The importance of good product listing photos

You’ve heard it before. Product listing photos are SO important to the success of your handmade business. In fact, they are the #1 factor in a buyer’s decision to purchase or not.

Good pictures can convey professionalism, talent, and show customers exactly what they want to know about your product.

Bad pictures can make you seem sloppy or unprofessional and that usually translates to customers thinking your product is also not high quality.

As an Etsy U Certified Instructor, I recently did a YouTube live (you can watch it here) all about product photography for your Etsy shop. Viewers were able to see the tips straight from the source as Etsy provided the material!

But here’s where I’m going to piss some sellers off…..If you’re removing the background of your home decor products using Canva or some other tool (in order to have the white background) –

STOP it right now.

In most cases, it doesn’t represent your product in the best way. In fact, the white background can make your products look dark in contrast. Amazon Handmade may have a requirement for the white background but there is no such rule on Etsy. Honestly it just looks weird and doesn’t improve the buying experience. Now if you’re selling supplies that’s another story.

What types of photos look best?

I recently did a poll on both my TikTok and Instagram accounts (are you following me there yet??) asking followers whether they preferred photos of my wreaths WITH a background (door) or WITHOUT (background removed). And 99% of people said they preferred the background. Not only that, Etsy agrees in this statement straight from one of my Etsy U lessons:

“Different types of products may require different photography treatments. Always keep your customers in mind when making important decisions about the images that represent your products and brand. For example, a lifestyle shot is likely more important for a shop that sells home décor than a craft supply shop.”

An example of a “lifestyle shot” for wreaths would be the wreath on an exterior door. Think of it as the product in it’s “natural habitat” – where you intend for it to be used. This helps customers to judge the size, see how it fits on a door, and imagine it in their own space. If you have removed the background your item then looks like it’s floating in space and there is no size reference at all.

Facebook Scams

Another, more recent, problem is the influx of scams on Facebook. Overseas companies have stolen many product photos from handmade sellers to use in their own marketing campaigns. And in the majority of cases they remove the background and superimpose the photo onto another image. Customers are starting to become more aware of this tactic and when you do it in your shop you can look scammy as well. Definitely not the look you want to go for. In addition, sometimes the background remover tool doesn’t do a very good job of removing all the background and it can make the photo look kind of strange.

For reference, here are the two images I presented for my followers (p.s. this wreath is available in my Etsy shop HERE):

patriotic wreath on front door patriotic flag wreath

When is it ok to use the background remover?

The only reason I can see for ever removing a background on a photo of a home decor item is if you have something very messy and distracting in the background. HOWEVER, there are so many more options that are better than a background removed! You can use a fence or a photo backdrop or a sheet or so many other things! I created a FREE DOWNLOAD with tons of alternative ideas you can grab HERE if you haven’t already. If you’re concerned because you are a wreath maker and you only have a black or a red door – USE IT ANYWAY. I have many students that use a red door and it looks great! The most important things are lighting, consistency, and cleanliness when using a background. I know Etsy may suggest a white or light background but it honestly doesn’t matter as much as you think as long as you’re paying attention to the things I just mentioned. Here are two shops that I love that use a red door: KandJCreations and ADayinYourLifeDesign.

Remember – “lifestyle” photos work best on Etsy’s platform! I’ve sold over 6,000 wreaths on Etsy as of 2022 and never removed the background on any of them.

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