Guidelines for Photographing Your eBay Items
The idea behind using images in your eBay auctions is to attract tons of potential buyers. With that goal in mind, you should try to create the best-looking images possible, no matter what kind of technology you’re using to capture them.
Point-and-shoot may be okay for a group shot at a historical monument, but illustrating your auction is a whole different idea. Whether you’re using a traditional film camera (so you can scan your developed photographs later) or a digital camera to capture your item, some basic photographic guidelines can give you better results:
Do take the picture of your item outside, in filtered daylight, whenever possible. That way, the camera can catch all possible details and color. If you can’t take your images during the day, use a good set of true-color lights, either on clamps or stands.
Do forget about fancy backgrounds; they distract viewers from your item. Put small items on a neutral-colored, nonreflective towel or cloth; put larger items in front of a neutral-colored wall or curtain. You’ll crop out almost all the background when you prepare the picture on your computer before uploading the image.
Do avoid getting yourself in the photo by shooting your pictures from an angle. If you see your reflection in the item, move and try again.
Do use extra lighting. You can do this with your camera’s flash mode or (even better) with extra photo lighting. Use extra lighting, even when you’re taking the picture outside. The extra lighting acts as fill light — it adds more light to the item, filling in some of the shadowed spots.
Don’t get so close to the item that the flash washes out (overexposes) the image. The easiest way to figure out the best distance is by trial and error. Start close and keep moving farther away until you get the results you want.
Do take two or three acceptable versions of your image. You can choose the best one later on your computer.
Do take a close-up or two of detailed areas that you want buyers to see (in addition to a wide shot of the entire item) if your item relies on detail.
Do make sure that the items are clean. Cellophane on boxes can get nasty-looking, clothing can get linty, and all merchandise can get dirt smudges. Not only will your items photograph better if they’re clean, they’ll sell better, too.
Do make sure that you focus the camera; nothing is worse than a blurry picture. If your camera is a fixed-focus model (it can’t be adjusted), get only as close as the manufacturer recommends. Automatic-focus cameras measure the distance and change the lens setting as needed. But just because a camera has an autofocus feature doesn’t mean that pictures automatically come out crisp and clear.