Top tips for good eBay photography

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8 tips for good eBay photography

eBay is a hugely popular marketplace, and therefore is also an incredibly competitive place to sell your unwanted gifts or used goods. Rarely will you be the only person on eBay selling a specific item at any one time, so in order to make your listing stand out (and have the greatest chance of getting the price that you want) good photographs are key. We’ve all see poorly-lit, out-of-focus and messy images on listings and they are usually the ones that don’t have many bids! Here’s how to make your listings stand out from the rest…
Invest in a light tent
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Invest in a light tent

Invest in a light tent

A light tent is a translucent cube that provides even, diffused light which will help take your images from embarrassing to impressive instantly. They come in a variety of sizes and basic models can be picked up for under £10 – you’ll easily recoup the cost within one or two sales. You can even make your own using a cardboard box with the sides cut out and a roll of baking paper to diffuse the light!
Clean the item
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Clean the item

Clean the item

Before even picking up the camera, make sure that the item that you’re selling is clean and presentable. It’s no use taking a well-lit and technically perfect image if the item that you’re selling is covered in dust and dirt. A few minutes spent now could be the difference between a sale and the item going back into the loft!
Good lighting
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Good lighting

Good lighting

It doesn’t matter whether you’re using a top-spec digital SLR or a mobile phone, the secret to clean, sharp images is good lighting. If you’ve access to a large window, or a bright room, such as a conservatory then you can use natural light. If you have to add some light yourself then desktop lamps work well for illuminating small light tents – place one on each side shining through the fabric towards your object for even illumination. Larger light tents will require larger, more powerful lights. Most lamps are tungsten and emit an orange glow, so remember to set your camera’s White Balance to match your lighting or the colour of your object could be misrepresented – check your camera owner’s manual for details on how to do this.
Use a tripod
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Use a tripod

Use a tripod

Unless you're using flash or shooting in very bright conditions then a tripod is crucial. Not only will using one allow you to capture pin-sharp images of the item that you’re selling, free from camera-shake, but it will also free up your hands, allowing you to make fine adjustments to the position and angle of your wares. A remote release can be useful too, as sometimes even the press of the shutter button can add shake to an image.
Use a standard lens
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Use a standard lens

Use a standard lens

Nothing fancy is required – your camera’s kit lens or a 50mm prime lens is perfect for this sort of thing; sharp, compact and light. In fact, if you don’t own the latter already we recommend putting the proceeds of your sales towards one as a matter of priority – a 50mm prime should be in every photographer’s kit bag!
Choose a mid-to-narrow aperture
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Choose a mid-to-narrow aperture

Choose a mid-to-narrow aperture

If your camera allows for it, switch to aperture-priority mode and pick a mid-aperture; between f/8 to f/11 is good. Make sure that you focus carefully on the object and zoom in to check sharpness after you've taken the image.
Show them what they’re getting
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Show them what they’re getting

Show them what they’re getting

Rotate the item that you’re selling to shoot it from a variety of angles. This not only gives the buyer a chance to fully assess what they’ll be bidding on, but it also shows that you’ve nothing to hide, and could be the difference between them buying your item and someone else’s. If your item includes packaging and/or accessories take a shot with all of these included too. Anything that adds value will help your sale.
Pay attention to the details
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Pay attention to the details

Pay attention to the details

As well as photographing the object as a whole, zoom in and focus on the details – good and bad. A close-up image can help show how pristine something is. To the contrary, showing any faults or defects in detail clears up any chance of a dispute arising after the auction has ended. When photographing defects it’s a good idea to place an item for scale within shot, such as a coin or a mobile phone. Also, watch for reflections when photographing shiny objects.
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Give yourself the best chance possible of making a sale and getting the price that you want – happy selling!
Brought to you by Digital SLR Photography
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Brought to you by Digital SLR Photography
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