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Staying Sharp: Achieving Clarity and Crispness in Your Photos

Feb 7, 2008

by terrain handmade and vintage goods

When you sell your craft online, photos are vitally important to your success. Without a physical item to touch and look at, your customers rely on your pictures as their tactile experience. Nothing will turn away a customer faster than a blurry photo with inscrutable details. Luckily, there are many solutions to this common frustration that can help you achieve a sharp, crisp, and alluring photo.

Set-up Solutions

Lighting: Good lighting is essential, because without it, your camera can’t capture the fine details and different tones and values of your item. A good source of light can be as simple as a bright windowsill. Direct sunlight, however, can wash out and overexpose your photo, so take care to either shoot on overcast days or diffuse the light with a sheer curtain or a piece of tracing paper taped to the window. Achieving good light levels indoors is trickier, but can be done inexpensively with a DIY lightbox and a pair of high-wattage full-spectrum industrial or shop lamps. When shooting indoors, be sure to have at least two sources of light, one on each side of the item, to avoid harsh shadows. Take advantage of your camera’s exposure values scale and white balance as well (see Bright Light, Big Color: Using EV and White Balance to Make Your Photos True to Life).

Tripod: Snapping a sharp photo requires a steady hand. The slightest movement of your hands or body, even the simple act of depressing the shutter, can result in “camera shake” – the blurring of an image that occurs when the lens is moved while the shutter is open. A tripod solves this problem by providing a stable base for your camera. The camera is affixed to the head of the tripod, so your hands are off the camera until the shutter is depressed. Tripods come in all sizes, from floor models ideal for taking shots of large items such as clothing or art, to tiny table-top models that are great for jewelry and other small items. In a pinch, if you don’t have a tripod, a bag of rice or other bean-bag type surface placed on the table top or on a stack of books can provide a stable enough base for you to angle your camera and snap a sharper photo.

In-Camera Solutions

Macro Mode: Taking clear photos of very small objects, such as jewelry, can be difficult unless you utilize your camera’s macro function. Read through your camera’s manual to determine how to switch your camera into macro mode. The icon for macro mode usually looks like a small flower. By switching your camera into macro mode your camera will be able to focus on objects as close as 2cm away, depending on your camera model.

Left: Photo taken with default camera settings. Right: Photo taken in macro mode.

Focusing: Most contemporary digital cameras have a two-step focus function that enables the user to select precisely what part of the item they want in focus. Try depressing the shutter button of your camera only halfway down, and watch for one or more rectangles to appear on the camera’s screen. The part of the image within the rectangle will be in focus. Once you see this rectangle, fully depress the shutter button. Generally this rectangle will appear in the centre of the screen, but if you want the focus of your image off-center, simply move your camera to the left or right while keeping the shutter button half-depressed, then press down all the way when the image is arranged as you wish. You may need to practice this technique several times before achieving a consistent result.

Remote Shutter Release/Timer: If camera shake is your main enemy, you might consider purchasing a remote shutter release for your camera. This is simply a button on a cord that when plugged into your camera, allows you to depress the shutter without touching the camera at all, completely eliminating camera shake. You can also achieve a similar result by utilizing the timer on your camera.

Depth of Field: Ever see those artsy photos that are sharp in one part of the image, and blurry everywhere else? You can create that effect by utilizing depth-of-field. Depth-of-field refers to how much of the area in front of or behind the subject of the image is in focus. A “shallow” DOF means that very little of the image is in focus – perhaps only the item itself, or even just a small part of the item. A “deep” DOF means that most of, if not all the image is in focus, including the foreground, subject, and background. DOF can be complicated to understand, but essentially it is composed of a geometric sequence called “f-stops,” which describe focal length divided by the aperture diameter.

Left: Photo taken using f-stop f/8, resulting in a deep depth-of-field (in focus from back to front). Right: Photo taken using f-stop f/2.8, resulting in a shallow depth-of-field (in focus up close, blurry far away).

The smaller the f-stop (i.e. f/2.8), the shallower the DOF. The higher the f-stop (i.e. f/16), the deeper the DOF. If you have a manually operated digital camera or a camera with an “Aperture Priority” mode, you can take advantage of DOF to create some great photographs. To get that sharp-in-front-blurry-in-the-back effect, switch to Aperture Priority and set your f-stop as low as it can go. In most cameras without an add-on macro lens, f/2.8 is the lowest possible setting. Focus the camera carefully on one part of the item by depressing the shutter halfway as described previously, then snap your photo. Again, this can take some practice but the effects are worthwhile.

Post-Processing Solutions

Photoshop: Levels: Using the Levels function in Photoshop can help to bring out the details in too-dark or too-light photographs (for tips on how to use Levels, see this article).

Photoshop – Unsharp Mask: Although the name seems counter-intuitive, the unsharp mask function in Photoshop is the quickest and easiest way to sharpen your photos during post-processing. Unsharp mask uses a combination of sharpening and blurring edges to increase contrast, whereas the sharpen function only sharpens, which can lead to unwanted edge pixelation. There are three controls that make up unsharp mask: amount, radius, and threshold. The amount slider controls how much contrast is enhanced. It can generally be left between 100-150%. The radius is the most important slider, as it designates how far to look for anything that might be considered an edge.

Left: Photo before using Unsharp Mask. Right: Photo after using Unsharp Mask. 

This means that a low resolution image should have a lower radius setting than a higher resolution image. A good rule of thumb is to take the photo resolution and divide by 200. Set the radius at the resulting number. For example, if resolution is 180dpi, set the radius to 0.9. Threshold basically withholds the results of the other two sliders, so it can usually be left at 0, unless you have unwanted grain in the photo that needs smoothing. Be cautious to not over-sharpen your image, or it will look pixelated – good sharpening is subtle and enhances the photo without overpowering it.

Final Tip: Practice, practice, practice! One of the great advantages of digital photography is that you can take endless numbers of photographs with no waste, so don’t hesitate to take the time to figure out which of these techniques can work for you.

Happy snapping!

For more photography how-tos, go here! Also, terrain is an experienced photographer and has shared her expertise with the Storque before, so for more of her how-tos, go here!


  • bornlippy

    bornlippy said 12 years ago

    Wow! GREAT article. Thanks Terrain!

