Photographer taking profile picture of woman

There are lots of ways to make your Etsy shop stand out from the crowd.  And photography is one of the best.  

Whether it’s taking the time to create consistent branding for your shop or using a good profile photo, customers remember visual images a lot faster than even the name of your shop.

And these days, with an increase of more Etsy sellers, your profile photo is one way to connect with your customers before they make a purchase.

But what is a profile photo?  Your profile photo is the picture that appears under “Shop Owner” and your name on the right hand side of your shop’s website.  It’s also the same photo that shows up under your public profile when you shop on Etsy or post in their forums.

When doing business online, everyone likes trying to match a shop with a face.  It makes potential customers feel connected with you.  And helps instill confidence that you’ll send them an amazing product.

So, it turns out that choosing a good profile photo can actually increase your shop’s sales.  And who doesn’t want more shop sales.

But, it isn’t always easy to decide on a profile photo to use for your Etsy shop.  This is why I think a lot of people keep use their generic gray silhouette or choose an avatar graphic image instead.  Maybe it’s a little lack of self confidence or shyness that makes us want to hide our faces.

Close up of camera on desk with the text overlay "How to choose your profile photo for your Etsy shop"

Coming from someone whose hemmed and hawed over which profile photo to use for years, getting a good picture of ourselves isn’t easy. Here are some ideas to help you choose a good profile photo for your Etsy shop.

Think Round

For your Etsy profile photo, you will need 400 by 400 pixel photo.  A square sized photo.

But once you upload the proper photo size, Etsy puts a round frame around it.

Yeah, that’s confusing.  So when choosing a good profile photo, think round.  How will a round frame look around this picture?

There are some photos that look better in a square.  If you think that your face or other important elements of the photo will be cut off when it’s cropped, choose a different photo.

Smile Intensity

It seems that the verdict is out on smiling in profile photos.  More smiling makes for better relationships online.  At least in the social media world.

But I think this correlates to the profile photo that you choose for your creative business.  The more you smile the friendlier people will think you are.

How much you smile in your profile photo will probably be determined by how comfortable you are in the photo.  Your profile photo is one the first time potential customers meet you.  What kind of impression do you want to give them?

Still not sure?  Think about it this way.  If you were selling at a craft fair, what kind of smile would you give someone who walked up to your booth? 

Try that smile in your profile photo.

Check out this awesome smile guide from Orbit Media showcasing the openness of different smiles.  See which one you like best.

Skip the Stock Photo

I recently saw a tutorial for setting up an Etsy shop.  They were suggesting to skip the profile photo altogether and just use a stock photo.

Now, please note that these were men trying to sell their designs on Etsy.  They view the marketplace as a woman’s domain and didn’t think people would buy from them if they new they were male.

Sounds ridiculous to me, but to each his own.

When choosing your profile photo, skip the stock photo.  Unless, maybe, if you have something to hide.

Your profile photo should represent who you are and build your brand.

Plus, if your shop really takes off and you were contacted by a company for a wholesale contract, you’d hate to see the shock on their face when you weren’t the stock photo.  Talk about starting a relationship on the wrong foot.

Consider Branding

When choosing a good profile photo, think about your shop’s branding.  What colors do you use in your logo and branding materials?  What kind of feel and look does your shop have?

Consider ways you can add your business branding into your profile photo.  You could include a bit of your office in the background.  Or you could wear your brand’s colors.

Another idea is to add elements of your craft.  If you are a photographer, wear your camera.   A painter could have a paintbrush in their hands or a paint palette.

These subtle hints of your brand will make your profile photo more memorable and help your customers connect with you.

Show your Human Side

I went through a phase many years back when I didn’t want to show my face to people online.  So, instead, I chose profile pictures for my social media accounts that showcased my back or landscapes.

The thing is that showing your face is one of the key parts of your profile photo.  No one wants to buy from a shop where they’re looking at someone’s back.  It makes you look like you’ve got something to hide.

When you choose your profile photo, show your human side.  Choose a photo where you are looking directly at the camera.  Or maybe at an angle.  But, no matter what, your face you be clearly visible.

Distance Matters

The trick when choosing a good profile photo is that distance matters.  No one likes looking at a photo that’s too close.  Or one that’s too far. You need just enough distance between you and the camera to create the perfect profile pic.

When taking your profile photo, have enough distance to let you zoom in when you crop the photo into the circle shape.  Head space around the photo helps give room to make changes in the editing room.  If your photo is too close around your face, you have a better likelihood of cutting yourself off when you crop it.

At the same time, make sure you aren’t so far away that you can’t see your face clearly.  You want to be recognizable to your customers.  A tiny face way in the background won’t give your customers a good way to identify you.  

Woman's hand holding up camera on pink background with the text overlay "How to nail your profile photo for your Etsy shop"

Simplify your Background

When taking your profile photo, make sure to keep your background simple.  You don’t want a lot of noise in your photo.  Keep in mind that the photo is about you and your face – not where you’re located.

Choose a quiet background.  A wall, work space, natural setting.  Nothing with too much action behind you.

The more simple your background, the more likely you can make edits to your photo later on.  Instead of changing your face, you can switch out the background and add different colors if you want to jazz up your photo in the future.

Ask your Audience

Still not sure which profile photo you should choose?  Why not leave it up to your audience to decide?

Post the options on social media and get feedback from your audience.  You can even ask them to share why they chose a specific photo. There might be a good reason they like one over another.

Another idea is to send a survey to your email list and let them vote.  Your audience will be touched that you asked for their opinions and feel included as you grow your business.

Once you have the feedback, let their opinions help you make your final decision.

Put on Repeat

Once you select the perfect profile photo, use it beyond your Etsy shop.  The more people see the same image, the more recognizable you will become.

Use the same photo on your social media profiles, other online shops and blog.  Over time, your audience will start to associate your brand and you with that photo.  Look at that.  Instant recognition.

Final Thoughts…

When setting up your Etsy shop, choosing the right profile photo is important to helping your customers connect with your brand.

But you can’t just choose any photo.  You need to select a picture that showcases you.

Remember, don’t be shy.  This is a photo that will show up on your shop’s communications and represent you online.  You want to profile photo that makes you look friendly and the shop to do business with.

Once you select your photo, be sure to use it on all of your profile images.  This consistency will help your customers recognize you and make your shop stand out.

Ready to start your own Etsy shop?  Check out this tutorial about how to set up your Etsy shop during naptime.

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