I have sold a great deal of stuff on eBay of the last few years, and have really noticed the difference in item interest by having a better photo. Just a few simple changes can really make your item look far far better and professional that the others – and that means more interest..which is more cash for you
Fact: The majority of people will skip your item if it has no photo, or a shockingly bad one. No excuses! One great picture will save 1000 word write-up.
Lets assume you are trying to sell something small like a phone or some jewellery.
1. The Background: The most important thing for background is for them to be clutter free (Don’t want to distract the viewer away from the item) and offer contrast to the item, so if you are selling a black phone choose a white background and vice versa. The best thing to use for a small bit of jewellery or a phone is a big white sheet of card, an A3 bit from your local store will be fine. If you curve the card from the floor and up a wall – it creates like a little cove – this is an easy and effective background as you have no visible edges to direct the eye away from the item. So, having a big bit of white or black card (depending on your item colour) you can photograph pretty much any small item.
2. Take 4 good photographs. Take more than one photo, people want to see the item as much as possible, so you must show the item from every angle, many people don’t bother with using more than one image because it costs more, but it is just false economy! I recommend using 4 photo’s – as you can get all the angles pretty much! You must be honest, highlight every single flaw in the item – doing this gives you trust, if people can see you pointing out the flaws they are more likely to bid becuase of your honesty.
3. Lighting – A nice bright well lit picture is a must – a dark under exposed picture will never sell. If you are using the white A3 card cove as we made earlier, you only need a couple of lights. A nice easy solution is to use a couple of halogen desk lamps if you have no access to any proper flash systems. If using a normal small compact camera I don’t like to use the on board camera flash as it tends to make for a flat and boring image… I like to use 2 bright halogen lamps, one on my left and one on my right, aiming at 45 degrees towards the item. I can then position and adjust the lights easily to make the item stand out from the white background. You could also take the cove outside and use sunlight too – as natural light is very flattering for the item, as long as there is enough of it!
4. Use a tripod – If you have access to a tripod use one, and if you don’t, stack up a few books and rest the camera on that… a sharp image is a must – people have to be able to see all the detail, no-one wants to look at a blurry piece of jewellery or a phone. There is hardly ever a need to NOT use some form of stand / tripod / stack of books for a nice sharp looking image
5. Cropping – If you have access to any photo manipulating program such as photoshop, cropping the image is anothe must do. By cropping the image nice and tight – you direct the focus onto your item, no one needs to see more background than they have to! Crop it tight.
6. Contrast – Again, if you have access to photoshop or something similar just adjust the contrast slightly to make the image pop off the page
7. Sharpness – Still in photoshop or similar – you can add a little sharpening to the picture to make it pop even more out the page – don’t go to extremes, do it little bits at a time so you can watch it change. No big changes please, just lots of little subtle ones!
8. Colour – If the colour is a bit lacking on your item for some reason, you can do minor adjustments to correct it – remember, you want it looking as life like as possible, the more fake it looks, the less people will trust you, beware adjusting things like this!
9. Annotations – If you have imperfections on your item, point them out with an arrow and comment the. It’s all about trust folks!
10. Spend enough time taking a good picture – it WILL be worth it in the end, I promise, and the rewards will be more cash in your pocket, from just spending an extra 30mins setting up your shots.
Anything I have missed or you don’t understand please let me know, hope it helps
Thanks, Chris Ridley 11thStudio Photography
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