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Giving Shoppers A Sense Of Scale

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OK. I think I'll post a similar shot of the mugs with an egg as the scale reference...I know that is taking quite a whisk with this group.  It might eggs-agerate the scale, it might be eggs-ceptional, and it might be egg-cellent.  At any rate it won't be egg-nored here on the forum.

 

Pah-DUM...ching!

Paul :wacko:

MatthewV, LeeU and terrim8 like this

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An egg.  It is understood world wide.  Lin

 

 

hummingbird egg or ostrich egg?

 

 

I like the egg idea.  It's a perfect shape and size (hen's egg) has a non-jarring color, and photographs well  I know they vary in size, but maybe not enough to give someone an egregiously wrong idea of the scale.  Probably would work best with culinary pottery.

 

 

Two thumbs up for an egg for scale

 

No, no, no.  I just checked two boxes of eggs and they range too much in size.  Plus the ostrich egg we had for lunch (20 of us) last week really doesn't work, nor do the quails eggs.

 

I favour something appropriate for the item, say a flower, but also must have clear dimensions given in the description.  I cannot believe how many items are on ebay with no sizes.

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I was thinking about putting a business card in the picture. It is elegant and promotes your brand at the same time, and everyone has held a business card. Of course this only works if you have a really nice business card that fits in the picture. On etsy I was just going to do this on the 2nd picture. I don't want it on the first one.

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Just  the pot . . . anything else in the picture detracts from the pot.  You want them looking at the pot, not an egg (large, medium, extra-large, free-range, or other), a dime, a business card, whatever.  You use rulers in crime scene photographs, not pottery photographs. 

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Just  the pot . . . anything else in the picture detracts from the pot.  You want them looking at the pot, not an egg (large, medium, extra-large, free-range, or other), a dime, a business card, whatever.  You use rulers in crime scene photographs, not pottery photographs. 

 

I have been doing this, but I think in the 2nd picture or the 5th picture it might be ok to put something for a sense of scale. I have had a few customers contact me after the item arrives saying how much they love it, but didn't realize it was so small/large. I have measurements on height and width and oz on every mug I have sold. I think something for scale isn't a terrible idea. I haven't tried it yet, but I dont see the issue if you do it well. Some people just don't read things. I could be wrong though. I will have to A/B test it when I have enough items to see if it altars my sales or increases them. I am more like you, I dont like anything taking away from the pot. I used to have wooden boards in my pictures, but I ended up removing them as my pots looked better floating in a sea of gradient.

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This discussion is reminding me why I decided to severly limit my online sales. So much extra work. So many opportunities for miscommunication.

Chilly likes this

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Bruce has this right

(Just  the pot . . . anything else in the picture detracts from the pot.  You want them looking at the pot, not an egg (large, medium, extra-large, free-range, or other), a dime, a business card, whatever.  You use rulers in crime scene photographs, not pottery photographs. )

 

Hey whats the size of this pot . Its one I made and salt fired

 

 

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I don't know, but if that background is a gradient based one, that is a little tiny pot. I agree that the pots should be the only thing in the picture. I have been doing this so far the entire time. I am simply stating that it wouldn't hurt testing it on the 5th picture on say 50% of my listings and see if I get less feedback saying that the pot wasn't as big or small as they thought. It is worth experimenting with when I get the chance to do it I will report back.

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I sold a yunomi a few days ago to a really wonderful customer. Currently, I always message my customers upon delivery asking if it was to their satisfaction. (trying to drum up good reviews before I front load my shop with tons of items) They replied that it was beautiful and they love it very much but it was bigger than they thought it was and they wanted me to make them another one like it but smaller.

 

In the listing I describe the item like so:

 

• Measures: 2.6 inches tall, and 3.5 inches wide at rim.
• Holds: 6oz comfortably.

 

No matter what I seem to do about every 4 orders so far I have gotten a message about scale. The good part is every one of them have asked me to make them another one to buy, and keep the one they got. So it's been good for repeat business. I think that I am going to try some type of indicator of scale in my last picture out of the 5 pictures that I show in my listings. I would like to avoid this conversation over and over as much as possible. Even if it detracts from the pot, 1 out of the 5 pictures doesn't seem to take away that much, if anything it might help the sale. I am going to A/B test this though and make half my new listings in the coming weeks have this feature and the other half not. Then I will see if items I sale with the scale indicator get this same problem, if they do then I will remove the scale item from the 5th picture and move my size to the very top of the listing above everything else that tries to sell the pot first.

