Selling on Etsy – The Importance of Image Quality

Selling on Etsy – The Importance of Image Quality

After keywords, your product images on your Etsy store are the biggest facts in the success of your shop.  Ranking on Etsy or getting views based on your titles and tags is like a dark art on its own.  It is also subject of many articles and Youtube videos like this one from Etsy coach Nancy Badillo, or Etsy and Erank guru Starla Moore


I have also discussed the importance of Search engine optimisation SEO in a previous blog] and the value of images in marketing your blog or online store.  SEO for Etsy stores is about using relevant keywords that the average person would use to find your products.


This blog post focuses on how to improve your Etsy shop through improving the quality of your product images in your listings.




  • What makes a quality listing?
  • 10 Images – Analysis of a Listing
  • What is a lifestyle Image?
  • Canva Templates
  • Summary

Be sure to grab my Ultimate Etsy Image Guide to keep as a hand guide

How to Create a Mood Board in Canva


What Makes a Quality Listing?


In my opinion, the number one rule with images when selling on Etsy, or any online store, is to ensure that your images clearly show what you are selling.  On your Etsy store, the first thumbnail or feature image is key, as that is what determines whether a visitor will click through to view the rest of your images.  The thumbnail should be a close up or zoomed in view of the item you are selling without distracting backgrounds.

Far too often I see photos of people’s handmade hard work not being shown to look their best.  You have worked so hard to make and design, don’t let yourself down by your images.


Let’s take one  example – earrings or other jewellery photographed lying on the lawn, draped over coloured rocks, or hanging on bushes.  Most of the time the size of the jewellery in these types of photos is very small, or out of scale with the props used.  I recommend not including props in the thumbnail or main listing image – this way it is not only clear WHAT you are selling, it is also clear to the buyer that the props are NOT included.  Whilst this may seem obvious, a quick read of seller posts on some Etsy Facebook Groups will quickly show you that buyers can make all sorts of assumptions or claims when making a purchase based on what they see.


If the background on your Etsy listings is too distracting – heavily textured and dark timber are some I see often – it means the buyer has to really squint to see the detail of what you are selling.  As many people shop and browse on their mobile phones, image clarity is even more important.  You want the potential buyer to like what they see enough to click through to your other images and to make a purchase.  So make your hardwork the focus.  Show a close up of your product.


As much as overly dark or distracting backgrounds take away from the quality of your product, so too do stark white backgrounds.  It’s not a great idea to remove the background of your product and then show it ‘floating’ on a stark white background – this can be “jarring” on the eyes.  You want some muted toning or softening of bright white. 


One thing to note is that the colour and style of a background that suits one shop, may not work so well for another shop.  So often lately on social media I am seeing posts and comments from overwhelmed and confused Etsy sellers saying “I read that we should only use white background”, or “I read that we should not use white backgrounds”, “I heard that we should now use wooden backgrounds) … and the myths go on.


There is no 100% right or wrong answer.  Find what works for your items taking into account:

  • Using a close up of your product
  • Keep props off the first thumbnail if possible
  • Use light coloured and lightly textured backgrounds generally
  • Use darker backgrounds where it suits – but not if they obscure the detail of your item
  • Avoid stark white photos with your image just floating in white space


    5 reasons you need a mood board for your business

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    10 Images – Analysis of an Etsy Listing 


    Etsy gives us 10 image slots for a reason.  I encourage you to use as many as you need to show what you are selling.  Think of it like a shop window – people have the opportunity online to view items without touching them, so they want know:


    • What it is?
    • How to use it?
    • What colour/s it is?
    • What material it is made of?
    • What size is it?
    • What will it look like?
    • How is it packaged?


    ALL without the benefit of physically touching or trying on the item.  YES we have written descriptions which can tell Etsy shoppers all about the details and beauty of our products and digital downloads, but I find that most people will not go to the written details, if the images are not good enough to convince them that they need your item or that what you are selling will solve their problem.


