Don’t Make a Rookie Mistake

Have you ever noticed an Etsy listing where, if you clicked on one of the photos to get a better view, the display size of that photo actually gets smaller?  I have — quite a few times.  In fact, I happened across a few forums lately where the author was asking “what’s wrong with my pictures?” or for advice about how to get “crisp, clear photos.”  And of course the nice folks who were trying to help gave the typical advice about using the “little flower setting” on the camera or building a light box or, my favorite, using image editing software.  It turns out the biggest problem was simply that the uploaded photos were just too darn small.  Rookie mistake, nasty consequences.

I wrote in some detail about image size here, but as a reminder, here’s what Etsy tells us:

The minimum size for your photo should be 570 pixels wide. We retain the aspect ratio of your original, so the height is variable.

We recommend using an image that is around 800-1000 pixels wide. Using an original image of this size lets shoppers use the Zoom button to see the larger image.

To illustrate how image size affects viewed image quality, I thought I would demonstrate using some simulations.  I chose examples that are noticeable enough, but not necessarily extreme (although there are a few of those out there).  Below you’ll find four separate sets of images, all set to Etsy’s 570 pixel default width.  The top photo in each set is how your “un-zoomed” Etsy image would look if your upload was 800 pixels wide (when zoomed, these top images would naturally get larger and still look great).  The bottom photo in each set shows the corresponding image if your upload was only 400 pixels wide (when “zoomed,” these images would get smaller but sharper).

So take a look, see what you think, and remember to pay attention to those image sizes!

Until next time … Happy Shooting!

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10 thoughts on “Don’t Make a Rookie Mistake

  1. I’ve been using 500px photos, because using larger ones (started out using 100px) seems to take forever to upload. Maybe I should just be more patient, but the computer side of crafting does seem to suck up a huge amount of time.
    What do you think?

    • I just looked at a bunch of your listings, and I don’t see anything smaller than about 600. With the amount of detail in your work, I think it’s nice to be able to zoom in for a better view. I’d keep them all around 1000.

  2. I don’t trust any browser to resize things for me.
    Whenever I think it matters, I will split the link and have the up front picture (550 pixels wide seems safer than 570 pixels if you want the righthand border not to be cut off) cropped by me and then linking to whatever larger version I think necessary.

    This also gives you the freedom to crop and highlight the smaller picture and include for detail in the larger one. Or even a totally (different aspect.

    I have a page with my tryouts in case you’re interested

    Your examples show what I have long since suspected.
    Nice to have it so clearly pointed out.

  3. Nice post.I try to have mine around 1000-2000 each.The only i have to remember is to re-size them if they are bigger than 2,000.I like big photos,you’re able to see so much more when you zoom in.I kinda wish you could have bigger pictures without having to zoom,in the listing.But I guess that would mess the page up,lol.

    • I agree – larger photos on the listing page itself would be a nice feature (there’s certainly plenty of room). By the way, you’ve got some cool shots in your shop!

  4. Curious as to what software you recommend for resizing, the quickest I’ve found is MS Office Picture Manager, but I wondered if you might have other options? I’m thrilled to have found your blog via Blacksburg Belle, and will be sharing the link with my Etsy team!

    • I don’t necessarily have any recommendations on software. Just about any decent editing program has a resizing feature. The important thing is that you’re comfortable and familiar with whatever you are using, and understand exactly what it is you are trying to accomplish.

      And remember — start big, finish small.

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