When I started my first online shop for my handmade products several years ago, there was no Etsy and words like artisan, handmade, hand-crafted and maker were terms that only my fellow creatives and I seemed to use. Now there are so many options for makers to sell their goods in person in craft fairs and create online shops or sell their products on other websites (like aftcra or Handmade at Amazon) that curate handmade goods.
There’s talk in the handmade community about whether these new resources are a good thing or not. I know that there’s a lot of controversy around this subject (especially when it comes to the launch of Handmade at Amazon) but I’ve always felt that the more ways we can raise consumer awareness of the importance of buying locally designed or handmade goods, the better off our community is. However with all these new options comes new competition. We have to be better, smarter creative entrepreneurs than we were a few years ago when there was way less of us trying to make a living selling the things we make.
How do you get noticed in a sea of other makers with all these new options? Having an awesome product is the first step. Then comes great branding, killer marketing and on-point business practices. Stellar product photos are a big part of it too. Your photos are how your potential customers form a decision about whether or not to learn more about your product or business and eventually purchase what you make. Last week we shared four tips for taking awesome online shop and blog photos and this week here are three must-have photos to increase sales in your online shop. These types of photos not only draw your customers in and help them engage with your brand but also cut down on your time answering questions about your product since you’re clearly representing it with your images. Rachel’s Photo Styling online workshop has tons of great information on how to make each of these types of shots the best that they can be as well.
1. Detail Shots
This is perhaps the most overlooked type of essential photograph that you need to have to communicate to your audience what your product or project actually looks like up close. Of course you need a shot that shows the whole subject (which we’ll talk about below) but often there are details in the subject that the viewer won’t be able to see in an image that shows the whole subject. For example, perhaps you knit scarves and the yarn that you use has tiny flecks of gold in it. The viewer won’t be able to see those gold flecks unless you have a clear up-close shot of the stitches in the yarn.
2. Lifestyle Shots
Lifestyle shots are photos of your subject being used or in a setting with props. Lifestyle shots not only help the viewer see how the subject would be used but also how it would fit into his/her life. Likely you’ve heard the term ‘storytelling’ in relation to your business or brand. It’s important for independent business owners to tell the story behind their business to help potential customers engage and relate. Lifestyle photos are your chance to tell the story behind your project, product or business and capture your audience. In lifestyle photos it’s SUPER important to make sure the viewer knows which thing in the photo is the subject. For more on using props, choosing backgrounds and achieving great composition see our post on the four tips for taking awesome online shop and blog photos.
3. Shots of the entire subject from different angles
Detail and lifestyle shots are great for helping your viewer get to know your subject BUT if your potential customer isn’t able to see what the whole thing is, they’ll be left wondering what your subject ACTUALLY looks like. Take a shot of your subject on a clear uncomplicated background from several angles. Depending on what your subject is this could include the front, back and side. Consider different angles like taking a shot from above or taking one head on.
Want to take your online shop, website or blog photos to the next level? Click HERE to get a reminder when we release our Photo Styling 101 online workshop from Rachel Smith of The Crafted Life on December 1st.
*If you’re weighing your options as a maker and want to learn more about the legal side of selling on curated online websites for handmakers check out this article from Kiffanie Stahle.