It's not for everybody, some people like to (or need to) have a different background, and that's okay!
Unless it's not okay! Every day I see photos that make me feel like I'm playing "where's waldo" - crowded backgrounds with strange edges, bad "frame" sort of ideas, you get the picture.
The problem is that people's eyes naturally go towards the darker, brighter, bolder colors. So you always need to ask yourself, where's the attention focused?
The worst violators I see are:
- Other not for sale stuff in the photo. It's fine for photos 2-5 but not for your primary one, people are trying to scan these too quickly.
- Artificial, photoshopped-in "frames" that add a border or decorative elements around the edges of the picture.
- Busy, bright colors or patterns that distract from the product. A simple stripe might be okay, plaid almost never is.
- Multiple lines - like walls, shelves, doorways. The eyes go to intersections of lines, remember. Every dark contrasting line "costs" you attention.
The more involved your product is, the more you'll have to work on this. Maybe a big plain skirt can draw enough attention against the business of the great outdoors. But if you're selling kids birthday hats with rainbow stripes, any background line will give the viewer a virtual headache. You can only get the lazy browsing-shopper human mind to process so much information, so don't make it all your background.
Here I found some GOOD examples of non-white backgrounds that keep you focused on the right thing. They're all very simple... and that's why they're good. The product is the most noticeable thing and you have an instant idea as to what it is:
1st place July 12th, 2012
Theme Thursday! Lace items from $1-$50.
ON SALE 20% OFF Flower Jewelry Silver Circle Necklace Flowers and Lace Tiny Handmade Designer Fashion Jewelry - Unique Petite
2nd place July 16th, 2012
July 16th! Items from $16-$16.99.
Baby Mary Jane Shoes / Slipper Bootie - NB to 6 months - ready to ship Pink and Brown Crochet
Coupon code: MOM12 12% off