Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Polish your Photos Series: Quick Tips to Make them Shine

Hi, I am Becka (beckarahn) and I have been an Etsy seller since 2005. I am a fiber artist and technology geek. Through the years a lot has changed at Etsy, but having great photos of your work has always been the most important thing for a successful shop. The goal of this series is to show you some common photo problems and give you ideas of how to fix those flaws in just a few steps.

Quick Tip #3: Tiny Retouching
Here's another photo scenario that happens to me once in a while. I set everything up, I took a whole bunch of great shots, the light was good and what's that? There's dust and fuzz in my photo. How did I not see that?

Sure, it's not the end of the world, but it does make your photos look less than fabulous and it might turn off a potential buyer. It is pretty easy to remove a few tiny blemishes without having to re-shoot your photo. This tip should work for tiny problems like dust, stray threads, a wrinkle or flaw in your background.

In Photoshop, the tool you are looking for this time is called the "spot healing brush". It looks like a bandaid in the tool palette.

Your cursor will change to a tool that looks like an open circle. You can adjust the size of that "brush" with some options that will pop up at the top of the screen. Here's how mine is set (click the image to see it larger.)

Place the circle cursor over your dust spot and click. It will briefly darken that area and then it should make the dust spot disappear. You can also "paint" with the spot healing brush if you have something larger than a tiny spot (like a dog hair) by clicking and dragging it. Here's "before":

Here's the "after". Be sure to save this new corrected photo.
This tool is going to work best for tiny corrections. Remember, you don't want to spend 30 minutes working on your photo in Photoshop when it could be quicker to just shoot another photo.

(*The screen shots for this tutorial are from a Mac using Photoshop CS3. Other versions of Photoshop will have the same tool, but the menus might look slightly different.)

What if you don’t have Photoshop? Once again, look for a tool using your favorite software that is called "Spot Remover" or "Retouch" or "Blemish Fix". Here's what it looks like using Picnik:

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Titles & Tags & Relevancy, Oh My!

In my last article I talked about Etsy's new default Relevancy search and how it effects your shop, and specifically your titles. This follow up post is to clarify a few things and talk about Etsy's policy change on Tagging (since there still seems to be a lot of confusion on the subject).

To recap: Etsy changed it default search to "relevancy". The important points are that now titles carry more weight in searches than tags, and the beginning of the titles carry more weight in searches. So, your titles need to be accurate descriptive words, but the most important words (that tell us what your item is) need to be at the beginning of the title (first 2 to 3 words).

Etsy also now gives more weight in searches for exact 2 and 3 word combos - so using 2 and 3 word key word combos in your titles to describe your items are really critical to stand out in relevancy searches. But equally critical to relevancy is also using those same 2 and 3 word keywords combos in tags.

But that presented a problem, otherwise known as: Etsy's tag "stuffing" rule. If you've been around Etsy for any length of time you know it's not OK to tag "stuff". That's using multiple unrelated words like "beach ocean turquoise" in a single tag. Tags were supposed to be a single word, except for specific 2 word phrases like "sterling silver".

After some thought, Etsy decided to alter it's tagging policies to now allow for "relevant 2 or 3 word phrases" in tags because it is necessary for better relevancy. This now allows you to use the same 2 or 3 word keyword combos that you've used in your titles, also in your tags. You can read more about Etsy's policy change here: http://www.etsy.com/blog/en/2011/policy-update-labeling-items/

You still have to be careful that you are not tag "stuffing". It is still not OK to use "beach ocean turquoise" or "red blue green" as a tag, however you can use some 2 and 3 word phrases that would have previously not been acceptable under the old rules. Just be sure that your 2 or 3 word phrase makes sense in relation to the item you are tagging, and that it is actually a phrase (not unrelated words).

As an example, if you are selling a painting of an sunset on the ocean, and you have the words "Ocean Sunset" in the title, you can also have the words "Ocean Sunset" as a single tag in your tags. Previously "Ocean Sunset" would have not been allowed in a single tag.

Hopefully that helps to clarify some of the new changes, and you'll all be titling and tagging your way to the top of the relevancy searches.

Sandie Russo
Sellers Assisting Sellers Team, Captain