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The Power of Photography

It’s no secret that photography is an essential part of selling any item online. When it comes to antiques and one of a kind pieces, it’s even more important as uniqueness and quality vary from object to object. Even if you’re not a professional photographer, we’ve got some tips & tricks to help you up your photo game, which will result in better online listings and more sales.

Since a product image is the first thing potential customers see, it needs to do a couple things: 

  1. Engage potential customers. For better engagement, take photos of your item by itself and also in context. 
  2. Show all angles of the product, as if a potential customer were picking it up or walking around it in a store.

In our last post we gave you some tips on how to photograph large products. In this post, we cover taking photos of the difficult, odd shaped, small and unusual. For a thorough online listing, you’ll need to take two types of photos of each object.

Two Types of Product Photos:

Product-only image: These are best for your product listing page and have white backgrounds, allowing customers to focus on the product itself. 

In-context image: These are shots where your product is in its natural environment, like in a decorated room or vignette. These work best for social media, advertising, and blog posts. 

Photographing Small Items (Jewelry, Decor, and Treasures)

From tie clips to cufflinks or pins and patches, tiny trinkets can sometimes be difficult to capture. Use these tips to keep your small items looking sharp.

Detail Oriented

Including a close-up shot or two will help show off the quality and texture of your small items and highlight small details that may go unnoticed. A macro lens is extremely helpful in shooting small items because it’s designed specifically for focusing up-close. If you have a regular no-fuss camera, “Macro” mode (usually represented on the camera’s dial with a flower icon) increases the camera’s ability to focus at a short distance, honing in on the smallest details. You can also buy macro lenses for smartphones! For incredible examples of how to merchandise jewelry, follow our friends, @scarabantiques on Instagram.


No matter what camera you use, mounting your camera on a stable surface, such as a tripod or table, will help you get the sharpest images possible. Unless you have a built-in stabilizing feature on your phone, when holding the camera with your hands, a slight move of the camera and your photos will come out blurry. If you sell small items that want to roll or move, try using prop wax or blue stick to position them for the photo.

Size Matters

With small items, it can be tough to show a sense of scale. Shoppers want to know the details. “What does that hair clip look like on a person’s head? or “How low do those earrings dangle?” Put your item next to something else familiar to show scale. If you’re selling fashion accessories, put them on a model, if possible. If you’re selling a non-wearable object, stage it next to household objects or relevant materials.

The Art of Shooting Art

Frames give the pieces weight, making your art look more like an object. Find a few frames that work well with many of your pieces and rotate different images in and out of them during shoots.

Remove the glass from the frame, to reduce glare and prevent taking your own picture in the reflection). Or use the timer so you can walk out of the shot. This way, neither the camera, nor you will be reflected.

Expert Advice

We love Karl Taylor and his Youtube tutorials. He’s a pro at shooting small items with easy, quick tips to help you get the very best images.

How Many Images do You Need?

Like we said in the last post, take an absolute  minimum of 4 shots – front, back, left and right sides. Most online marketplaces allow between 10 and 20 photos. The more photos you have, the better! We recommend close-ups of design details, signatures, or maker stamps. Be transparent when it comes to imperfections as well. Take detail shots that notate any damage or patina. By including these types of images, you will increase sales and decrease returns. 

Ok, Dealers, you’ve got all the details to create listings that sell. Stay tuned, as much more is on it’s way! For information on how to use Ronat’s first online tool, the eCommerce Manager, click here.