In what feels like a previous life, I published a book on retro style for the home. In one of the chapters I explored the process of buying and selling retro items on eBay, where one of the things that I found was how the style and quality of the photographs can dramatically affect the final auction price.
Clever styling, lighting, shooting, and editing can really maximize your profits, and the BeFunky online Photo Editor helps make all of this even easier for you. Here are a few of my tips for making the most out of your eBay listing photos.
When preparing images for listings on eBay you should try and be strategic about your photo editing. Most buyers want to get a sense of the actual item rather than a photoshopped version that bears little resemblance to the actual product. To get a clean edit that won't make your photo look too stylized, start off by heading to the Edit panel in the BeFunky Photo Editor.
You'll want to keep your image clean from clutter by cropping the edges of your photo first, then turning up the brightness and contrast just a touch. You can then go in and brighten up your colors by adjusting the saturation under Color to help give your product that extra little pop of color to help it stand out in a sea of blah, aka your basic product photography practices.
While the advice in the numerous books and blogs written about selling on eBay tells you to make your photos as professional and uncluttered as possible, I found that a few characterful touches achieved the greatest results.
Most people searching on eBay prefer to buy from individuals rather than companies, so you don’t want your images to look too commercial. For example, if you have a well designed home, photograph furniture in situ (in its original place) rather than in front of a white background or garage. There are some great interior design Pinterest boards you can check out for inspiration, too.
After making basic touch up edits, I also like to sometimes group photos together to help people better visualize the product—a little something the BeFunky Collage Maker helped me out with immensely.
Think about any props you might want to include. Some, like the vases on this sideboard, will enhance the look; others, like this flat screen TV, do not. Also, avoid using any props if they prevent the buyer from seeing the product clearly, and make sure you state what is and isn’t included in the listing. If you do want to move the product to less cluttered space, avoid a patterned background and try to choose a color that contrasts with the product.
Glares, shadows and reflections make images look amateur and can prevent the buyer from seeing the product clearly. All of these are usually caused by a single source of light, such as a ceiling light. Natural light is usually much better for taking photos, so if you can, wait until a bright day to take your photographs. While we'd all love to be able to shoot at those precious golden hours, not all of us are so lucky. Here's a nifty little guide on how to create perfect light, bright and airy images.
If you need to use lighting, try two sources of light either side of your object. A camera flash can work well if the photo is taken at a distance, but if you are too close you'll get the ever-dreaded glare that you're (hopefully) trying to avoid. If you end up with slight reflections or glare, try the Flash Spot tool in the Touch Up panel in the BeFunky Photo Editor.
Shooting & Framing
In most cases, you’ll want the item you are selling to fill the photograph, but be sure to leave space around the object. If possible, you should also photograph the object at a slight angle so that the buyer can see its true depth.
Also be sure to include photographs of any details such as labels, model numbers and defects. Remember, it's better for the buyer to be surprised by the quality of the item when it arrives in the post rather than disappointed by unexpected problems.
Finally, a little top down shot to keep everything in perspective never hurt anybody:
Hopefully these tips will help you make a bit of cash before Christmas!