With the shopping experience quickly changing right before our eyes, the buyer has about a second to glimpse at a listing’s cover shot. If it’s not aesthetically pleasing to the eye, the potential buyer will just keep scrolling. Cover shots are key to a sale. It needs to be eye-catching, presentable & appealing.
@phoenixfaun has excelled in this field!
Are you looking to step-up your cover shot game? Look no further! This month, I am highlighting Olivia — @phoenixfaun because I absolutely LOVE her flat lays. Her insta story stood out to me when her boyfriend questioned, “Is all that extra stuff necessary for one picture?” The answer of course is, YES! Olivia’s attention to detail in her photography certainly has helped drive traffic to her posh business.
Let’s go behind the scene with her! Here are a few secrets to her posh success:
1. Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I’m Olivia- @PhoenixFaun on Poshmark and Instagram.
I am originally from Eugene, Oregon and moved to Arizona to attend the U of A. I have been working my way up in the retail world since I was 17. After 7 years working for a national boutique chain, I recently resigned two months ago from a marketing and social media position.
I have been on Poshmark for just over a year (how did it take me so long to discover it!) A coworker and I were chatting about having too many clothes and she let me know about Poshmark and how easy it was to list and sell your old clothes. I was becoming a hoarder of my own clothing that I didn’t know what to do with. Those items that Buffalo Exchange or Platos didn’t take and I didn’t want to just donate. I became hooked that I could get my money back on clothes I had no interest or use for.
With my background in retail photography and social media, putting together nice cover shots became addicting and imperative to my success on Poshmark. I am not positive whether I will stay a full time Posher or not- but for now I am loving it!
When I am not on Posh- I love hiking, cooking, biking, and have been traveling out of state nearly every other weekend. After being tied down from retail hours for years, the freedom to pick up and go whenever has been amazing!
2. Why do you think a good cover shot is vital to your sales?
Your cover shot on Poshmark is vital because there are so many items to over-shine yours on the app. Your item needs to stand out both in search and on the feed. You also want a potential buyer to enjoy shopping your closet, and entice them to continue scrolling through all your items. By having nice cover shots you will increase the amount of people visiting your closet, as well as keep them there longer looking through all your items. Which will lead you to more sales!
3. What goes through your mind when you’re putting together a flat lay?
I always start with a neutral background, lay the item down and build from there. You want the item you are selling to be the main focus, so once I have my background set I build around that.
I highly recommend before you start your flatlays, go around your house and gather any cute accessories/decor, so you have them on hand to style your photos. It can be anything! Some of my favorites are: plants, books, sunglasses, hats, perfume bottles, makeup and jewelry.
Whats nice about using items you already own in your pics is you will start to build your own aesthetic. Mix and match certain things depending on what item you a photographing, and repeat props to start to build your own brand and look.
Another great thing to do is style your items with other items you are selling. Recently I was listing denim shorts, so you bet I am styling them with sandals and t-shirts also for sale in my closet. Not only does it provide more depth to each covershot, if someone likes the items paired together then BOOM there is a bundle sale for you.
4. Do you have a mental checklist of what you need in your picture?
I try and gage if the item is a style or brand that will sell itself, or if it is something that needs to be styled or “jazzed” up.
For example, say I am selling a pair of Nikes or Adidas, brands that typically sell themselves. There isn’t a huge need for me to spend a ton of time styling a covershot for them. These brands have a following, and a clean simple shot will do the trick.
Now say I am selling a not well known brand of shoes, or maybe a style that is a bit outdated. I will try and put it with an outfit that makes the item more in style, or add any unique props to make the item look nice.
I dont want my Poshmark closet to look cluttered, so I try and mix it up with my simple cover shots and my very styled covershots. Not everything needs to be an overly styled photo- a mix of both is best in my opinion.
Also think of the time you are spending on your photo in comparison to the items sale value. If you have a pair of $300 boots- spending a little more time to make that cover shot extra nice is worth it. If you have a pair of $15 boots, maybe do something quick and simple. You dont want to be spending tons of time on an item where you only profit a few bucks. Unless you have oodles of free time and just enjoy styling a flatlay.
5. How do you contrast or play with colors?
To start I have a few options for colors of backgrounds that range from white to grey to tan. If I am taking a picture of white shoes, I am not going to also use a white background. This is why having a couple colors of backdrops is really handy. You dont need a ton of options but having a few is nice!
I like to use a lot of neutral colors, but then play around with texture. I am sure you have seen many people using white fur rugs- this is a great way to add depth to your shot, but without it being over powering.
Besides fur other great items to add texture are: wood grains, marbles, concrete, quilted blankets or knits.
6. Can you tell us about the Rule of Thirds?
The purpose of the rule of thirds is to capture a photo where the subject is not in the center of the frame. It allows your eye to fall freely on the photo. It is typically used in landscape photography- however it is quite handy for mixing up the focal point your flatlay photos.
