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Selling Your Art on Etsy

Jake from ProductViz shares 4 Steps to Better Product Photography on Etsy.

Why are some artists successful on Etsy while others struggle to get views and favorites? What strategies are artists using to create interest, sales, and client relationships?

Etsy has been a huge help for many independent artists. As we all know, the simple interface, a huge amount of traffic, and tools have all made selling our art online simpler.

Within the Etsy community, there are large differences. Some sell tons of art, check out this list of successful Etsy artists, while some languish, only grabbing the occasional sale, if any at all. 

Though Etsy has been a boon for artists, it’s important that you understand how to make the most out of your Etsy store.

Before any strategy, remember that selling on Etsy takes a lot of dedication. There are tons of great resources that talk about selling art in general. (Here is a post from the Etsy Blog all about selling fine art.)

Below, we’ll discuss one aspect of becoming a successful artist on Etsy. I will lay out four easy steps that make your listings look great, attract customers, and produce sales. 

1. Become Great at Photography

If you’re not already a photographer, this might seem like a bit too much. Your priority is being the best you can in your artistic genre, and now I'm saying you need to master another?

Not exactly, but here’s the truth: your ability to sell your art online will depend on how well you’re able to capture it with a photo.

It’s as simple as that.

Yes, this sounds like a lot of work, but once you get to a certain level of proficiency, you won’t have to study photography anymore or worry about bad images hurting your sales. 

2. Get in Close for Details and Keep it Consistent

Check out TheBlackApple, one of Etsy's highest selling illustrators. In each listing, the artist provides not only a full size image, but also a detail, close up of the illustration. 

Give customers two (or more) ways to view your artwork, providing them with more detail about how your piece actually looks. Customers often want to see the details of a piece in addition to the overall appearance. This technique shows off the quality of the paper your prints use or the brush strokes, if you are selling painted pieces. 

Next, let's look at Matteart, another one of Etsy's top sellers. Each and every listing shows illustrations in the exact same way.

One beginner's mistake is to display each listing from a different angle. This confuses the customer. The best tactic is to organize each listing's first image in the same way and provide different perspectives and details in the secondary photos.

3. Show Your Art Alongside Your Happy Customers

Whenever someone purchases your work -- if at all possible -- get a picture with them next to your art. Update the listing image set with the picture of the art with the happy customer. 

Doing this establishes “social proof.” In other words, it shows people that other people clearly like your work – enough to pay for it, even – so they should consider doing the same.

4. Show Your Art in an Attractive Context

Bring your art to life by displaying it in context. Think of ways that you can show your work in a vignette or interior. Showing your art in context helps your customers see how your art would enhance their space.

Remember that people will judge you based on the context your art is placed in. Right or wrong, that’s the reality of the situation. 

For example, if the same piece of art is displayed in the Louvre and a drugstore, which one do you think will sell for more? Always remember that context matters.

Take it Step by Step

If you are reading through this article and wondering how you are ever going to update your listings, don't stress. The first and most important thing you can do is arrange all your listings in a consistent way. This is 75% of the work.

After that, posting customer photos, photos in context, and other more advanced techniques are worth looking into. 

As always, when working on your business, any progress is better than none. Good luck!

About the Author

Jake Smith is a illustrator and design lover from Chicago.

After ten years in the fine arts industry as a designer and retoucher, he ventured out on his own, creating an illustration studio called ProductViz.

ProductViz helps artists show the world how beautiful their work is.

Email Jake at jake@productviz.com 

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