  • organicbeginings

    organicbeginings said 12 years ago

    Fantastic easy to understand article ,, thank you terrain

  • abitabite

    abitabite said 12 years ago

    A lot of peoples number 1 problem on etsy is not using enough light, so i am glad you addressed this first. Often i see people throwing all kinds of tips and ideas out there, when the photo would be 100x better if they just used more light. Lets not forget after all, "photo" means light.

  • eclipse

    eclipse said 12 years ago

    These articles are great, I need a new camera and then I'll reread them again. You really explain the jargon in simple English, thank you!

  • UnePetiteEtoile

    UnePetiteEtoile said 12 years ago

    Wonderfully written. Thank you.

  • opalpoems

    opalpoems said 12 years ago

    Easy and helpful tips, well written and great photo examples... Thanks Terrain :)

  • dangerousmezzo

    dangerousmezzo said 12 years ago

    Great article, terrain, thank you so much!

  • Blondezillabeads4fun

    Blondezillabeads4fun said 12 years ago

    Oh THAT'S what that button is for !!!! Thanks so much for making it understandable once again Terrain ;>) I find your articles MUCH more understandable than my camera's manual :D

  • terrain

    terrain said 12 years ago

    Thanks everyone and thanks to the Storque folks for publishing it! I am really just an amateur though compared to the many amazing and talented photographers here on Etsy. I agree with Abitabite about light - a good source really does solve most problems. Sunny days can be few and far between where I live so I use a combined total of 500 watts to shoot indoors. Eclipse, you can do lots with even just a basic camera - mine is only 3.2 mgp. I'll be upgrading soon though!

  • Schmutzerland

    Schmutzerland said 12 years ago

    This article was so helpful! I was struggling with my photos for a while. Great helpful tips and I love the examples!

  • cynthiamillar

    cynthiamillar said 12 years ago

    Thanks Terrain...I'm about to launch my site and your tips came just in time...

  • BrickMillStudio

    BrickMillStudio said 12 years ago

    *happy sigh* another excellent article with a bunch of useful tips from terrain.... thank you!

  • whitepaw

    whitepaw said 12 years ago

    Excellent article terrain!

  • eliwill

    eliwill said 12 years ago

    thank you. this is something i continually work on. gemmafactrix had a great suggestion in an article and i use it all the time: take a lot of photos and then choose from them during the editing process.

  • daniellexo

    daniellexo said 12 years ago

    fabulous article! i'm going to keep this one bookmarked FOR SURE. thanks, terrain.

  • LiSoCards

    LiSoCards said 12 years ago

    Wonderful tips- thank you!

  • ColibriDreams

    ColibriDreams said 12 years ago

    Thank you again! I just wish my camera would work - the zoom got broken, grrh! Oh well, have to try these tips with boyfriend's camera!

  • sixsisters

    sixsisters said 12 years ago

    Great help for everyone no matter what stage you are in .

  • shannon75

    shannon75 said 12 years ago

    Very good article. These techniques really work.

  • EttiandOttisOddments

    EttiandOttisOddments said 12 years ago

    THANK YOU! As someone to whom a lot of this sounds like alien speak, this was put in a way that I think I can figure it out!

  • hellome

    hellome said 12 years ago

    LOL. Thanks for mentioning the flower icon. All this time, I didn't even know if my camera could do macro or not. Going through the manual = hard. Pushing a few buttons and finding the flower icon = easy!! Thanks for the no brainer. :D

  • emilyaugust

    emilyaugust said 12 years ago

    This is a really great article to reference. I am printing it out and saving it somewhere!

  • jen0910

    jen0910 said 12 years ago

    Good article. I agree that Depth of Field can make pictures look a lot better but, you have to make sure you don't go overboard. I have seen some pictures on here where the DOF is so shallow that it is no better than having a blurry picture. Also, having a picture of the item (if its jewelry) on a person really helps the viewer get a better idea of the piece.

  • jenlo262

    jenlo262 said 12 years ago

    Great article! I'm going to save the link to post in the "how are my photos" forum threads!

  • unleashedpen

    unleashedpen said 12 years ago

    Thanks for that well written article. I finally understand how to use the Aperture Priority mode.

  • shopbonnin

    shopbonnin said 12 years ago

    I always use Levels, but never knew about Unsharp Mask. Thanks for that detailed and easy to understand explanation. I'm going to give it a try.

  • anandi

    anandi said 12 years ago

    Awesome article, and your photos are beautiful!!

  • mesalinens

    mesalinens said 12 years ago

    Thank you Terrain. Shooting for this format is very different. I am looking forward to using your advice to improve the quality of my shots. My biggest problem is color shift. I think your suggestions will help me achieve a truer color.

  • katelynjane

    katelynjane said 12 years ago

    Terrain, I saw you in the Flickr TransCanada group (: Good article!! Thanks for posting (:

  • mamaziel

    mamaziel said 12 years ago

    Thank you! I've been pestering the forums trying to figure out exactly what I'm doing wrong and gathering tips. I don't know how I missed this article because it answers most of the questions I've been agonizing over. Thank you!

  • cherdak

    cherdak said 12 years ago

    Thank you for this wonderful article ! I'm really not good at taking great pictures, but after reading this I'll certainly improve.

  • rikkicondon

    rikkicondon said 12 years ago

    so helpful! thanks

  • Ginevra1

    Ginevra1 said 12 years ago

    Thanks for the great article. I learned alot.

  • anandi

    anandi said 12 years ago

    the example photos are great. awesome article.

  • AmandaYuDesign

    AmandaYuDesign said 12 years ago

    Thanks a lot! such a useful article.

  • Merylmayd

    Merylmayd said 12 years ago

    Thanks for that - ever so useful. Can't wait to start fiddling.

  • Rachelsaprons

    Rachelsaprons said 12 years ago

    Thank you, great!

  • queenartist

    queenartist said 12 years ago

    Thank you for the tips, what wonderful insight! I shall go ahead and utilize it to better my photography! Thanks!

  • GoodWitchCreations

    GoodWitchCreations said 12 years ago

    Wow. Thank you so much for this article! I recently joined the Etsy community and I've been practicing and experimenting constantly. The article basically lets me know I'm in the right direction. I really enjoy the amount of help and support that is provided here. Thanks again. Tara

  • LystraK

    LystraK said 12 years ago

    thanks for the article.

  • TheHayPatch

    TheHayPatch said 12 years ago

    Thanks for the tips.

