Jan 12, 2011

The Littlest Details Make the Biggest Impression

You've got the lighting right. You finally got the mannequins head at the proper angle. The fabric drapes just perfectly. You capture what you think is the perfect shot. Later, when uploading it to Etsy.com, you realize you cut the head clean off.  The thumbnail photo is how you attract your buyer. If they don't click, you don't sell. This first impression is vital to your success.

Thumbnail version
Vintage  navy blue dress by jojosretroandvintage

The photo above by Jojosretroandvintage is fabulous. First, she's using a live model, which is always attractive to buyers. Second, the model has a cute pose that brings style and attitude to the outfit. Third, she's using a plain white background, making the dark hair, red lips and blue dress just pop. Fourth, she got the face of the model in the thumbnail.

Thumbnail version

Red Industrial Box by dahlilafound
The above photograph by dahlilafound has everything just right. Notice how the red box is centered with equal white space around three sides? The thumbnail is clear, easy to define and stands out. There is no clutter to distract the eye, which goes with the industrial theme of the item. The old wooden stool contrasts with the smooth metal nicely. The thumbnail is sharp and easy to see.

Thumbnail version

Antique French Opera Glasses by hautecountryvintage

This photograph of opera glasses by hautecountryvintage is very different than the previous examples, but captures the proper elements perfectly. The tan colored box in the back brings out the coloring in the mother of pearl detailing around the eyepieces and the white book contrasts enough to emphasize the tan.  The book also brings a sense of history to the photo.  The thumbnail is visually interesting and draws the eye in. Overall an excellent way to photograph an antique. 

I'm still working on my photographs. I took hundreds of photos when I was madly getting ready to list. Now I realize that they're horrid thumbnails. My goal for January is to retake all the needed photos and clean up the shop visually. Not a fun task, but one that will set my items apart. Join me!


France Geek said...

Thanks for this. Is there something to keep in mind when cropping or taking pics, that will make well proportioned thumbnails? ie how do we keep the vital info in the thumbnail.

Nachokitty said...

I just experimented with spacing. If I get too close to an item, it gets cut off. Now I push things back a bit more. Play around with a couple of photos. It's pretty easy to figure out once you start.

Deer Path Vintage said...

Nice pictures. I'm not the greatest photog, but I try to use a square picture for my first so it fits in the thumbnail. You can get close if you keep it square. See this one:


Susan from The T-Cozy said...

A very thorough and informative post! When possible, I try to crop most of my photos as squares. That way, they work well as thumbnails, too.

SAL said...

I try to shoot my photos so they don't have to be cropped at all. I find that cropping is what throws off the thumbnail version the most.

These are examples of great etsy photos. Thanks for pointing out all the things these sellers do right!

Callooh Callay said...

I wish there was an easy way (and maybe there is) to see your photo as a thumbnail at the time you're cropping it. I always leave extra room at top and bottom and put a piece of paper up to try to show the crop, and yet I still miscalculate at times and have to go back and redo it. Such a pain!

Great post, Heidi!

Sarsaparilla said...

I'm new to Etsy (Sarsaparilla's Boudoir) and was so disappointed to discover that most of my photos made for horrible thumbnails. This excellent post and the comments are so helpful - but I'm sure it's still going to take a lot of experimenting.

Yellow Rose of Texas said...

One of the things I have been doing lately when I crop....is extreme close ups ... and not of all items, but to add additional interest to some and give variety to my thumbnails.

I find a really fascintating part of an object.... as an example.... a hand stitched intricate piece of embroidery....and I crop just that part... and use it as my lead in photo.

I've noticed I seem to get more views when people are curious about what the entire item looks like. And I also tend to look at things others have for sale if the photo leads me in to ask myself, "What the heck is that?"

The embroidered hankie... http://www.etsy.com/listing/64884450/vintage-fruit-of-the-loom-fine

Here is an example of a "super cropped" radio...

I use Picasa for editing.

I still cringe when I look at some of the early photos I posted. The talent and photography skills of people on Etsy just amazes and I am always striving to do a better job.

Jojo's Retro and Vintage said...

Thanks so much for using my photo Heidi! I shoot alot of pics and try to choose 4 poses, one being a waist up that will serve as the thumbnail. Hopefully the eyes makes it in the thumbnail! lol I look for a visual line that makes the thumbnail interesting. I never thought of cropping into a square- I'll have to try that! Thanks for the great post!

Nachokitty said...

I have used every photo editing out there. For ease of use and whiz bang must have features, Picasa, the free program by Google rocks. I just LOVE it.

Dahlila said...

Wow, thank you for adding my industrial filing box to a photo review. You would not believe how I stress over photos. I am always battling to get that crisp, clear photo that just pops.

I don't have great indoor lighting, so I have to shoot outdoors. I started using Picnick to get the correct pixel count which made a HUGE difference. I hear Picasso is great, but a bit more complicated.

Any suggestions for dealing w/winter light--that hazy gray, & also shooting items w/low color, like clear glass or flat pastels. Does anyone use additional lighting?

I'm all ears! :-)

thank you again, dahlila xo

jenscloset said...

Great post-I really need help with mine-thanks!