How To Take Epic Jewelry Photos For Your Etsy or Online Shop

Small items and jewelry are probably the most sought after items on Etsy, but they're also one of the most commonly produced. So how in the world are you supposed to make yours stand out? We've found it can be as simple as beautiful, simple photos.

Amazing photos are few and far between on Etsy with the vast majority looking a bit too much like they were captured on an old cell phone - which of course, makes us sad inside. So we're sharing all our secrets about photographing small items, so that your jewelry can shine above the rest on Etsy or any other e-commerce platform!

First, we have some general tips for small item photography.

We love clean and simple photos for highlighting detail. They are easily achievable if you utilize these 3 tips.

1. Make sure you are shooting in even, natural light.

The best light is usually near a window but be sure to avoid rays of sunshine that might shine on your shooting surface. If you are shooting outside (not all houses are made equal when it comes to lighting - sometimes going outside is the best option) wait for an overcast day so that the light will look beautifully filtered and even. If you don't have even light on any photo-worthy surfaces inside your house or outside, you can make a custom background with a poster or foam board, scrapbook paper, or even by laying down pieces of wood next to each other to emulate a table. This is also great because it means your background is mobile and no matter where you shoot your photos will look similar, enhancing the credibility of your brand.

2. Also make sure to shoot from an angle so that your body isn't casting shadows on your items.

If you shoot from a diagonal angle you will be sure to catch your items in the most flattering light. You never want to be in between your light source and the item you're shooting. This goes for EVERYTHING, not just jewelry. Lighting can make or break a photo, so take time to get set up and find the right angle.

3. Try using a macro setting or lens, or at the very least, shoot as close as possible so you can capture all the detail of your items.

Detail is so important, especially with jewelry and your customers will appreciate clear photos that they can zoom in. That also means to use a DSLR (digital single lens reflex) if possible. The digital zoom on a point and shoot camera just won't do the trick. It just enlarges the photo's pixels, making the details blurry. It might work for social media photos, but people want good detail shots before they buy something.

If you don't own a DSLR or your camera doesn't have a macro setting or lens, try renting a lens or camera for a day from a local camera equipment store. Here in MN we recommend renting equipment from National Camera Exchange. Renting equipment can be very affordable, and you can batch shoot your products to cut down on time. 

Flat lays are another popular option for photography, and everyone knows how important they are on Instagram - so here are our best tips for creating the perfect flat lay to showcase your jewelry!

1. Use items with similar or complimentary colors.

Keep the color palette simple so that your items and aesthetic really show through. We love neutrals, but you can also go for pops of color if that's your thing! Just make sure that you don't have too many contrasting colors. 

2. Use items that make sense together.

Seems simple, but it's often overlooked. Make sure all the items make sense together. With jewelry, that usually means things you would find in a closet or purse. Choose things strategically so that you can invoke the lifestyle (and price range) that your items reflect. Etsy in particular has so many sellers, and it's important to distinguish yourself, so focus on creating a lifestyle brand that your target customers will relate to and embody.

3. Keep it under 10 items if possible so the nothing else pulls focus from your main item(s).

Busy flatlays can be very overwhelming to the eye, and while they can be aesthetically pleasing at times, they usually detract from the focus of your shop and will make people less likely to notice your products. They're also much harder to arrange, so save yourself the time and trouble! It also helps to remember that a clean, minimally styled photo tends to indicate a more expensive, high-end product. The fewer frills and distractions, the more the quality of the item can shine through.

4. Use multiple pieces of jewelry to show off the aesthetic of your brand.

Even if you are trying to feature one item, you can use multiple in your photo to give people a better idea of your overall style, and it's a great way to show off previously unsold merchandise. You may as well market a few items at a time, especially when you can use the chance to display how customers can mix and match your items (pair a necklace with rings and a bracelet, for example). One thing a lot of Etsy shops in particular lack is good cross promotion of items. Don't count on the "similar items" feature, but instead add lifestyle images to each item's page that show a few other items in your shop that people are likely to pair.

5. Jewelry items should be in the center or prominently featured.

Make sure your items shine so place them in noticeable spots where they won't be overshadowed (figuratively and literally..) by the other items. Also to make sure the other items don't have labels people will spend time reading. Anything too large or interesting can pull focus from your products, and might make people think you are selling something different.

6. If you find it hard to arrange your items (and we all have those moments...) try using an imaginary grid.

Larger items go on the outside of the grid framing the box and small items fill in the center or empty spots in the corners. Using the grid method is an easy way to make sure you have a balanced photo that fits perfectly in your IG square! Working from the outside in also ensures that you don't build too big of a flat lay to capture (no ladder in the world will help you if your photo is in a 6 foot by 6 foot square. You can also use a poster board or paper with gridlines, or even a ruler to set up your shot if you don't trust your eyes. That will save time in editing because you won't end up having to tweak or crop your image too much.

7. Change it up - flat lays aren't always the best way to show your items so experiment with a shallow depth of field format as well.

Shooting a close up of the item you want to showcase with other items in the background can be a great way to highlight your products. Keep the lifestyle items in the background but out of focus so you can show off your aesthetic without adding distractions. Taking photos with a shallow depth of field also adds a professional touch that many Etsy shops and online sellers are missing. It will look like you spent big $$$ on those photos!

You're now well on your way to some gorgeous jewelry photos! And if, like us, you need a visual or two, you can find all this information in our video at the top of the post!

Happy selling!

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