How to Sell on Ebay :: Part Two

 Selling on eBay


Recap:  In Part One I explained how to list, price and describe your items to increase the chances of eBay success.

My experience as a fine art photographer has given me a lot of knowledge in this aspect of selling on eBay.  Taking appealing photos really isn’t all that difficult.  You don’t need an expensive camera or a fancy set up.

What you will need:

  • A camera.  Of course if you have a high quality camera, use that, but it’s not necessary.  More often than not, I use the camera on my iPhone 5.  
  • A neutral background or surface.  For eBay, I use a tan couch I have in my office.  If you don’t have a good neutral background, use a sheet or blanket for a nice background.  Just make sure whatever you use isn’t wrinkled or stained!
  • A clean, uncluttered area.
  • Good lighting!  This is key.  Proper lighting can make or break product photography.  Natural light is the best, but if you need to use artificial light, use daylight bulbs (5000K).  These bulbs will give the most natural looking light.  Side note: do not use a camera flash!
  • Make sure the area and the item to be photographed looks presentable.  Use a lint roller if the item has any fuzz or lint on it.  If the item is wrinkled then iron it.

Taking the photos:

If you are photographing a garment, lay it out in the most natural position possible.  Try to avoid laying it down horizontally – I drape garments along the back of my couch [so they are laid out vertically].  I avoid using hangers unless the item has no shape, then a hanger is a good idea.  If the garment has stretch, try to avoid over stretching it, otherwise it could look ten sizes too big.

Example of a Listing’s Main Image

The first photo you will take is going to be the listing’s main image.  Take this photo head-on and level to the garment.

Take multiple close-up photos.  Avoid using your camera’s zoom because that can cause the image to get blurry and pixelated.  Instead, move your body closer.  Photograph various selling points such as lace detail, accent buttons, etc.

Play with angles.  Take photos that play up the fun textures.

Example of Playing with Angles

Instead of relying on cropping later, take photos that won’t need cropping.  Fill the frame with your item.

Take a couple of photos for each angle so you can choose the best one.

Lastly, make sure the photos aren’t blurry!  If they are blurry, make sure your camera is properly focusing on the subject and stand still!  Slight movement while taking the photograph can cause the image to come out blurry.

Editing the photos:

When it comes to editing, I often do very simple edits.  Contrary to what you might think, you do not need fancy photo editing software for this part.  I typically use iPhoto for my eBay images.

First thing to do is make sure the photo is straight.  I will look within the photo and find a line that I know should be straight, such as a window, and straighten the image based on that.  If you must crop the photo, now is the time to do it.

After that, I will adjust the exposure [or brightness].  I typically increase the exposure until it looks pleasing to the eye.  Since each photo is different, there is no ‘correct’ amount of adjusting.  Sometimes it’s a lot, other times the exposure is perfect already.  Make sure that any whites don’t get “blown out” [aka too white].

Next, adjust the contrast.  It is very important that you do not go overboard increasing the contrast.  If you increase it too much, the colors will become distorted and you will end up with an unsatisfied customer.  While the item is physically in front of you, adjust the contrast until the colors in the photo match the colors in person.  Color accuracy is huge!

I don’t typically touch saturation – That’s how you get orange skin tones and fluorescent colors.

Sometimes I will play around with the “highlights” option.  It can help tone down overexposed areas.  If your program doesn’t have that option, or you can’t find it, it’s not a big deal.

Once I think I might be done editing, I look at the images and ask myself, “If I saw this image, would I want to buy this item?”  Hopefully you’ll say “heck yes!” but if you aren’t so sure, play around the settings a bit more.  It’s normal for me to go back and adjust the image multiple times until I feel like it looks its best.

And that’s it!  Your edited image should look bright, accurate and pleasing to the eye.  As you become more experienced with taking photos and editing them, you might even find some of your own tips and tricks!  

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