    I used to think that we should always use all 10 image spots, and I actually do this for my Canva template shop.  However, don’t do it if it means showing the same or similar images of an item over and over for the sake of filling up all 10 photo spaces.  In these cases, I suggest that less is more.  I wouldn’t do any less than 5 or 6.  If you think about it, by the time you show some different angles of the item, some lifestyle shots, explain a few details, showcase some other items in your shop, I think it would be hard for you to be including less than 5 images.  Remember a few words next to your photo will answer a lot of questions a buyer might have, before they get to the detailed description.



     if a listing comes in other colours, show the variety available. Even if the items are listed separately, it will encourage a shopper to browse your store and understand that there are options available.

    Scale  –

    humans are funny beasts and not all of us can easily visualise the scale of an object.  In addition, with Etsy being an international platform, you have different measurement systems to deal with leaving some scratching their heads as to what 5 inches equates to and others wondering if the 80 centimetre long artwork will fit in the space they have in mind in their home.  I’m a fan of showing the scale of objects in a relevant way.  Don’t just throw in a coin or a ruler and hope for the best.  Try to use a prop or a guide that is related to the item being sold.  For example, in one of my templates for a crocheted baby toy, I show the toy next to a baby’s bottle, to give some idea of how big the toy is.  In another project I have shown a timber sign hanging on a wall above a dining table to show as a guide – how big the sign is.


    Include a video when you can in your listing – show how you create your item or show your product in different settings.  This all adds to the visual marketing appeal of your goods and your shop as a whole.


     Ugghhhh !!  I’m hearing the groans even as I type this, that some sellers will think this is too much work – and that my friends, is where the magic of templates come in.  Read the section below on Canva templates and find out how you can save so much time AND have high quality listings.



    What is a Lifestyle Image?

    A lifestyle image or mockup is showing people how your item is used in everyday life.  As people, we are emotional beings.  We like to visualise how clothing is worn, what you can fit inside a handbag, how a blue scrunchie will look in different coloured hair, how the geometric artwork would look in a lounge room, office or nursery.


    These are all lifestyle images to help sell your product.  They are examples of how a buyer can use your item which will help convince them that it is right for them and that they need to add it to their cart.


    Does this mean that you need to photograph every item in your store in different locations, on six different models or get a professional photographer to flatlay your products?  No.  Clear photos of what you are selling, plus a few Canva templates,  and you will be able to list your items more quickly and make them look professional and saleable.  Read on below for more information. 


    Make your lifestyle images relevant though.  As I mentioned earlier, don’t photograph your earrings or your wine glasses in your backyard on the green lawn or rocks as they are not relevant to the item you are selling.  In this setting, these props distract from what you are selling, confuse the buyer and often stops a buyer from getting a detailed view of your item.  Not only that, it’s time and effort that you don’t need to be spending.



    5 reasons you need a mood board for your business

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    Canva Templates

    I still remember the joy of the day I discovered Canva.  You can use the free version (, although personally I have Canva Pro because I use it multiple times a day for my business.  The benefit of using a programme such as Canva, is that you can take reasonable quality photos yourself, even on your phone, upload them and create great listing images by adding backgrounds, text and other elements.  This reduces the need for expensive equipment, a lot of time you probably don’t have, and also eliminates the need for a variety of props.


    If you are not sure where to start, I have some Etsy shop listing templates in my store.  Some are niche specific – such as for soap shops, candle shops and crochet shops, however these can really be used for any type of Etsy shop.   I also have a general mockup template which can be used for any type of shop whether it is a product or digital shop.


    The idea of using templates is that they are super easy to edit, save you a whole lot of time and up the WOW factor for your shop.  With my templates, simply:

     1. delete the placeholder images and insert your own

    2. Edit the text

    3. Change the background colour if you wish


    The best part is you can use this same template for ALL your Etsy listings, saving you a ton of time, as well as making your shop look professional and consistent.


