I thought about the kinds of cars they may drive, where they shopped, what kind of style they may have and much more. Then I brought in staging props or pieces to play to that-upscale 'modern cabin in the woods' feel. I used modern retro furniture, a laptop casually left running with hip family photos cycling through on the kitchen breakfast table, vintage ceramic mixing bowls, a huge blue Kitchenaid mixer, bright white linens, etc. I made it feel like a Williams Sonoma catalog shoot. It sold within 1 week for over the asking price. The real buyers did not exactly match the profile I had in my mind, but they told me that they actually wanted that type of lifestyle, they aspired to what they saw inside the house, and that is why they bought the house.
Ok. Now on to Etsy. The same applies to selling vintage. Who is going to buy your item? How can you attract them to your item, when there are dozens more like it on the web?
Have a look at these vintage scales. Do you see the appeal to someone that likes country decor for example? We could also see more here. You could see the sculptural angle. You could see a professional restauranteur who wants to express the confidence of experience and ability it conveys from decades of use.
You may decide to market that same item to the fresh young homeowner who likes vintage. A good bet, but it does cut down on the potential customers a bit: anyone who doesn't like vintage green, (even though the scale has little, it's really emphasized here by the surrounding items), anyone not into country/farmhouse decorating, etc.
This photograph uses a rustic table, but this is upscale rustic. (Like the Sundance Catalog that Robert Redford publishes) The scale is centered and balanced with 3 vibrant oranges. This appeals to your New York/Chicago/San Francisco urban loft dweller, anyone who enjoys looking at Pottery Barn catalogs, and both genders.
The one that fits the bill of appealing to the widest audience is the simplest. While I love props and use them myself, I find that clear, bright white photos convey the feeling of cleanliness, flexibility, and allow the viewer to place the item freely within their imagination. Your male shopping for his modern apartment is going to love the clear, sculptural lines of this. I love it-I'd love my kitchen to feel this clean all the time!
Walk in your customers shoes. Look at your item with fresh eyes. Can this item be sculpture? Can it stand on its own? Who would want this? Who hasn't seen it before and would be thrilled with it? Market to them. Photograph for them. That loft dweller in Chicago: where do they work? Where do they eat? What are their hobbies? Step into their lives and photograph for them.