Another day on etsy, another forum filled with threads complaining about how the same people are featured in front page treasuries on a regular basis. It seems the only thing I see more of than the same front page artists is the multitude of people who think it is their RIGHT to be there.
Front page exposure is not a right - it is a privilege granted to those who make their work look INTERESTING.
Take a look through the shops of the people who feel disenfranchised by Etsy admin. There tends to be a common theme - boring photographs.
Sometimes blurry, sometimes flat, but never the stellar shots we have grown accustomed to seeing when we visit our favorite online shopping venue for handcrafted goods.
I have a few pointers of what grabs my attention as both a buyer and a treasury curator. For the purpose of this article, I will use jewelry as an example since it is the most prolific category on Etsy.
1: I cannot stress this enough - use the macro function on your camera! Jewelry is by its very nature SMALL and detailed and regular shots just won't cut it.
2: Use a lightbox to help eliminate shadows and correct poor indoor lighting. Most of us are not fortunate enough to have a miniature photo studio in our home and we have to deal with traditional incandescent lighting. You don't even have to spend a ton of money - even the most inept handyperson can whip up one of these babies in an hour with items they likely have around the house. If you are shooting a piece that has lots of sparkle like diamonds, then you want to position your main light source in the same location as the camera in a head-on fashion.
3: backgrounds backgrounds backgrounds! Laying your goldfilled and citrine earrings on a beige table is not going to grab anybody's attention. Make them POP!
Imagine those same goldfilled and citrine earrings dangling from the lip of a pure white teacup on a bold green background. Much more appealing, no? Same earrings, but now they are interesting.
4: Pay attention to color and style combinations, not only in your pieces, but in how you display them. If you notice that turquoise and bright red is currently a popular choice for front page treasuries, then photograph your turquoise and silver necklace on a cherry red background. If tree themed items are popular and you just made a pair of gorgeous dangling leaf earrings, then put a few naked tree branches into a vase and dangle the earrings from them. Have a lovely aquamarine and Swarovski crystal choker? Drape it over a large conch shell to sell that mermaid's dream!
5: Props. I mentioned a few above, but props are very important in good jewelry photography. If your stuff is just laying on a blank surface, buyers (and treasury hunters) will not know how it hangs. Please do not wear your earrings to display them - even if they are just a sample pair, and you are selling made-to-order, it is just a huge turnoff. The viewer may be so turned off by this unhygeniec display that they will not stick around to read the details. If you can afford a bust to display your ware, then that is fabulous. Most of us cannot. Earrings are easy to dangle from items - the lip of vases, wineglasses, branches, teacups, ribbon, etc. For necklaces, you can make your own display bust or a more basic display . Wearing a ring is fine for pics (make sure you are manicured!), but have some creative fun too - maybe put the ring around a piece of pretty paper like a scroll, or in a pretty velvet ring box next to a champagne glass.
6: Play with angles. This one is hard to describe, but look around (on Etsy and around the web). The most interesting photographs are rarely head-on shots, but have dimension to them.
7: Photo editing. This is very important. Even experienced photographers fall back on Photoshop now and then to edit their pics. It is a fabulous tool for sharpening a hazy image, or removing shadow. Also, please crop out unwanted elements that accidentally wandered into the shot. Nobody wants to see the edge of your kitchen table, the tip of the cat's tail, or the side of your diet Pepsi can. If you don't have Photoshop, and cannot justify the expense for casual Etsy selling, then download one of the many free options available online. Photoscape is a great freeware program with many functions to get the job done.
I hope some of you have found these tips helpful. This certainly will not guarantee you front page Etsy exposure, but it will increase your chances (and help grab the attention of buyers!).
The rest is up to you - promote yourself everywhere and make yourself known. Visit the forums and be friendly - treasury curators are fellow Etsians and if they get to know you and like your work, they are more likely to heart your shop. Most treasury curators visit their hearted shops for at least some of their featured items.
Good luck and happy selling!