The rule of thirds is utilized by sectioning your shot into 9 equal square boxes. Two vertical lines and two horizantal lines on the picture- and the item you are focusing on should be somewhere on the intersection of the lines. You might have noticed when you take a picture on your smart phone a grid pop up on the screen. The grid will help you frame your photo and align your focal point at one of the intersections.
If you are laying an outfit out to fit in a square photo- consider placing your main focal point (the actual item for sale) along one of the intersections. Below are some examples of using the rule of thirds:
7. How often do you have your at-home photoshoots?
A minimum of once a week, but I try and do maybe 3 mini shoots a week. It gets REAL messy when I am in the zone flatlaying, so I try and not take pics everyday. I usually will take a batch of pics and list them over the next couple days.
8. How long will a typical shoot take you?
Around 3-5 hours. I am trying to take pictures in bulk, and then spread listing them out so my closet is constantly fresh.
9. What photography tools have you purchased?
I did not buy any of this stuff until after I started making profits on Posh, and then used some of those profits to reinvest in better photos. Buying this is not needed, but if you are looking to step your photo game up I recommend the following:
(Click the links to be directed to the photography tools)
- Lighting Kit: Limo Studio Umbrella Lights Comes with 3 light stands and 2 umbrellas. This is probably the most commonly used light kit, most affordable, and provides excellent lighting for flatlays and mannequin photos. The only thing they aren’t the best lighting for is if you or someone else is modeling your items. In that case a more serious lighting kit might be needed. You can also always upgrade your bulbs with this kit! So if you decide you need brighter bulbs, you can get them from a hardware or photography store and swap them out.
- Light Bulbs: In addition to my light kit, all my bulbs in my office I have switched to “daylight” color bulbs. This was really important because a typical light bulb gives off a warmer yellow tint which personally I do not like. I got a pack of 4 daylight bulbs from Home Depot and I highly recommend switching out your bulbs if you are able to.
- Backdrops (Flatlays): I use a combination of backdrops depending on the item. My wood dining table that I actually built myself (just slabs of wood with a grey stain), a white quilted comforter, a faux sheepskin rug ($12 at ikea that I already owned), contact paper in concrete and marble that I put on poster board, and then some slabs of stone I have found at various places. I like variety and different items look better with different backgrounds
- Backdrops (Mannequin): I just purchased a couple textured shower curtains from Target. Super easy to hang up and swap out using a rod or hooks attached to the wall. I also have some wall paper I am looking to try out. Anything neutral that will add a bit of texture is what I look for.
- Mannequin: I have a vintage dress form and another newer one from Amazon. Keep in mind with this style of dress form you cant put rompers, shorts or pants on it. You can buy dress forms with the base to the side, or buy an actual mannequin body and those can wear anything. I just prefer the aesthetic of a dress form. And I flatlay shorts and pants anyways.
- Props: Either from my house, thrifted, or TJ Maxx. Try and buy things you will get use from outside of Posh. So if its a plant or a book- pick something you would also use to decorate your home. Or maybe a makeup product you like but has cute packaging so can double for a prop.
10. What are some tips you would share to someone who will like to grow their posh business?
For the newer sellers, the more I actually shop on Poshmark the better of a seller I become. You dont have to “buy” a lot, but browsing frequently is very helpful. When you see things from a buyers perspective it helps you improve your own methods.
I realized I didn’t want to buy from another seller if the photos or description were not clear, so I made sure my own items for sale were honestly and well described and all properly photographed. When I bought an item and it took days before the seller even sent it, I learned how frustrating it was to not ship in a timely manner. And when items I purchased were thrown carelessly in a box and sent to me- it reassured the importance of packaging properly. Always try and think from the buyers perspective.
Another big thing! Dont get discouraged from a “lowball” offer- never decline immediately and always counter back at least once. Prices on Posh are set up to be negotiable, and each seller has their own way of pricing an item. People dont know if you bought your item for $2 at a thrift store, or paid hundreds at full retail price. Instead of being offended, just counter back what you are comfortable with. If they accept or you come to an agreement, great! If they dont, move on. By straight declining a lowball you are missing out on potential sales.
Spend your time on Poshmark (and instagram) learning from other sellers. There are so many different ways to be successful on Poshmark- from the brands you choose to sell, how you price, or how you take your photos. Soak it all in and then figure out a way to put your own spin on it and make it work for you!
11. Here’s a fun question: What song is most likely playing in the background while you are shooting your pictures?
Any of my Discover weekly mixes from Spotify! When I am spending hours taking pics, I have to have new jams constantly playing so I dont go crazy. I will listen to almost any type of music except maybe heavy metal lol.
I also DVR multiple talk shows and have endless Podcasts to listen to. Most recently- When Meghan met Harry! I gotta mix it up throughout the day and like to have variety of background noises.