Avoiding Crap eBay Photos

I’ve spent most of the afternoon today listing items on eBay.

It’s a great idea getting a bit of cash for your unwanted junk (not that anything I sell is junk of course!), but it does take a surprisingly long time putting them up there (and then of course a long time packaging and posting them once they’re finished).

The part that can take the most effort is getting decent photos. There are so many items on eBay with crap photos, and I don’t want to do that. The main problems with other peoples pics that I want to avoid are:

Bad Lighting

There are so many listings on eBay that have really poor lighting, often to the extent you just can’t see what you are buying.

Out of Focus/blurry

A lot of this is also due to the bad lighting – exposure is so long that there is a lot of camera shake. It may also be that the camera doesn’t know what to focus on.

Glare from Flash

I have rarely seen a good photo on eBay that has been taken with Flash. A flash is great for lighting up a family snap, but it doesn’t show of a product well. Either there are strange shadows, or more often (because they’re normally close-ups) there is a lot of glare from the flash which ruins the photo.

Distracting Background

If I’m buying a product from you I don’t want to see a corner of your tatty sofa, or your messy kitchen table.

Hanging Clothing

It’s very hard to tell what an item of clothing is like when it’s on a hanger, or lying on a bed, especially in conjunction with all the above problems.

The method I used today worked quite well. Firstly I took advantage of the nice weather, and took the photos outside. This meant the items were lit nicely from lots of directions, and I didn’t need a flash.

Next I set up a dark blue fleece blanket on our decking, hung over a table lying on its side. I got rid of the creases and folds to give me a uniform backdrop. This of course was in a sunny place, with no odd shadows.

I set up my camera with a tripod. This probably wasn’t needed given the light levels, but in slightly lower light means you can get good photos without using the flash.

That was it really. Framing the well to show off the product well is important, but can also be helped by cropping.

For one item of clothing I get Abby to model (it was a maternity top so it was ideal), but a pair of trousers that don’t fit had to be hung from a hanger.

I’m no photography expert yet (as much as I’d like to be), but I think I got some pretty good results, which you can see when my listings start at 7:30 today (or I might post the pics here later). Certainly better than a badly lit, blurry, camera phone photo!

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