Etsy just announced that they’re going to be displaying listing photos in a square aspect ratio, and people are losing their minds.
But is that really necessary? Should all of your Etsy listing photos be square when they’ve always been rectangular? Do we all need to start editing everything? Not really.
Read on to see what’s going to change, and why you probably don’t need to panic too much.
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Table of Contents
- What’s changed with Etsy listing photos?
- Why is Etsy making the change to square photos?
- Are photos going to be square in other places on Etsy?
- Should you change all of your photos to be square?
- How to adjust the photos to be square on Etsy.
What’s changed with Etsy listing photos?
Until recently, Etsy always suggested a rectangular aspect ratio for listing photos. But as of August 2023 they’ve announced that they’re changing the suggested format of listing photos in a shop’s homepage to square. We’ve also noticed that they seem to be testing using square photos in search results.
This really won’t change that much, because listings are displayed in both a square and rectangular shape in multiple places on Etsy.
This change is specifically for the way that listings are displayed on a shop’s homepage, since those are currently being shown as rectangles.
BEFORE: This screenshot from Kailey’s Monogram Shop on Etsy shows the rectangular photos as they looked in a rectangular format.
AFTER: With the change to square, this is the way the shop looks…The photos are square, and the edges are cropped out slightly.
But when you click through to a listing, you still see the full photo, it’s not square.
The change is only in the shop homepage, not in the full listings.
Why is Etsy making the change to square photos?
The letter that was posted in the Etsy announcements section of the forum said that they did research in June and July of 2023 that showed that people bought more when they saw square photos.
Because of that short-term research, they’ve told us to keep the square aspect ratio in mind for the homepage going forward.
However, they said that since photos are shown in different aspect ratios in different places on Etsy, you should upload things that would work as a square or a rectangle.
The photo size suggestions that they’ve given us also repeat the “2000 pixels across” recommendation that they’ve always had, but that’s not really necessary.
(Read this article for more about what the reality of Etsy photos are.)
So if they’re changing the shape in this one place, will they eventually change it in other places? At this point that’s speculation, but it would make sense that they might.
Are photos going to be square in other places on Etsy?
There was no announcement of the photo aspect ratio changing in other places on Etsy, but it’s entirely possible that they’ll change them on the homepage and in other places, too. We’ve noticed that they’ve been testing square photos in search results on and off, so they might be getting ready to use them there, too.
However, they did say to upload pictures that would work in different formats, so it might not end up being a requirement site-wide.
This is a screenshot of my Etsy homepage with listings from shops that I’ve favorited, and they’re displaying in rectangular formats for now.
The listings in the search results feed also show in rectangular formats now, and most of the photos that Etsy shows in other places are also rectangular.
The one place that I saw square photos was in the Etsy’s Picks section on the app, and in some of the larger ad photos that they’ve been experimenting with. Etsy also shows the marketplace page photos in a square ratio
If they’re encouraging people to upload square photos from now on, and they say that people buy more when photos are square, I don’t see why they wouldn’t change everything to the square format eventually.
They haven’t made any announcements about that at this point, though, so at this point it’s just the shop homepage that’s the issue.
Should you change all of your photos to be square?
No, absolutely not. Etsy is framing the photos however they want to no matter what the shape that you’ve uploaded is.
And at this point Etsy is only talking about the display of the first listing photo, meaning the one that shows up when the homepage is open, so that’s the only one that would be affected.
The way that the display works is that people see the first listing photo the way that you have it set up in your listing manager, but once people click into the listing, they’ll see the full photo.
I have several photos that are vertical, not horizontal, and I have them centered in the listing manager to show only the part that I want shown in the preview photo.
When people open the listing, they’ll see the entire, taller photo. This means that I can pin these photos directly to Pinterest so that they fit the format there, but they’re centered so that they display correctly on Etsy.
This is how the preview photo listing looks in my shop.
This is how the listing photo looks when you open the listing.
You don’t NEED to change every single listing photo, it’s only the first one they’re talking about.
And if cropping off the outer edges won’t matter that much to you, you might not need to do anything at all.
But if you do want to make sure that your FIRST listing photo is displayed the way that you want it to be shown, you can go into the listing manager on desktop or the Sell On Etsy app to crop the photos.
How to adjust the photos to be square on Etsy.
If you do want to adjust the photos to make sure that they’re showing the part of the photos that you want Etsy to show, you can do that in the listing manager on the desktop or Sell on Etsy app.
Go into the listing manager and navigate to the photo section.
For desktop, you can choose “adjust thumbnail,” which lets you move the photo around to center it in the provided photo frame.
If you have a photo that you want to leave in a rectangular aspect ratio but you want to make sure that it displays correctly on Etsy, you can use the Adjust Thumbnail option.
Remember that this photo change won’t apply site-wide until early August 2023, and at this point the shape of the photo frame is still rectangular. So wait until they make the change to square to reframe things.
If you want to go ahead and crop your photos permanently in the Etsy editor, you can use the crop option, which cuts the photo off.
If you do this on desktop or the app, it physically crops the photo instead of just framing it like the “adjust” option does, so the edges will be cut off.
Remember that you only need to do the first listing photo, since they other ones aren’t displayed in search results or on your shop’s homepage.
We’ll have to wait to see if they make the change for other photos in the listing before making decisions about how much time to devote to this!
I’m not going to change all of my photos. Etsy seems to be framing photos in a square format even if you upload them as a square, so they’re basically cropping everything.
If you think about the framing of your product photos to center the item, that should be fine regardless of whether the photo is displayed as square or rectangular.
And be careful about putting text in your photos, because Etsy will definitely mess that up!
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