Let me preface this by saying the following photos I'm using in the critique below are not VMTeam members and I am not going to tell who the shop owners are in order to avoid embarrassing anyone! However, all of these photos are from current listings on Etsy!
LIGHTING LIGHTING LIGHTING
Why put Lighting 3 times above, you ask? Because, lighting can't be overstated! The above image is an extreme example of an image that is way too dark. But, the below image is just a bit to dark and this person paid $7 to feature this item! With a slight investment both of these images could be fixed without the use of Photoshop.
Go to your local hardware store and pick up 2-3 metal clamp lights which cost $3-6 each, and buy a light bulb that is a bit diffused, not a bright florescent, and two extension cords. Then clamp one light on the back of a folding chair on the right and one on the back of a folding chair to the left of the items. Adjust the distance from your subject either closer or farther away to see what your shadow situation looks like. Now, place yourself in between the lights, be sure not to stand in front of them or your shadow will loom across your subject.
ADOBE PHOTOSHOP ELEMENTS
If you have a bit more money to invest you can pick up Adobe Photoshop Elements for as little as $66 online! This program allows you to adjust things like lighting if you didn't capture your image perfectly.
I did one simple adjustment to both of the photos- which took less than one minute. I opened them both up in my Photoshop Elements program and clicked the "Enhance" button and then the "Auto Smart Fix" and the program adjusted the lighting automatically. Now neither image is perfect yet, but they are improved. Except now we see that the little figurine is sitting on a dirty counter!
But, that brings us to another topic for another day, Attention to detail. What is in the background of your image?