What Should I Use to Take a Picture of My eBay Listing?

By Marsha Collier

Would you buy an item from eBay that you couldn’t see? Most people won’t, especially if they’re interested in purchasing items that they want to display or clothes they intend to wear. Without a picture, you can’t tell whether a seller’s idea of good quality is anything like yours — or if the item is really what you’re looking for.

Welcome to the cyberworld of imaging, where pictures are called not pictures but images, and your monitor or screen isn’t a monitor but a display. (Certainly your smartphone isn’t exactly just a “phone” either.) With a smartphone, digital camera, or scanner and software, you can manipulate your images — spin, crop, and color-correct — so that they grab viewers by the lapels. Even cooler: When you’re happy with your creation, you can add it to your eBay listing for others to see.

Don’t rule out using smartphone images on eBay. These days, pictures taken on many smartphones rival those taken on digital cameras. Consider the top phones from manufacturers like Samsung, Apple, and HTC. Many tech news websites feature a page that offers updated reviews and compares smartphone cameras head to head. Be sure to check out the latest before you buy.

Sellers, take heed and read these other reasons why you should use your own well-made digital images in your item pages, as well as eBay’s stock photos (when available for new items only):

  • If you don’t have your own picture, potential buyers or bidders may wonder whether you’re deliberately hiding the item from view because you know something is wrong with it. Paranoid? Maybe. Practical? You bet.
  • Some fickle shoppers don’t even bother reading an item description if they can’t see multiple pictures of the item for sale. Maybe they were traumatized in English class.
  • Taking your own pictures shows that you actually have the item in your possession — and shows the item details. By contrast, some sellers take images from a manufacturer’s website to illustrate their bogus sales. Why risk appearing suspect? Snap a quick picture!
  • Everyone’s doing it. Lots of digital images are de rigueur for items on eBay, so if you’re not using more than one, you’re not reaching the widest possible number of people who would buy your item. eBay requires that you use at least one. From that point of view, if you don’t use multiple images, you’re not doing the most you can to serve your potential customers’ needs; it’s just smart business to shoot the works (so to speak).

So which is better for capturing images: smartphones, digital cameras, or digital scanners? As with all gadgets, here’s the classic answer: It depends. For the money, it’s hard to beat a digital camera. But before you go snag one, decide what kind of investment (and how big) you plan to make in your eBay sales.

Whether you buy new or used digital equipment on eBay, make sure that it comes with a warranty. If you don’t get a warranty, Murphy’s Law practically ensures that your digital equipment will break the second time you use it.