 

If I was only allowed to have one picture then I definitely wouldn't do this, but I think this might be a solution to avoid these conversations.

 

I will report back in a few months in this thread if it was successful or not.

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I agree with Neil that an egg would look odd next to a teapot. How about a teabag next to a teapot or a mug, a common flower next to a vase, an apple next to a serving bowl, an egg next to a batter bowl.... something in context and easily recognizable. 

 

Min's got the right idea!      

 

I live in Australia so what size is an American penny??  We use metric measurement so how much is 6oz?  Only the US, UK and some Chinese business still use imperial measurement........so this could be costing you sales!  It might prove easier to click on another offering rather than sit there pouring water into measuring jug or doing maths conversions to work out your sizes.

 

Etsy, ArtFire and all the online platforms are international sites so to maximise sales potential you'd need to list in metric and imperial and put something as a size indicator that doesn't rely on language but is recognisable all over the world.  For example the hen's egg....a hen's egg in a bowl is a pretty recognisable image in most kitchens around the world, if it's big in the bowl then the bowl is likely small, if the egg is small then the bowl likely large and so the measurements are more easily visualised. 

 

Yes, it would take some thought I guess but it comes down to whether a person wants international sales or domestic only....both are good.

 

Irene

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I think you are right on target, @Mudslinger Ceramics.  Although I fully expect most of my online sales to be domestic, including metric and imperial scales would be a best practice scenario.  Thanks for reminding me. And...I am willing to revisit the thought that might limit sales (internationally), but that is question/challenge for another day.

From the discussion thus far (and Thank-You everyone who jumped in), here are my new preferences:

  • Mugs & Teapots: teabag (maybe a K-cup)
  • Fruit-Cereal-Soup-Chile bowl(s): apple, orange, grapes (appropriate colored fruit)
  • Large Bowls in general: hen's egg - but not on the first image
  • Whimsical forms (that's me, most of the time) - some monetary unit, but probably on a secondary image

Good thoughts & input, my friends!

-Paul

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Etsy's best practices do indeed recommend a "styled" shot as the FIRST image, and use the remaining 4 spots for other views of the object. This serves to give people an idea of scale, and also to suggest to people what the object might look like in their own homes. Online listings are a catalogue. Make it pretty! It's a different set of rules than gallery photography.

 

As far as measurements go, I'd speak to your customers. How many inquiries are you getting from international sources? Canadians use Imperial for construction and baking, so most have a working knowledge of both measurement systems. I take my measurements for my online listings with a sewing tape measure, because then I'm not messing around trying to convert between the two.

Rae Reich and rayaldridge like this

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I only sell to US customers at this time. I have thought about starting to ship international but I just don't feel comfortable yet as I am still pretty new to all of this. I would hate for something to get shipped across the world and end up broken. I have seen some pretty horrible pictures of international shipping locations where boxes are piled 3-4 on top of each other. 

 

Just a tid bit, if your only allowing shipping to USA, etsy lowers your listings to international customers drastically (I read this on one of the etsy updates about the new shop changes).

 

Since I only sell to US customers I don't worry about the metric stuff yet. If I was going to list to international I would definitely put metric measurements. 

 

@Diesel, I agree about the pictures. The best sellers on Etsy are the ones that make the front pages, and they always have their items in a beautiful environment that suits it. It is hard to do that for pottery unless you have a staged kitchen or something, or a really good natural lighting place to stage a fake kitchen. 

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Staging a fake kitchen is remarkably easy. You only need about 2 square feet. No marble countertops? No problem. How about some "marble" drawer liner from Home Depot? Find a white wall and put your wooden cutting board up against it to suggest a countertop. Lots of people set up things like placemats on their hardwood floor in front of a sunny window, and let that be their "tablescape."

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I really need to figure something like this out for at least 1-2 of the pictures. I think really that is the best way to give scale. Have it around other objects that are in the kitchen. Maybe a spoon laying on the counter and a jar of sugar behind it or something. I dunno. I am not fancy at all, so I lack skills in that department. 

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I haven't done the staged kitchen yet because I am leery of including anything in the picture that they are not getting. I shot a few and they look great but I haven't used them due to fear of shopper thinking they are getting more than they are. I would hate for someone to see a place setting and think that for $30 they are getting the dinner plate, salad plate, cereal bowl and mug rather than just the mug. How would you do a "lifestyle" shot and make it clear what the buyer is getting?

