The first thing you may want to do is photograph your items on a white background. For items that are small enough to sit on a chair, I use tag board from the dollar store to set up a cyc. See the photo below. The way the tagboard is set up with a curve makes it a cyc. I like tagboard better than fabric for small items because it is smoother. I set myself up where the lighting is best - usually outside or sometimes near a window. (I also have photo lighting I use in Winter. I sold successfully on Etsy for a couple of years before I splurged on lighting.) There was some haze over the sun this morning, but just barely - the light was pretty direct. Your ideal lighting would be an overcast day. Since my lighting was almost harsh, I added the light reflector - before I bought this, I used anything white (like a second piece of tag board held in place by a second person.) The reflector bounces the light back to the object from the shadow side which softens the shadow.
Now here is the step by step I do with GIMP. GIMP is a free downloaded photo editing program that works a lot like photoshop. I have developed these steps to edit my photos for Etsy listings.
1. Do a rough crop to crop off any unnecessary edges. Crop to the height of the item you want to show, and allow extra on the width to crop later.
Cropping with GIMP - choose the crop tool from the tool box (circled in blue.) Click and drag to draw a rectangle around your item. Refine the rectangle by hovering near the edge until you see an arrow, then you can move the edge out or in. Move the entire rectangle by hovering in the center until you see the move symbol which is 4 arrows, then you can drag the rectangle around the image. When you are ready to make the crop, either single click in the center of the rectangle or hit the enter button on your keyboard.
2. Resize the image for best appearance on Etsy. Etsy likes images that are 1000 pixels wide and 800 pixels tall. From the top menu on GIMP, choose Tools, Transform tools, and Scale.
When the scale pop up box opens (see the one below,) make sure the link between width and height is connected (just click on it it connect the links.) In the height box (the lower box,) type 800. When you click on the width box (the upper box,) you will see the corresponding width, probably something larger than 1000, depending on your crop. Click scale.
3. After you click scale, it will look like the screenshot below. The canvas is still the original size, so we want to crop this time to exactly 1000 wide by 800 tall. Choose the crop tool again from the tool box. Draw your rectangle around the photo. After drawing roughly the rectangle I need, I find it easier to get the exact size by using the size dialogue inside the toolbox (see blue arrow.) I type 1000 and 800 into the spaces. Then I hover in the middle of the cropping rectangle and click and drag to position it. When I have the crop placed where I want it, I single click in the center of it, or I hit the enter key.
There is a picture of the levels dialogue box below. I use the dropper that you see is highlighted in blue. That is the white sampler. The one to the left of it is a grey sampler and the one on the far left is the black sampler. Choose the white sampler dropper by clicking on it, then touch it to the best white on your photo and click. You will see the whole photo adjust. If you don't like how it came out, you can click reset instead of OK and try again. When you get it right, click OK. Even though this was already a bright photo, I think you can see how the background changed from a little grey to really white.
5. One more step before saving. In the top menu, click Image and Flatten Image.
6. Click File, Save As, and then you can file the photo where you want it and give it a name you like. I save as whatever.jpg
I hope this helps a few of you who want to improve your shop appearance for more sales!