Taking great photos for eBay

I’ve been on a bit of an eBay trip in the last couple of days, so I thought I’d share how I’ve taken the photos for my auctions. Photos are really important on eBay – They’re the only way you’ll see the product before you part with your money, you have to gamble on the photo and auction text how much you want that item. Good photos will help smooth that part of the decision and hopefully get more bidders.

As I’m not trying to make my living, or selling a lot of one single thing, but rather clearing out a bunch of computer-related spares, I don’t have time for studio-quality snaps, but I’m taking care to make my photos as good as is practical in a few minutes.

  1. IBM laptop with a white backgroundGet rid of clutter. In this photo of the laptop there are (count them!) four different things to see – a table, a radiator (white), a wall (white) and a laptop. One too many for me, but it’ll do for the purposes. Guess what stands out?! That’s exactly what you’re looking for – a product that stands out at you as important.
  2. Clean is good. Which would you rather buy: a dirty computer or a clean one? Why? Because something worthwhile is cared for and thus cleaned. It says a lot about how you value the item how you present it, and who’s going to value your old computer higher than you think they should?!
  3. Light, light, light. Photography is all about capturing light. We’re almost programmed to like the light, so light photos and backgrounds are better. The graphics card photo turned out a little dark for me, but I didn’t discard it – I should have. Still, the light nicely picks out the card and emphasizes it. How can you get enough light in? Move away from the flash button…
    Instead, pick a nice sunny day and find a location where you’ll get the most light. For me, that’s our dining room. The blinds distribute the light evenly, but don’t dim it too much, the walls are plain and I can move the furniture around!
    If you still need more light, a little flash to fill in is OK, but maybe cover it with tissue to get a smoother light.
  4. Don’t break anything! Seriously, it happens! To make sure I didn’t cause damage more costly that the items I’m selling, I put the motherboard on a cork mat. You can’t see it in the photo, but it stops the nasty sharp bits on the bottom from scratching a nice table!
    Also, be careful with the item – you want rid of it, but in order to make money you need to take care of it for another few minutes.
  5. Take as many as you need. Photos on eBay are cheap, photos on your computer are free. Take a few, edit them to boost the colours, pick one or two or three that show your item at it’s best. The more expensive the item, the more a few extra photos will be appreciated.

Good luck taking photos and selling online! I’ll update this post with some idea of how successful my selling was when it’s over, but do feel free to check out the auctions before!