  • BeadinBabe

    BeadinBabe said 12 years ago

    wow awesome article, thanks so much! I have some work to do!

  • TiLTcreations

    TiLTcreations said 12 years ago

    Always love the tips from the Storque! Thanks

  • krystalsbykrystallee

    krystalsbykrystallee said 12 years ago

    Learned alot in here also. Thanks

  • bluestarbutterflies

    bluestarbutterflies said 12 years ago

    Time to hunt down my camera manual!

  • gaboodles

    gaboodles said 12 years ago

    great help!

  • tootsmagee

    tootsmagee said 12 years ago

    I wanted to add that you can download a program called Photofiltre that will help you make your pictures look better. It's not as fancy as photo shop but it's easy to use --- and free!!

  • AzizaTrendz

    AzizaTrendz said 12 years ago

    This really did help me alot and I am going to make some changes today.

  • ILoveYoYo

    ILoveYoYo said 12 years ago

    Thanks a lot. It is very helpfull...

  • TeddybearsTrinkets

    TeddybearsTrinkets said 12 years ago

    Very helpful!! Thank you!

  • BeastlyBeasties

    BeastlyBeasties said 12 years ago

    Thank you for a really helpful article. My photos are not as good as I would like them to be, your article will really help me decide which camera I need to buy, and how toimprove my images.

  • sveltlan

    sveltlan said 12 years ago

    Very helpful and easy to understand. I am bookmarking this to refer back to when I redo my pics.

  • ElsaAndEm

    ElsaAndEm said 12 years ago

    I have such a difficult time with photos, and have always wondered how those hand-picked sellers do it. Thank you!

  • BeverlyAnn

    BeverlyAnn said 12 years ago

    Very helpful...thank you! I will be redoing all of my photos to help promote my pieces. I really like the home-made light box as it always seems like I am taking my pictures at night. Thank you again!

  • livecreations

    livecreations said 12 years ago

    great article, thank you

  • inkadinkadoodle

    inkadinkadoodle said 12 years ago

    Thanks! Can't get enough pointers about the photos.

  • hanginmoon

    hanginmoon said 12 years ago

    Thanks, life is a continue learning process.

  • Tanith

    Tanith said 12 years ago

    Thank you, Thank you, Thank you! You were able to explain a couple of things I was already familiar with in a way that actually made sense to me!

  • whatmedia

    whatmedia said 11 years ago

    Excellent article. Photography is really important and this article gives some easy steps to improve. When I write for the blog, I always look for good photography. Sometimes the work is great but there is no usable picture.

  • purpletights

    purpletights said 11 years ago

    What backgrounds are you folks using for your photos? I'm seeing some nice neutral colors and patterns, but where are you getting them? And do you take them outdoors and take the photos there? Is black velvet out of favor?

  • sterlingsunjewelry

    sterlingsunjewelry said 11 years ago

    Thanks for this! I knew about most of this but will now check my camera for manual f-stop settings. Plus, the Unsharp Mask info is v. helpful.

  • sterlingsunjewelry

    sterlingsunjewelry said 11 years ago

    Re- black velvet. The trouble is that when you're in macro, any teensy tiny little speck looks like a football and things you never thought were there will turn up on the image loud and clear! I found that velvet was terrible for this even after I'd brushed it to oblivion. So far, some of my best results have been with a saturated color (black or rich brown), non-reflective paper bought at an art supply store.

  • hulupputree

    hulupputree said 11 years ago

    Ah yes, very useful indeed - photos are well tricky!

  • tartanbean

    tartanbean said 11 years ago

    This is really helpful information. I haven't been pleased with my photos. I'm going to take some time in the next week to try out your tips. Many thanks for taking the time to post them.

  • mibellasophia

    mibellasophia said 11 years ago

    love this article.

  • wwcsilverjewelry

    wwcsilverjewelry said 11 years ago

    wonderful and very helpful. Thanks so much!!

  • ExoticFlavour

    ExoticFlavour said 11 years ago

    Great tips, thanks a lot ^^

  • steampunkjunq

    steampunkjunq said 11 years ago

    Love this article. Thanks! :)

  • amyluo

    amyluo said 11 years ago

    Thank you for sharing these tips. I was wondering if it's possible to do DOF on a non-SLR camera?

  • FunSizeDesigns

    FunSizeDesigns said 11 years ago

    Just what I needed! Thank you.

  • IrelandScott

    IrelandScott said 11 years ago

    Thanks for sharing the tips. This has been totally helpful, as I've been trying for a few days to take pictures like those above.

  • BirdhouseBlessings

    BirdhouseBlessings said 11 years ago

    Thank you! Next step will be redoing everything I have already done, but it will be worth it.

  • TealJewelry

    TealJewelry said 11 years ago

    I love photography and appreciate all the useful tips! Thanks!!

  • EarringVixen

    EarringVixen said 11 years ago

    Wow great article, thanks so much for the great tips, I never heard of some of those camera features before! I need to try them out :)

  • TeTelesTai

    TeTelesTai said 11 years ago

    I have been struggling with photos for months. I found this article to be very helpful and hopefully I will put all of the information to good use. Thank you for your time and willingness to help.

  • 2harrisons

    2harrisons said 11 years ago

    Great tips on getting those clean close ups, no easy task for me. I think this will really help. thanks so much.

  • RomanceCatsAndWhimsy

    RomanceCatsAndWhimsy said 11 years ago

    Very helpful information! Thanks for the great tips!

  • aoisart

    aoisart said 11 years ago

    Thank you for the information!

  • Bluebelldesign

    Bluebelldesign said 11 years ago

    Great info. Thanks!

  • kinaloon

    kinaloon said 11 years ago

    I'm going to try your DOF advise in my next series of photos. Thanks!

  • timdan

    timdan said 11 years ago

    Thank You! I'm just starting out, and the biggest problem was my blurry camera pictures! This article was MOST helpful.

  • Bohemianchicjewelery

    Bohemianchicjewelery said 11 years ago

    This is fantastic information,i get the holding the button down on the camera half way until your in focus,it definately makes a big i will have to revamp some of my pics..and great work to those who have got it down pat!!bravo!

  • chameleongirl

    chameleongirl said 11 years ago

    Great article. So glad I read it too! Will be bookmarking this one for future reference as I often struggle to stay uber-sharp and your advice is very clear to follow. Thank you!

