After you’ve gotten an idea of what your story is, you will need to photograph your products before setting up shop. Well photographed products are incredibly important – not only does it make clear what your product looks like but also conveys a sense of professionalism.

Use a Neutral Background

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Keep your product photography simple so that your product stands out. Evaluate your background first. Does your background contain too many elements (pattern, color) that compete with your product? Everything in your photograph should be there for a reason.

Use a background that will keep focus on your product – that means make sure your kitchen, or the trees, or whatever else don’t distract buyers from what you’re selling. The easiest way to accomplish this is to use a foam board. For my products, I have both a 20″ x 30″ foam board (for when I photograph my mugs) as well as a 40″ x 60″ foam board (for larger product shots that involve me modeling in them). I also use a vinyl background that looks like marble for some of my photographs.

Whatever you use, remember to keep in simple.

Use Natural Light / Window Light

Eat-GoalsThe easiest way to achieve the best lighting for your products is to use natural lighting / window lighting. Avoid direct sunlight and be mindful of the way the sun falls onto your photograph.

Edit Your Photographs with Photoshop (or other Photo Editing Program)

You want to try to get everything right in-camera and do as little editing as possible. The two most common things to fix are:

(1) making sure your photographs are bright enough and

(2) making sure your color temperature is correct (when photographing in the shade, photographs will tend to be more blue).

Use Adobe Photoshop or PicMonkey to make minor corrections – it will make a world of difference.

Photograph your Products in Context

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One of the best ways to make your product more appealing is to show your product in context. If you sell mug cozies, one of your photographs should be your cozy on a mug. If you sell home decor, one of your photographs should show us how your product would look in a setting in our home. Be creative and experiment.


You want to take the leap to start an Etsy shop. It is a decision that takes courage and has the potential to change your life. Getting just to this point is not easy. Before you start your shop however, make sure you have the one ingredient that will serve as the foundation for your shop: your story.

“Handmade with Love” is No Longer Enough

Being “handmade with love” is no longer enough to distinguish you and your product from the myriad of shops on Etsy selling the same thing.

Even though you have poured your heart and sweat into your product, unfortunately, so has the competition. “Handmade with love” should not and cannot be your only selling point. Listing your items on Etsy expecting them to sell because they are handmade will lead to disappointment.

So what can you do?

It’s your story that will distinguish you. Before you open your shop, ask yourself:

  • Why are you here?
  • What makes you passionate and motivated?
  • How did your product come to be?
  • What emotion does your shop promise? What feeling are you trying to convey?

For me, opening my first shop gave me a sense of accomplishment that I had not felt in a long time and I wanted to encourage others who were doing the same. I wanted to say that, “Yes! It’s possible to feel good about yourself from something you’ve created!” I wanted to empower and help motivate makers with every day reminders.

Your story isn’t just about you. It’s about your customers and how you make them feel. Use your story to inspire and to lay the foundation for your shop: everything from the photography to the branding. Weaving your story into every element of your shop will allow your customers to feel a connection towards you.

In essence, before you start putting your shop together, make sure you are clear about who you are and what you are conveying.