Paint A Picture

Shoppers can't use their five senses online, so make sure your product photos say it all.
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This story appears in the May 2008 issue of Startups. Subscribe »

Craft sites are like the Hollywood of the online world: Image is everything, and a bad photo can mean the end of your career.

"Because your [customers are] shopping on the web, having good pictures and a good description is key to building up a good feedback reputation," says Robert Kalin, co-founder of Etsy.com. "Offline, customers are able to go into a store and hold the product up, stretch it out, try it on. You need to have things that mimic those elements in the online world."

HomeGrownMarket.com provides links to a few product-photography help sites, such as tabletopstudio.com, which offers advice ranging from how to avoid dark images to determining if your photographs are up to snuff. In general, several clean, up-close, detailed shots are best.

It's also worthwhile to invest in basic photo-editing software, such as Adobe Photoshop Elements, which is often included with the purchase of a digital camera. Skilled photographers and techy crafters might look into 3D Photo Builder software, which turns photos into an interactive viewer so visitors can look at a product from several angles.

If all else fails, says William T. Lasley, a guide for arts and crafts business for About.com, hire somebody to take great photos of your products.

Edition: December 2016

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