 

T

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I haven't done the staged kitchen yet because I am leery of including anything in the picture that they are not getting. I shot a few and they look great but I haven't used them due to fear of shopper thinking they are getting more than they are. I would hate for someone to see a place setting and think that for $30 they are getting the dinner plate, salad plate, cereal bowl and mug rather than just the mug. How would you do a "lifestyle" shot and make it clear what the buyer is getting?

T

The "lifestyle" shot is for scale, and inspiration. You can obscure a few minor details in the name of Art in the first shot, as long as you clarify them in the other images in the listing.

If the listing is for a cereal bowl for instance, you could style it with some food in it (say, a colourful fruit salad), a linen napkin and placemat and silverware. Use items that are clearly not pottery, and therefore not included in the purchase. Show the bowl in use, and use your best visual language skills to "describe" how relaxing, luxurious, healthy, etc. it is to use this beautiful piece of eclectic pottery in your daily life. Set a timer and head on over to your favourite visual social media (Instagram, Pinterest, whatever) for some really pretty (and probably ridiculously idealized) images that make you fall in love a bit for some inspiration.

 

If you're styling just a mug, fill it with boiled water (for the steam) and set up an "afternoon coffee" sort of image. Think a magazine and a cookie or other snack on a napkin. Or a sketchbook and some sunglasses. Or a non-ceramic vase with some flowers from the garden (dandelions imply whimsy, just in case you garden like I do.)

 

I took a photo styling course last year, and they suggested layering your props a bit for interesting visual texture. Make sure you have objects that are varying in size, and be sure to include some in the tiny size category, or "dots" as my instructor called them. These can be cookie crumbs, blueberries on cereal, tiny flowers or petals, a scattering of flour in a "baking" shot. They're the sort of things that can be scattered about like confetti and suggest a human has been here recently and knocked things around a bit. It seems silly at first, but you'd be surprised at how well it works.

 

It kind of sounds like a lot of work to go about setting up a still life like this. But if you take a big batch of photos like this and re-use the same props for different items it goes pretty quick. You then have the added bonus of a bunch pretty photos to put on social media (or your website and newsletter) for promo purposes that didn't have to be taken on the fly. The last photo batch I did took me an afternoon to shoot probably 20 items (multiple shots of each) on my iPhone, and another 4 hours or so to edit them all on my tablet in Snapseed. I did the editing in front of the tv while the kids were watching movies we've all seen 900 times.

 

Here is a shot I took for Instagram that could work for an Etsy shot. If it were for Etsy, I'd have subbed out the plate for a glass bowl or a napkin, but it could also work as is, because the plate is in the background and no details of it are really that visible. I don't think this shot is edited, because I didn't zap out all the scratches in my cheap Walmart coffee table. I would also spot darken the background beyond the chair more, so the exercise trampoline isn't visible.

 

Added: the second image shows the edits.

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Excellent post, Diesel.

 

I'll just add a small observation-- if you are selling a unique item, rather than a line item, you may find that you get diminishing returns on the time spent in photography if you get too fancy and creative with the way you accessorize your piece. 

 

I've been taking all my pictures against a gradient background, because as a dabbler, I can make each piece unique, and not care about economies of time and scale.  But that may change in the future, and your suggestions are pretty terrific, so I'll keep them in mind.

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Ray, I agree totally. I don't have time to put anything other than a handful of forms that I make on a regular basis on Etsy. Selling online takes me the same amount of time and energy as selling at a 3 day craft fair. It's just more socially acceptable to do the one in your jammies.

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Ray, I agree totally. I don't have time to put anything other than a handful of forms that I make on a regular basis on Etsy. Selling online takes me the same amount of time and energy as selling at a 3 day craft fair. It's just more socially acceptable to do the one in your jammies.

 

 

Which One???

Great points you make Diesel Clay.

 

I like just seeing the item, but I realise the need for the above when folks don't get the detailed instruction that Joseph gave , like the dimensions and the capacity! ANd some like to get more than they pay for.....ie bigger.

Early on I kept remaking an order for a couple of mugs bigger and bigger so I swear at the end one could have immersed the feet in the "receptacle"

FOr a little "lady" I think she would have had to use a block and tackle to get the mug anywhere near her mouth..

Don't do this anymore. What you order is what you get, a big breakfast mug, well here is a big breakfast mug. Too small? Well there it is buy it or leave it.

Cranky old lady this am.

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