    Create a colour palette from your moodboard




    Remember – people act on visuals.  If they like what they see in your images they are more likely to stay on your Shop and look around and to purchase.  You only have 1 to 2 seconds to capture attention.  Your product images need to be clear and they need to answer any questions your buyer has when they are browsing.  Most potential buyers are not going to read the details in your listing descriptions if they have not been won over by your images.


    Have a look at some successful shops in your niche.  See how they present their photos and listings.  But when you do this, keep it in the context that a lot of older shops, that have built up a great following and high sales, may have done so with less images, darker backgrounds, lower quality photos.  In a world where online shopping has grown astronomically, and there are now well over 4 million Etsy shops, competition is fierce, and best practice is important.  Etsy is a small business platform, so to succeed, you need to engage in proven small business marketing techniques to attract your buyers.  It doesn’t have to be overwhelming, yes it can be a lot of work, but your images are the deciding factor as to whether your views convert to sales or not.

    Let me know what you think and I would love for you to share some before and after photos if you decide to update some of your listing images.


    If you do purchase one of my Etsy listing templates – be sure to share it here or over on my Instagram as I would love to see how you put your personal touch on them.


    K Digital Design
    How to Make A Mood Board Using Canva

    How to Make A Mood Board Using Canva

    Mood boards can be used for so many different purposes from styling a room or styling an outfit.  In relation to small business, creating a mood board is a great place to start to develop your brand story.  I believe we should take cues from the visual images that inspire us to create our branding components.  If your business is built around what you love and what inspires you, you will feel a stronger connection to what you project towards your potential customers or clients.


    In this blog I will show you a step by step on how to create your own Mood Board using Canva.  But first, if you are not already getting all the blog information, new releases and special offers, then take a moment to jump on board and join my email list.

    How to Create a Mood Board in Canva


    What is A Mood Board?


    If you examine the Oxford Dictionary definition, a mood board is:


    “An arrangement of images, materials, pieces of text etc intended to provoke or inject a particular style or concept


    Your mood board can be printed out and pinned up in your home study or office.  Alternatively you can keep it digital and use it as a reference.  Spend the time on creating your board as it sets the framework for building your brand components that tell your brand story:

    • brand colours
    • brand “voice”
    • logo
    • patterns
    • textures
    • personality


    5 reasons you need a mood board for your business

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    5 Reasons You Should Create a Mood Board For Your Business


    Remember in the definition we learnt about invoking moods and vibes – that is precisely what we want to do when creating a mood board as the context of our new small business.  We want to convey, through pictures and words, what our business is all about.  What is the mood?  What is the personality?  Is our brand about casual elegance or sophisticated and sleek style?

    1 brainstorm your business identity

    2 select brand colours and imagery

    3 show others what your brand is about

    4 engage your Target Audience

    5 reach your goals.


     1. Brainstorm your Business Identity

     The first step is for you as the business owner to have clarity on what your business identity is, and what you want to convey about your business to the outside world.  This is relevant to businesses of any size.  You don’t have to be a large corporation to focus on brand awareness.  If you don’t understand your own branding, how do you expect your customers or clients to do the same?


    2. Select your brand colours and imagery


     This is the fun part.  In the next part of this blog I show you how you go about this creative but important step.  This is a key part of your brand message.  I have talked in other blogs about the importance and the power of the visual image.  This blog discusses choosing images for your website:


    3. Show Others What Your Brand is About 


    Through your brand collateral – your logo, business documents, website, social media posts and comments, your brand identity is on display for potential clients or customers. It gives a glimpse of the personality and context of the brand and the people behind the brand.


    4. Helps engage your target audience

     Done right, your marketing content which is built on your original mood board, is attracting your target audience.  Your words and images should reach those who align with your brand and want to be associated with it – either as customers, clients, consumers collaborators or influencers.


    5. Reach your goals.

    This might seem a stretch, but hear me out. 

