eBay Photography 101

Photo StudioAfter the title, your item photograph is probably the next most important item to spend time on and make sure you get it right. In fact there is a good argument that photos are MORE important than titles and that more items are sold because of a good photograph than a good title.

There are at least ten thousand books on photography and at least one thousand of them are specifically for eBay or online selling photography,so for this article I just want to bring you the basics; try to make item photography seem less intimidating and help you get started on a budget.eBay logo

There really is no need to go out and spend $500 or more on a camera for eBay photos. Don’t let the camera manufacturers mislead you into thinking that you must have the latest and greatest 20 megapixel wonder to have good product shots. There are many digital cameras on the market now in the $200 and under range that will do just fine for now. In fact, if you are computer savvy enough to be selling on eBay, my guess is the digital camera you already have is perfectly sufficient.

What do you really need to get started? Your camera. Really, truly, that’s it. There are lots and lots of add-ons and accessories to improve your photos, but none, in my opinion, are truly necessary. In fact, I’ve seen several listings recently where the photos were taken by an Iphone or Ipad and those photos looked great!

Since we are specifically talking about specifically eBay photos, I want to give you the top tips that eBay itself recommends from their brand new Photo Tips Center. This resource, by the way, has some excellent ideas and advice for the beginner and advanced photographer both.

Here are the top Nine Tips direct from eBay:

Tip #1: Use a plain uncluttered backdrop to draw attention to your item.

Tip #2: Turn off the flash and use diffused lighting to prevent shadows and reflections.

Tip #3: Use a tripod to prevent softness and blur.

Tip #4: Know your camera.

Tip #5: Fill the frame with the item.

Tip #6: Capture all angles, details, and blemishes.

Tip #7: Show the scale.

Tip #8: Check your results before you wrap up.

Tip #9: Create a file naming system that makes sense.


Now notice that all those tips except number 2 & 3 require no extra equipment. For number two, “Use Diffused Lighting,” I’ll even suggest a free alternative. Go outside! Find a place on your front stoop or back porch out of the direct light, but bright and shiny and take your pictures there. For number three, ‘Use a Tripod,” yes, that is ideal but until you get one, try steadying your hands by using both, hold your breath when you push the button and smile, you’ll be selling enough soon to buy any tripod you’d like.


For tip one, “Use a Plain Background”, think outside the box. Poster board is great, so are those stand up ‘Science Fair’ poster sets. Or even a clean non-wrinkled sheet. You aren’t going for artistic flair here – just a clean look.

Stay tuned for more tips in part two and now, go take some photos!


This guest post is by Kat Simpson. Kat is a respected as a trusted eCommerce speaker, educator, and entrepreneur, Kat Simpson has been a successful eCommerce merchant for over 10 years; is a Certified eBay Education Specialist and Gold Level PowerSeller, who also maintains stores on Addoway, Bonanza, Buy.com, and iOffer. Currently Kat is the co-host of popular weekly eCommerce Podcast eCom Connections with Karen Locker of Luna Jardin and Mommysbazaar.


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