There is nothing more important regarding your shop than photography. Forget worrying about the economy: If your photos are good, they will be featured endlessly in treasuries, showcased in blogs, your shop will be favorited often, you'll be added to circles daily and best yet, your items will sell.
I know, because my old photos weren't great. Things sold when I began my shop last year, but slowly. I adjusted my prices, made treasuries, joined teams, offered killer items, and still just did okay. Then I ran across tippleandsnacks shop and was blown away. I saw her items featured on the home page often. I saw her items selling. I adored her shop because of the clean contemporary appearance-it felt like a Pottery Barn catalog.
It took me a while to get off my tail. But I finally ordered Ott lights, set up a photography space and began rephotographing my items. Keep in mind, my photos weren't terrible on their own. But when they were paired next to bitofbutter or mascarajones items it was really noticeable. To be honest, I didn't really realize how poor my photos were until I saw them in treasuries.
It's an ongoing process and I'm still not done. Every time an item expires I rephotograph it. All new items are of course photographed with the new system.
Let's look at the difference between the two photos above. The first photo shows detail, has a white surround and is clear. But the lighting is off. I see lighting as the problem in many listings on Etsy. While buyers can still view the item, it won't sell them on it like clear spectrum lighting would. (Tip: Buy Ott lights today) The first photo certainly doesn't say: Magazine photo shoot!
The other thing that's vital is cropping. My photos were all big on detail-I was so close you couldn't help but see it!! Most of the shops in the vintage categories really suffer from too closeitis. Crop your photo for the thumbnail and leave whitespace around it. The thumbnail is critical because it the #1 view most buyers see. Much of the time I can't even tell what the item is without reading the title-which is NOT good. Customers should never have to work to see your item. If they can't see what the item is in a glance, you risk losing them.
Well cropped, ready for it's thumbnail closeup
Poorly cropped, too close. Horrid thumbnail
That first photo is your biggest pull. If it's a good photo buyers may click through to view it. If it's not, many will pass it up. That photo should provide all the necessary info: true color and what it is.
Look at the photos that get featured on the front page-for the most part they have white space around them. If you're not sure how big they'll be, switch your shop from gallery view to list view. This is how many people see your shop-especially if they're viewing it on a phone.
Cropping & lighting are the single two biggest factors that influence the success of your shop. These factors are even more important that what you sell. I have seen the most average everyday run of the mill items sell fast when photographed well, and likewise have watched under priced gorgeous items languish for months due to poor photography. Don't put it off. You'll be so glad you did after you have a booming holiday season.