  • eclecticbysari

    eclecticbysari said 11 years ago

    Awesome! Dankeshane!

  • studiometalsmith

    studiometalsmith said 11 years ago

    such useful information, thanks!

  • Simag

    Simag said 11 years ago

    THANK YOU !!!! Fantastic article AND very easy to understand!

  • jessielawson

    jessielawson said 11 years ago

    thanks for a most inspiring article!

  • earthexpressions

    earthexpressions said 11 years ago

    Thanks for sharing this interesting tips!

  • earthexpressions

    earthexpressions said 11 years ago

    Oops!! ...these!!

  • BeyondStitches

    BeyondStitches said 11 years ago

    Thank you so much for the wonderful tips!

  • MyCuteBoutique

    MyCuteBoutique said 11 years ago

    This will help me in posting better pictures, thanks!

  • AnomalousBits

    AnomalousBits said 11 years ago

    Awesome! Thank You :)

  • SimpleJoysPaperie

    SimpleJoysPaperie said 11 years ago

    Great tips. I love MACRO mode on my camera!

  • Enuwbe

    Enuwbe said 11 years ago

    Thank you Terrain! Great tips for everyone! Photography is a continual process. I will be practicing these tips for sure!

  • nenafaye

    nenafaye said 11 years ago

    Thank you so much Terrain! Photography is the "toughest" part for me, this helps a LOT!

  • Jrisco

    Jrisco said 11 years ago

    great ! thanks :)

  • ArrayedAndAdorned

    ArrayedAndAdorned said 11 years ago

    Love it! Thanks!

  • factoryjunkie

    factoryjunkie said 11 years ago

    thanks so much for the tips!

  • zigwicks

    zigwicks said 11 years ago

    Fabulous tips! Thanks :)

  • slapsakky

    slapsakky said 11 years ago

    thanks for the tip ,i am very new at all this stuff.any help at all means alot.thank you again.

  • Scallyrags

    Scallyrags said 11 years ago

    Great article, very helpful Thanks

  • LavenderField

    LavenderField said 11 years ago

    Good tips, thanks for this article.

  • fabfabrique

    fabfabrique said 11 years ago

    you mean i should use my camera's settings?!? who'd a thunk? :)

  • barefootweaver

    barefootweaver said 11 years ago

    Thanks for all the great tips! I'm learning and retaking all the time!! :)

  • newsprout

    newsprout said 11 years ago

    Thanks for the great tips. I am still working on improving my images and appreciate all the help.

  • LizzyBdesigns

    LizzyBdesigns said 11 years ago

    Wonderful Article...thanks for posting this. I am very new to photographing jewelry & am surely learning day by day~thank you!

  • noodlefo

    noodlefo said 11 years ago

    Great article. Useful information and easy to understand.

  • Vulpesera

    Vulpesera said 11 years ago

    Wonderful article, and infinity helpful...thank you!

  • LisaFerinDesigns

    LisaFerinDesigns said 11 years ago

    this is great--thanks for going beyond the basics!

  • mammysshop

    mammysshop said 11 years ago

    Oh my word i just tried one of your tips and what a difference. Didn't know my camera could do that. I'm embarassed!

  • ItalicAmpersand

    ItalicAmpersand said 11 years ago

    Good to know - thank you!

  • LuMagoo

    LuMagoo said 11 years ago

    I can't wait to try some of your tips. For me, taking photos can be one of the best or worst parts of posting something new. Thanks ;)

  • RenuRedo

    RenuRedo said 11 years ago


  • TutuFairy

    TutuFairy said 11 years ago

    THank yoU!

  • mysticpieces

    mysticpieces said 11 years ago

    Yea - thanks for the tip on macro mode!

  • MeliBMaui

    MeliBMaui said 11 years ago

    Great tips! Thanks a million Etsy

  • CostumeBijoux

    CostumeBijoux said 11 years ago

    Thanks so much for the micro mode tip - I never knew my pics could come out this well!

  • vrixa

    vrixa said 11 years ago

    Thanks. Useful info.

  • jabberjewels

    jabberjewels said 11 years ago

    Thank you for all the helpful hints. I am one of the people that are having a major problem with photos. I do take photos of jewelry that come out blurry. I switched the macro mode and my ISO to a higher speed and pictures are coming out better. I really hate when you buy a new camera, they don't teach you how to use it. Thanks again.

  • sweethead

    sweethead said 11 years ago

    Great info. Hopefully, I can take my pics to the next level!

  • McGregorgirl

    McGregorgirl said 11 years ago

    this is excellent! thanks for all the helpful tips. I will be re-doing my photos over time...

  • TheNightjar

    TheNightjar said 11 years ago

    awesome, TY

  • smilingbluedog

    smilingbluedog said 11 years ago

    Thanks for these valuable tips... I'm still working on the photos, but am improving, thanks to folks like you :)

  • girlscout103

    girlscout103 said 11 years ago

    I never knew about the macro setting for my camera. Thanks for this information; I am going to try it and hope it makes the difference in helping attract customers to Milagros..

  • KasaCollection

    KasaCollection said 11 years ago

    i need to try macro too

  • SeptembersSapphire

    SeptembersSapphire said 11 years ago

    Thank you for this Terrain, what a great piece of information, very helpful.

  • TatusWelle

    TatusWelle said 11 years ago

    Great tips. Marking!!

  • Pearlk2

    Pearlk2 said 11 years ago

    thank you for the tips

  • Dorijewellery1

    Dorijewellery1 said 11 years ago

    Thanks so much, I do agree that photos help to sell. Very helpful information

  • ArtfoolDesigns

    ArtfoolDesigns said 11 years ago

    Great tips, thanks!

  • vintagegirldezigns

    vintagegirldezigns said 11 years ago

    just what i needed...I've been looking for some good photography tips. thanks:)

  • ItsAllInTheBag01

    ItsAllInTheBag01 said 11 years ago

    Great tips!! Thank you!!

  • PreciousPromisesAust

    PreciousPromisesAust said 11 years ago

    Thanks for the article. I wasn't 100% happy with my photos. I am glad I now know how to tackle it. Sam.

  • javagirls

    javagirls said 11 years ago

    Thanks. I just got a new camera, and now these new tips. Can't wait to reshoot!

  • PookThy

    PookThy said 11 years ago

    thank you for this!

