Hello everyone! I’ve got something a little bit different for you today. I know a lot of people like to sell their amigurumi makes on sites like Etsy. Photographs are THE most important part of an Etsy listing as they are what your potential buyers see first. Some people are super skilled at making their Etsy photographs beautiful and wall art worthy and it can be hard to stand out amongst them in the listings. Something I do to improve the look of my Etsy photos is to include props in all my photos. They can make objects come to life and create stand-out photos that will set you apart from the competition.
Today I’m sharing some free and cheap props you can use for all your Etsy photos. Whilst I designed this post to focus on photographing amigurumi, the props mentioned are so versatile and so if you’re a soap maker, a brownie baker or a paint shaker this post is still really relevant to you. Besides if you sign up for my awesome Newsletter, I’ll send you a downloadable PDF of my Ultimate Etsy Photo Props Guide, completely free. It features loads of prop ideas, most I won’t get to cover here, and all suitable for different industries. I don’t know how long I’ll keep this download up for so be sure sign up as soon as you finish reading this post!
Rocks, Shells and Pebbles
I love nature and there is nothing better than a stroll along the beach picking up pebbles and shells until your trousers fall down from the weight of the rocks in your pockets! My first free or cheap prop suggestion is rocks, shells and pebbles. Natural items like these will give your photos a refined and calm feel. Neutral colours won’t detract from the colours in your amigurumi or other products and shells are the absolute perfect prop for anything sea related.
Contrary to the scene I set in my first sentence, you should NOT remove pebbles, rocks, shells and other natural items from the beach. It’s really bad for the beach environment and you could get in trouble! Nonetheless you can still get most of these items free or cheap. I’ve been doing my garden recently and have been digging up some beautiful rocks that just need a wash. Free. Back in a carefree childhood, I gathered shells like there was no tomorrow and, being the hoarder I am, I still have a lot of them. Free. You might not have a garden or be harbouring stolen shells from your youth. In which case I suggest you visit a garden centre or builders yard and purchase some rocks, or decorative pebbles and shells. You may also get them in pet retailers, meant for use in fish tanks. Cheap.
Above: A selection of shells and rocks from my props collection.
Below: An amigurumi whale sits on a rock for his Etsy photo shoot. Cute!
What? That stuff that sits in a bowl and smells nice and your Mum always faffs with before guests come over? Yes that.
I know what you’re thinking. This girl has gone nuts. That stuff is for covering up the smell of the dog, not for taking photos. Well yes, it is great for infusing a room with a pleasing scent and it’s quite by accident that I found it to be awesome for photo props. So much so, that it is now my FAVOURITE photo prop and I wouldn’t be without it. Look at this photo before you declare me insane.
Everything in that photo came out of a bowl of potpourri that sits on my coffee table. And look how pleasing it is! Potpourri mixes are made of beautiful and fun shaped natural items, which makes them the perfect props for photos. They come in different colours too. I’ve gone for neutrals again here but you can find mixes themed in red, blues, purples, anything to fit the aesthetic of your shoot. Bags of potpourri come in at around £3 and my favourite place to buy is Wilko here in the UK. Cheap. Or free if your mum has an unsuspecting bowl you can dip into. I will never cease to be excited by the random goodies you can find in a bowl of potpourri. The scent is just an added bonus.
Wallpaper and Flooring Samples
These are a staple for product photographs, no matter what you are selling. I recommend you get yourself some of these immediately!
Wallpaper samples can be temporarily stuck up on walls using blue tack or sellotape and are so easy to get for free at your local DIY store. I have a large variety of designs and pick up new ones every time I go. It’s great to have a large collection of samples so I can always pull out the perfect one to photograph my items with. I’m most proud of pairing this cactus wallpaper up with my amigurumi cacti! Whilst not the focus of your photos, the background can really pull an image together.
Please forgive the shocking photo I’ve provided to illustrate this point. It turns out wallpaper samples and laminate floor pieces don’t photograph well!
Flooring samples are also great and my favourites are laminate pieces. You’ve stuck up your wallpaper and now you can slide your laminate sample up against it and create a temporary and super nifty photo studio. In order to get hold of laminate floor samples, all I did was visit some retailers online and request free samples of their different floors. Sometimes they’ll charge you a small fee like 50p or ask you to pay postage but still, cheap. And more often than not, free. This was another accidental prop discovery as I had been ordering floor samples with the intention of redecorating my living room. When they came, I knew they’d be super handy for my photos and I was a very happy bunny.
This photo of Pablo the cactus is quite probably my favourite Etsy photo I’ve ever taken. See how I’ve used wallpaper, a laminate sample and some rocks and it’s very aesthetically pleasing. Find him on Etsy if you like!
The Tools of The Trade
Whenever we make something, there are tools and materials that we use to make them, correct?
In crochet I use hooks, yarn, stitch markers and scissors on every project and these are all interesting items I include in my photos! Shoppers who are interested in your handmade item are often interested in it BECAUSE it’s handmade. Using the tools of the trade in your listing photographs will really emphasise the handmade status of your item to buyers and give them the homemade vibe they are looking for. This is also a really great free prop because you already own these items and have them to hand from making your projects. Perfect for your first set of listings when you don’t want to invest time or money searching for props.
A selection of ‘tools of the trade’ that are pleasing to put into photographs.
If you bake your products, include a wooden spoon etc, if you paint, paintbrushes and paint splats work really well!
There you go folks, that was my Ultimate Free and Cheap Props Guide for your Etsy Photos. I hope you’ve found something useful here! Don’t forget to sign up to my Newsletter to get a FREE copy of my Ultimate Props List with a tonne of other ideas suitable for any business and remember you can pin this post to Pinterest and come back to it later if you’re not quite ready to get snapping yet!
PS. If you take some beautiful photos I’d love to see them! Tag me on Instagram @crochet_creature and I’ll be sure to leave you a like.