds really doable - I'll give it a try. Sure can't make my photos any worse. Thanks

  • InYourBones

    InYourBones said 8 years ago

    Thanks for another helpful post

  • VintageStyleJewelry

    VintageStyleJewelry said 8 years ago

    pictures pictures! wish I knew someone who could take pictures for me as I am really struggling.

  • earthnskystudio

    earthnskystudio said 8 years ago

    Wonderful tips!

  • Lillypicadilly

    Lillypicadilly said 8 years ago

    Thank you, for these really simple and usable ideas.

  • chocolatetulipdesign

    chocolatetulipdesign said 8 years ago

    These are tips I needed to hear! I am going to implement some! Thanks!

  • dbghouston

    dbghouston said 8 years ago

    Great article! I will definitely keep these in mind!

  • LalitasGemmes

    LalitasGemmes said 7 years ago

    Nice tips! I am still a rookie at photography and these tips are going to help. Thanks!

  • TRaewyn

    TRaewyn said 7 years ago

    Thanks! This is great, and just what I'm looking for.

  • A todo color | Etsy habla Español said 4 years ago

    […] de Shop Makeover Series: Makeover Your Listings with Color de jenlo262, por Paula […]

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