  • delightfuldaisy

    delightfuldaisy said 10 years ago

    Great article!

  • CCrafters

    CCrafters said 10 years ago

    Great article!

  • chocolatecreative

    chocolatecreative said 10 years ago

    I know photoshop well and that is an advantage when working with photos, it has saved many times when the photos weren't good enough!!

  • BeaucoupBandit

    BeaucoupBandit said 10 years ago

    Very informative and helpful... can't wait to take crisper and clearer pictures!

  • teddydesigner58

    teddydesigner58 said 10 years ago

    Thanks. The information about the f-stop is most helpful.

  • SewObsession

    SewObsession said 10 years ago

    think i need a new camera and maybe a tripod to go with it, thanks for great information

  • kathartstudio

    kathartstudio said 10 years ago

    Thanks for the great tips!

  • nansglam

    nansglam said 10 years ago

    Thanks for all the great tips!! F-stop and Photoshop editing are ones I need more practice with so thanks for the detailed info! Much appreciated!

  • KristyLynnJewelry

    KristyLynnJewelry said 10 years ago

    Never thought of using the tripod...thanks for the info and help!!

  • ikabags

    ikabags said 10 years ago

    Wonderful tips- thank you!

  • sewblessedstitches

    sewblessedstitches said 10 years ago

    Thanks for sharing all the wonderful tips. This is something we are always trying to improve. Thanks!

  • ShantyTownMadness

    ShantyTownMadness said 10 years ago

    thanks for the fancy tips!

  • LittlestCharmFactory

    LittlestCharmFactory said 10 years ago

    Fantastic tips! Thanks so much

  • AardvarkBeadsAndGems

    AardvarkBeadsAndGems said 10 years ago

    Thank you for the very helpful tips!

  • SewWriteCreations

    SewWriteCreations said 10 years ago

    Great tips - thanks for sharing them in understandable language. Wish the owner's manual did same!

  • ArtisticIntentions

    ArtisticIntentions said 10 years ago

    Great tips! Thank you!!

  • BabbidgePatch

    BabbidgePatch said 10 years ago

    love the tips ~ practise session in my near future!

  • OldNewAgain

    OldNewAgain said 10 years ago

    Great post!! I am tripod-challenged, so I use a bag of beans (dry, of course).

  • WebWorksFiber

    WebWorksFiber said 10 years ago

    I adore the wonderful articles on photography. It is so important. This one is especially helpful. I have finally mastered the macro, now on to the f stops :) thanks for sharing your knowlege

  • SallysCreativeHands

    SallysCreativeHands said 10 years ago

    Thanks so much for this information. I feel kind of dumb, having had a digital camera for years and not knowing anything about the macro mode feature. It will undoubtedly change the quality of my jewelry pictures. Again, thanks for taking the time to write this info down for those of us who don't read their camera owners manual.:)

  • akaCINDERS

    akaCINDERS said 10 years ago

    I've been having terrible problems with my close up jewelry pics. I recently realized I have shaky hands. I just took a pic with these tips. Steady camera resting on surface, macro setting, f/2.8 and it is the BEST picture I have ever taken. Thanks so much.

  • CindyEllison

    CindyEllison said 10 years ago

    Just the term "white balance" seems to imtimidate me but this article has helped me so much ... I am gonna tackle it! ♥ Thank you!

  • PappyBoutique

    PappyBoutique said 10 years ago

    so that is all the mumbo jumbo my mother keeps trying to tell me (she is a photographer) about when she sees my photos of my product...will start paying attention to this now!!!

  • lilruby

    lilruby said 10 years ago

    Thanks terrain- Taking good jewelry photos remains a challenge but I'm getting to the point where I actually enjoy it! Next I need to get an editing program and learn how to use it.

  • dorkorama99

    dorkorama99 said 10 years ago

    Great tips, and also reassuring that I am babystepping in the right direction. Although now I'm worried my avitar is overexposed! yikes! =) Thanks for this!

  • turiana07

    turiana07 said 10 years ago

    Thanks for the info, it is much appreciated.

  • trinityrocks

    trinityrocks said 10 years ago

    Good tips! TU

  • beachglassshop

    beachglassshop said 10 years ago

    thank you soo much for the tips!

  • kingscreekpottery

    kingscreekpottery said 10 years ago

    I ALWAYS need help and more advice on taking good photos, so thank you, thank you, thank you! Keep them coming...any advice on photographing larger pieces (like, pottery for example!!) would be greatly appreciated. I swear in my next life I will be a jeweler- easy to carry and small ;) Thanks again~

  • envydesignsjewelry

    envydesignsjewelry said 10 years ago

    Thank You! Great tips!

  • SolderingSisters

    SolderingSisters said 10 years ago

    Great tips! We've been playing around with the aperature settings. It takes time to figure it out, but it is worth it!

  • adornativity

    adornativity said 10 years ago

    This article was very helpful. I am currently shopping for a new camera, and have been overwhelmed! There may be hope for my photos yet! Thanks for posting this!

  • lilybluedesign

    lilybluedesign said 10 years ago

    Thank you for the great info! It does take lots of snapping to get the right photo and lighting is everything. When I first started - I spent more time on photographing than I did on my craft. It will get easier. But - WOW - when you do get great ones - you'll be grinnin - ear to ear! It is worth your time - after all -the photo is the tool that sells your craft.

  • EvelynMcCPetersArt

    EvelynMcCPetersArt said 10 years ago

    Fantastic tips, I am just starting to photgraph small items and this was very helpful!

  • goddesslydia

    goddesslydia said 10 years ago

    Fabulous tips. Thanks so much.

  • CharlieErnestNErise

    CharlieErnestNErise said 10 years ago

    I always wondered what that flower button was for...even though I could have just read the instruction manual.

  • CounterFitCakes

    CounterFitCakes said 10 years ago

    Thanks for the info!


    WOODLANDSNATURALS said 10 years ago

    Great shutterbug info, the tripod is the best tip I have used for micro photos. I will use a lot of your tips to improve my portfolio of photos thnx so much! Cris

  • MaudesEmporium

    MaudesEmporium said 10 years ago

    Thank you for the great explanation! Appreciate it very much.

  • thebeadgirl

    thebeadgirl said 10 years ago

    great tips...very clear :)

  • smilingbluedog

    smilingbluedog said 10 years ago

    Thank you! I've learned a lot from this article. There's always room for improvement in my photos.