    You have taken the time to analyse your what and why of your business.  You have then symbolised it through a creating a mood board.  Next you gave life to your brand personality by developing your business brand collateral – your logo, brand colours, brand imagery, brand messaging.

    You engaged with your target audience because you were on message – your brand conveyed the authentic “you” in your business and your customers could see that you were on brand and had a clear business brand and clear business goals. 


    Because you created a mood board which describes the who, what and why of your business in words and pictures.  It is THAT simple.  And it is also THAT important.  You achieved your goals and you will continue to kick goals.


    Now that you are convinced as to why you need a mood board, besides being a creative outlet and the opportunity for some home office artwork, it is time to create a mood board for your business, blog or even your Etsy shop.


    Here is a simple Canva mood board template that I have created that you can grab for free by signing up to the link below.  There is no right or wrong way to create your board – make it as simple or creative as you like.


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    Mood Board template in canva.  Sign up to K Digital Design to get free template

    Step 1: Create a New Design

    Save the template I have made as your own Canva document.  It doesn’t matter what size your moodboard is, what matters is that you make one.   The one I have designed has the dimensions of 1920x1080px.     


    Step 2: Personality Words

    Brainstorm some words that you would like to use to convey your business brand to the community.  It could be casual or formal, fun or corporate. Luxury, natural, urban, classy, sophistocated etc.   If you get stuck you can always do a web search for brand personality keywords, but try not to overthink it.  You really want a few words that readily come to your mind that you want to inject into your business branding.


    Write these words in the space provided on my template Mood Board that you have downloaded.


    Step 3: Images

    Search images on Canva or Pinterest to find ideas of things that you love.  Just remember when using Pinterest that you are collecting these images for your own use, so it is okay to use them on your moodboard for personal use.  If you are looking for brand images to use in your business, then photos you have access to on Canva are fine for you to use.  Alternatively, Unsplash is a great source of free stock images.


    By way of example, let’s pretend that the keywords you choose are:

    • Fun
    • Natural
    • Calm
    • Discerning

    Type these words individually or as phrases into Canva or Pinterest and find images that you like based on these keywords.  Place the images onto your moodboard.  You can use as many as you want.  Try not to have so many as you still want to be able to read a cohesive mood or vibe from your selection.  They don’t have to be images related to your business but they can be.


    Below is the example of my ‘Coolum Homewares’ mood board.   It shows some homewares in natural materials and discerning items, but it also shows calm and fun through the beach scene.  Have fun playing around with options and settle on 4 to 8 images to reflect your vision or brand mood.

    Create a colour palette from your moodboard

    Step 4: Colour Palette

    Next we can use our images to select a colour palette.  From my photos, I can readily identify natural “raffia” fibre colour, white and blue tones.   To find the right tones that blend with the images, you can select one of the blank colour palette rectangles in the template.  This brings up the Canva colour options and when you look at those you will see that photo colour options are shown for the photos in the mood board.   These colours are shown as they are complementary to your image colours, or close matches.


    there is another cool way within Canva itself to generate colour palettes for your brand.  For some reason, not many people seem to know about this feature.  Head on over to  Next upload single images or your image collage and the Canva generator will pop up with a colour selection.  You can get lost for hours researching the combinations available.


    If you want to colour match an exact colour in your photo go to Image Color Picker (  Upload your photo and it will select colour matches as well as colour combinations.  The great feature about this website is that it allows you to choose how many colours you want in your colour palette, and also lets you zoom in to refine a colour match.



    Now you have a mood board that has been inspired by you and your vision for your business.  In turn, your mood board will also inspire your business growth as you move through the different stages of your setting up and launching your business.


    It is also relevant from time to time to revist your vision board and see if your business goals and direction still align with your original mood board.  Have you drifted away from your original direction?  Or has your business evolved so that you may need to update your mood board.


    I would love for you to share the mood boards you make using either my template or your own vision board template.  Share them below and let me know how you are progressing.


    K Digital Design