  • gabeadz

    gabeadz said 10 years ago

    Very Helpful! Thank you so much!

  • alyson1234

    alyson1234 said 10 years ago

    I like the 'depth of field' info. I've always referred to that as "the sweet spot". Glad to know there's an actual name for it.

  • sparrowsalvage

    sparrowsalvage said 10 years ago

    Unsharp mask is my hero.

  • Lilybellesjewels

    Lilybellesjewels said 10 years ago

    This was a fantastic article. Thank you so much. I almost didn't read it because I never seem to get the hang of the photo tips articles, but this one was awesome. Easy to understand, and very, very interesting. Once again, Thank You So Much!

  • sweetmellyjane

    sweetmellyjane said 10 years ago

    Great article!

  • JL67

    JL67 said 10 years ago

    AWESOME! Thanks for sharing... :)

  • citlali

    citlali said 10 years ago

    You've explained this like no one else has to me. I actually get it! Thank you so much!

  • OpusMuse

    OpusMuse said 10 years ago

    I've always love getting my hands on any tips & tricks to take my jewelry photography up a notch. thanks so much for the informative article. the demo with photos is great!

  • ScrapHouseDesigns

    ScrapHouseDesigns said 10 years ago

    Thanks so much! I've always been afraid to break out of the auto mode on my digital SLR - I think maybe now I can. Great advice!

  • CucJewelry

    CucJewelry said 10 years ago

    Great article. Thanks for sharing!

  • ForeverGlassFlowers

    ForeverGlassFlowers said 10 years ago

    Thank you so much for this article. I've always LOVED photos and have a great camera but when I read the owner's manual I always end up going right back to the "auto" mode. This article lays it out "user friendly"!!! Thank you!!

  • DFLDesign

    DFLDesign said 10 years ago

    GREAT! Well-written, clear -- especially the Photoshop tips:) Thanks!

  • Adornmentsjewellery

    Adornmentsjewellery said 10 years ago

    Thanks for this article. The bit about setting the radius was especially helpful in demystifying that whole function. I use Picnik for my post processing and always was puzzled by this but knew that it was important. Tx again!!

  • BombshellRehab

    BombshellRehab said 10 years ago

    Wow! Just used the "unsharp" function...wish I had known about it sooner. It really works! These are great tips for the self-taught as myself.

  • JordanRou

    JordanRou said 10 years ago

    Great, great, great tips! Especially the macro-mode! Getting detailed close shots is always so frustrating - until reading your article I had no idea my camera had this function! Thanks a million!

  • Lillypicadilly

    Lillypicadilly said 10 years ago

    Thank you so much I understand more and will practice more. GB.

  • RipandStitchDiva

    RipandStitchDiva said 10 years ago

    Wow! Thanks so much for a great article!

  • RELMoriginals

    RELMoriginals said 10 years ago

    Great, I will try some of these tips.

  • TheGlassyLassy

    TheGlassyLassy said 10 years ago

    What a fabulous article! Tons of new stuff for me to try, thanks!

  • ArtisanSoapSpa

    ArtisanSoapSpa said 10 years ago

    Thanks so much for this awesome mini-tutorial. I learned some things.

  • nykki

    nykki said 10 years ago

    Very helpful, thank you.

  • BodaciousBiddies

    BodaciousBiddies said 10 years ago

    Thank you!!! My photos have definitely gotten better but hey there is always room for improvement and depth of field! Grins...

  • MattiOnline

    MattiOnline said 10 years ago

    Great work!!

  • aml01

    aml01 said 10 years ago

    Finally an article on shooting jewelry. Lots of helpful tips. Thanks

  • GemstonesByBren

    GemstonesByBren said 10 years ago

    Hmmm...sounds as if I need a newer jewelry sells well locally but my photos need help...thanks.

  • ipopdesigns

    ipopdesigns said 10 years ago

    The tips on using the aperture settings I found to be especially helpful. Thank you for sharing.

  • CourtneyCopeland

    CourtneyCopeland said 10 years ago

    Thank you for the tips! I know photos are SO, SO, SO important to our businesses, but I usually just opt for macro mode and take a ton of pictures until one is just right. Your suggestions sound easy to do, so I'm going to try playing around with some new settings!

  • DappleGrey

    DappleGrey said 10 years ago

    such great tip and artical really helful

  • FableAndLore

    FableAndLore said 10 years ago

    Great, great article. Thanks!

  • DareDevine

    DareDevine said 10 years ago

    Very helpful! Thanks :)

  • newmoonglass

    newmoonglass said 10 years ago

    In all the info I've seen about photograpghing your art, I've never seen any stained glass. It is a whole other animal, believe me...I could use some tips specific to stained glass...

  • SterlingByRebecca

    SterlingByRebecca said 10 years ago

    Taking good photos is one of my biggest challenges and obviously I'm not alone.... thanks for the tips!

  • cripplecreekglass

    cripplecreekglass said 10 years ago

    THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU! This was so incredibly helpful :)

  • GemdropsoftheFalls

    GemdropsoftheFalls said 10 years ago

    GREAT advice, thank you!

  • onegearclothing

    onegearclothing said 10 years ago

    Wow. I've really been completely ignorant of the powerful impact of good product photography. I feel kind of foolish! ;-) I'm amazed at what a difference you can achieve even with a simple point-n-shoot idiot box like I have if you just switch it over to MANUAL mode, play with the exposure settings and put it on a tripod. Last week my pics LOOKED like I just didn't care, the ones I took yesterday and today look exceptional. And it's the SAME camera, just using the tips in this article. Amazing result from a $0 investment!

  • GreenBirdDreaming

    GreenBirdDreaming said 10 years ago

    thanks! I dusted off the tripod and carefully studied your photoshop unsharp mask tips and took super in focus photos! first time! usually I have to take ten and go through them to find the one most in focus...

  • bbags22

    bbags22 said 10 years ago

    Photography is a neverending learning lesson!

  • MurDesign

    MurDesign said 10 years ago

    Really good advices from the semi professional point of view! Good job!

  • Zeedubya

    Zeedubya said 10 years ago

    Great article. One is always learning with photography

  • renegadeperceptions

    renegadeperceptions said 10 years ago

    Really great. Thank you! I need to sell some stuff in my shop so I can afford a tripod... ;) it is a vicious circle, but it's all fun :)

  • SharpMtnCreations

    SharpMtnCreations said 9 years ago

    Thanks for the tips. I still have sooo much to learn about photography :)

  • KooKooCraft

    KooKooCraft said 9 years ago

    i have never heard of unsharp mask before :) thanks!

  • leighsdesigns

    leighsdesigns said 9 years ago

    Thanks for all the great tips. I have a digital camera that I still don't understand all about it. Thanks for tip on macro mode. You make it more understandable.

  • cherrytime

    cherrytime said 9 years ago

    Great article. Thank you for sharing your tips.

  • ArtisiansYOKO

    ArtisiansYOKO said 9 years ago

    Thank you so much this is very helpfull

  • InspiredMindDesigns

    InspiredMindDesigns said 9 years ago

    thanks for the info on depth of to determine if my point and shoot has any flexibility in that department! ;o)

  • Petrascrafts

    Petrascrafts said 9 years ago

    I am still trying to take pictures of my jewellery but they look so blurred. I did not know about the Micro, so I just tried to take photos with the default setting on the camera. I have a lot to learn!

  • Petrascrafts

    Petrascrafts said 9 years ago

    Actually I meant Macro mode (not micro). Thank you for the tip. I am trying to find out right now how to do it.

  • CaraMiaBella

    CaraMiaBella said 9 years ago

    Great article! I linked it in my blog Thanks for all the info! It helped alot! ..Carrie...

  • RenataUniqueGifts

    RenataUniqueGifts said 9 years ago

    Thank you for all those reminders. Never too many times! Ready? Snap! ( the photos).

  • esd2snap

    esd2snap said 8 years ago

    I shoot a lot of prepared food... finding your article helpful... curious to know where you can purchase high-wattage-full spectrum bulbs, if they are expensive and just how high in watts? thanks in advance, Emily

  • BonfireVintage

    Bailey Bryans from BonfireVintage said 8 years ago

    This will definitely help my photography...I have been struggling with lighting quite a bit. I bought a few industrial lights from the hardware store and two 6500k bulbs...only cost me a total of $25! These have definitely helped make my photos much crisper.

  • dakotahowl

    Sarah Nolan from DakotaHowl said 8 years ago

    thank you! i love how helpful this site is, I feel very welcome, and not as overwhelmed about trying to get the ball rolling here now that im actually navigating through the processes :)

  • Villedefleurs

    Tatiana from VilleDeFleurs said 7 years ago

    Thanks for great tips ! Gave me some ideas ...

  • elleyedwards1

    Elley Foster from HelloLolaLikes said 7 years ago

    Terrain, I see this has been posted over 5 years ago, wow! It's still helping new (and seasoned?) Etsy sellers. Thank you again. As a lay-person with a new camera, an empty shop and no idea about the area of photography, this is inspiring. I especially liked the direction on artificial lighting and wattage...I was beginning to think that I'd have to take all of my product photos during the day, lol. Thank you.

  • moomettesgram

    Cindi Moomettes from MoomettesCrochet said 7 years ago

    Tried the recommended techniques in Photoshop Elements! Thanks for an easy to understand tutorial.

  • casale1

    Caroline from TwinSistersNY said 7 years ago

    Great tips for photographing small items. Do you have any advice for photographing large items? Tall thin items?

  • makemesmilejewelry

    cheryl wagner from MakeMeSmileJewelry said 7 years ago

    thank you thank you thank you!!!!

  • scarvesinfinity

    Le Chelle from ScarvesInfinity said 7 years ago

    I definitely need to learn to work with the macros on my camera. Thanks so much for this informative post! Very inspiring. Can't wait to give these suggestions a try :)

  • PhotographicAnomaly

    PhotographicAnomaly from PhotographicAnomaly said 7 years ago

    one thing i see much of -- on another famous selling site as well... is MACRO/ 'Close Ups' done wrong - in point and shoot digital cameras like many of us have are different than in old days of SLR and big manual focus macro lens. Now we must use MACRO (little flower symbol) (dont bother -ever- with DIGITAL macro! or DIGITAL Zoom - UGH!) the trick is always be zoomed out never try to Zoom in with MACRO Mode! just move camera closer til you have what you want in your frame and press half way for pre-focus - SEE IF it puts the green box (in focus area) on what part you want in focus most; if not move camera a bit and press half way again for pre-focus - maybe this will take time to get exactly, but after a while you will find what your after. (if you think your settings are messed up - just turn off camera and turn back on some will reset and you can start over; No worries ) this same pre-focus type 'action' will work for metering light on subject. sometimes i shoot my black cats in bright sunlight coming in door and i have to meter for carpet or 1/2 in 1/2 to get a shutter speed that gets good exposure. the best ISO speed is usually 200 for nearly all camera sensors - so I have read. this may be most important when shooting products and the need for tripod and white cards for "Fill Light' or reducing bright spots (black cardboard or grey too) and getting the true detail on objects. my older Canon SD1100 has a Manual "M" mode and I shoot on that all the time now. its still hard to force these point and shoot compact camera to give me depth of field - increasing the ISO 'up' to 400-800 didn't give me more as one might think. I used to have a studios to shoot in and lights and back drops! and not having those to work with makes one rig up ways to get objects photographed with no cash. I do like it that we can buy "Daylight' colored bulbs for household lights - so anyone with a clamp light can make a studio set up - the back drop issue still has even me frustrated and i have a white paper backdrop set up - but no where to set it up as stand are large. FOR TALL THIN ITEMS? a long piece of paper like news print on end rolls from newspaper office (sold by pound) can be draped up/down and a dowel rod at top or curtain rod can hold it up there - yes its off white and more fragile than real back drop paper but it will work if you dont have a dog and or cats actively helping you.. :) you may need more lights or have to think it through - over cast days are best if outside. I have seen someone say use Hi Speed ISO when outside in bright light - I DO NOT know why; but that is wrong! it washes out the image (overwhelms sensor) to an unworkable file. if your TALL THIN ITEM is able to lay flat you can lay on concrete and use ladder to photograph from above. *but it may not always be right for that item. remember the better photograph you take the less editing time to get it ready to post. Don't be like what a old friend said: basically: shoot bad pix and do all the work in PhotoShop! that is a backwards philosophy and not everyone can work fast or long to "Fix" bad photos. Like another seller said on other post - you gotta 'factor photo and editing time into cost of your items'

  • MonasChocolates

    Mona M. from MonasChocolates said 7 years ago

    Thanks for sharing these great photography tips.

  • Joyrex1973

    Sonia Lara from WonderousVintage said 7 years ago

    Thank You for all of this information PhotographicAnomaly. I'm all new to this, and I had no idea what photography really involves. My photographs need a lot of improvement, but with all the advice you gave me hopefully I will start taking better pictures.

  • tanalewis84

    Tana Lewis from GabbysBoutique2 said 7 years ago

    Great Article. I plan on improving my photography as I get started on this new endeavor.

  • snowflakeglass

    Peggy King from snowflakeglass said 7 years ago

    my pet peeve by sellers is photographing their wares on very busy backgrounds or on backgrounds that are too close to the same color as the item. This does NOT enhance your item, it makes it much more diffcult to see and buyers will loose interest. keep your backgrounds PLAIN so you can showcase your work.

  • doggonepurrtty

    Ellen Leemans from Ellensbows said 7 years ago

    Thanks so much. I'm glad I took the time to read your article. That macro information worked like a charm!! My pics look so sharp and professional now. I'm a happy camper!! :)

  • cr8tive1971

    Tiffany Turner from Hype365Brand said 7 years ago

    Awesome article.

  • JayfaJewellery

    Emma from myhandmadebagsnbeads said 7 years ago

    thanks etsy great article

  • GalinaLampert

    Galina Lampert from Gallini said 6 years ago

    Thanks a lot for these tips. I am improving my close-up photographic skills in my jewelry shop.

  • sherinicholas said 6 years ago

    Great informative article! Thank you.

  • MargiesNaturalJewels

    Margie Becknell from MargiesNaturalJewels said 6 years ago

    Thank you so much for your article it helped me sooo much !!!

  • patricialotich

    Patricia Lotich from CleanEarthCandles said 6 years ago

    Great tips for photos! thank you!

  • kenden310

    Karen Merida from GirleyblingJewelry said 6 years ago

    Great info! Thanks!

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    Alice from WeddingBoutiques said 6 years ago

    GTEAT! Thanks!

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  • stasherdragon

    Donna Bohdanyk from StasherDragon said 6 years ago

    My go-to is levels, but I've yet to try unsharp mask.

  • stitchlesstv

    Stitchless TV from StitchlessTV said 6 years ago

    Wow....that was such useful information. Thankyou. Tree x

  • omabina70

    Sabine Miner from StudioSabine said 6 years ago

    learned something - now I just have to do it - thanks

  • kimberlykirberger

    kimberly kirberger from KirbergerDesigns said 6 years ago

    Great information. I designed jewelry 25 years ago (don't do the math/I'm still 18) And I was very successful. I sold to the best stores, had a long list of celebrities who purchased and wore my jewelry, was in magazines, you get the idea. Then I had an amazing opportunity to co-author 10 + Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul books. It was an amazing ride which ended, like all things do. I went on to write 4 well received books (some of which are still selling) but after I had written everything I had in me for teenagers I find myself wanting to return to jewelry design. Figured I would just pick up where I left off, with a short re-entry period. Instead I found myself in a brand ne world. There was no internet back then and def. not any "On-line" stores. You coudn't purchase findings and materials by simply going on your computer. I could go on. I plan to write a blog. I AM going somewhere here. I've worked so hard. I have amazing jewelry (I'm partial) and I have done everything I have read that I should. I've spent money on ads, taken pretty good pics, take time with my listings.....but I'm not used to selling along side 10's of thousands of other designers. Honestly , it's tad overwhelming. (Can I offer payment plans or make an offer?) I ask only because so much of my success was based on my people skills. Working with the customer, because I LOVED doing that. I'm beginning to ramble (there's so much more that I'll save for the blog) I want any suggestions, feedback, answers, etc. that you can give me. It's lonely selling on Etsy.......wink wink

  • mnops

    mnop s from BlueToneArt said 6 years ago

    Thanks for the tips~


    VIPOTCHI from VIPOTCHI said 6 years ago

    WOW!!! Still have a lot to learn. Thanks...

  • findakeeper

    Carol Poirier Dominique from findakeeper said 5 years ago

    Thank you for sharing your expertise. I am starting today to use techniques you have shown me. Wonderful article

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  • blackandginger

    Stephene Bond said 5 years ago

    Good info, but f-stop is a function of the lens, not the camera. I hope I can get a good shallow depth of field with f4. F2.8 sounds like at least another $1000.00 dollars to me! Good advice on relatively inexpensive lighting. It's harder to take good photos than a lot of people think, and requires practice. I am always amazed at the fine quality of photos on Etsy. It's a discipline unto itself. A good photo is an absolute necessity and the introduction to the rest of the supporting information. Thanks for the article!

  • How to Start An Etsy Shop - Sweet Paper Trail said 5 years ago

    […] Achieving Clarity and Crispness in Your Photos […]

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    Thank you.

  • lucielleerucker

    Lucielle E. Rucker from CeliesJewelryPlus said 5 years ago

    What kind of camera is best to get? Do You Know Lucielle E. Rucker I am shopping for one but do not know what is best. Celies Jewelry Plus

  • RoughGreenEdges

    Sharon Rea from RoughGreenEdges said 5 years ago

    This article is the beginning of my efforts to learn how to use my camera correctly. Thank you for the clear and brief sections in the article...I now have a couple of things to focus on next in my efforts. To much information overwhelms me!

  • sandrawatkins5

    Sandra from VintageOfOdds said 5 years ago

    Thank you so much for the information as now I will experiment with my camera to get the best photos I can possibly get.

  • PoisonAppleCosmetics

    Trinytei Aaron from PoisonAppleCosmetics said 5 years ago

    this doesn't help I need to know how to keep a quality photo from losing quality once I upload it to etsy cuz all my photos are 30% less clear and sharp after I upload them. Its not my screen. The photos are 1000px wide and close or a little less than 2 MB.

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    Nettie from Nitcraft said 4 years ago

    Great article and its given me a better understanding of how to get a good photo. Thank you so much.

  • How to Start An Etsy Shop - Iselaespana said 4 years ago

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  • How to successfully sell on Etsy and make more money? said 3 years ago

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  • PegsClayGround

    Peggy Dieu from PegsClayGround said 1 year ago

    Very helpful! Thank you

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