With buyers unable to touch the item before purchasing, photography is one of the key elements of the online shopping decision making process. For this reason, like most online marketplaces, eBay is a visual platform. Every item listing must have at least one item photo, which is shown prominently on search results.
Item photography standards vary widely on eBay. This is undoubtedly due to the mix of amateur and professional sellers using the platform.
Ambitious new eBay sellers should prioritize improving item photography to increase visibility and sales. When done right, it can also help to reduce returns too. With that in mind, here are 12 easy ways to take better item photos for selling on eBay.
Why good photography is so important
First impressions can make all the difference and this is especially true on eBay. After searching for an item or category, buyers are presented with a long roll of item listings. A good photo is the easiest way to stand out from the crowd. eBay claims that listings with better photo quality are 5% more likely to sell.
Secondly, item photography is also important to communicate important item features such as style, condition, size and color. Not only does this ‘sell’ the item to the buyer, but it also helps to set post-purchase expectations.
The item should be the star of the listing photo – don’t let the buyers get distracted! According to eBay, listings with white backgrounds will also experience better visibility in search results.
The background should be clean and clear of other items. A simple and cheap way to take cleaner eBay photos is to buy two sheets of white poster board and prop one underneath the item and the other behind.
Soft, white and even lighting is the ideal for eBay item photos. Not only does this make it easy to for buyers to examine the item, but it also provides a professional look.
Natural lighting usually works best. Taking photos close to a window is an easy solution. Shooting outside is another option. With the latter, you must be careful to avoid the harsh midday sun as well as sunrise and sunset.
For a more sophisticated solution, consider a lightbox or indoor lighting kit.
Capture important details
Show the buyer every aspect of the item. Photograph from all angles and include close-ups of features, details and patterns on the item, as appropriate. eBay allows sellers to upload 12 photos for free – be sure to make use of them!
Choose the main photo carefully
The primary listing photo is the most important of all. It has the most visibility within the listing and will provide the buyer’s first impression of the item. A primary photo should show an overall view of the item, preferably with a slight angle to reveal its depth.
Be sure to fill most of the frame with the item. This is easiest to do while taking the photos but can also be resolved later with editing if needed. With increasing numbers of eBay shoppers using mobile devices, it is more important than ever for items to be seen clearly within listing photographs.
Don’t hide damage
Always be upfront regarding an item’s condition. This includes not hiding any blemishes or defects. Misrepresenting an item can cause a buyer to have unrealistic expectations and result in a refund later down the line. If necessary, include close-ups of significant damage.
Clean items first
It may sound obvious, but you should always take the time to make sure that items are completely clean before taking photos of them. Paying attention to small details like this can make the world of difference to some buyers. Be careful to remove all unwanted price stickers, cleaning the area underneath as required.
Use a tripod
A tripod helps to reduce camera movement, resulting in crisper and cleaner photography. Available for smartphones as well as traditional cameras, there are various sizes of tripods available. Consider an expandable tripod to cater for both larger and smaller items.
Demonstrate the item
Help buyers visualize your items better by using mannequins, models or hangers. This technique is best used for clothing and accessories, though it is also important not to use too many props. This can be distracting and also confusing.
Using a point and shoot camera’s built in flash setting can cause harsh shadow and reflections. It can also wash out the colors of the item. It is much better to concentrate on creating soft lighting using the methods already mentioned.
Always check and review the photos before putting any equipment away. It is frustrating (and not to mention a waste of time) to have to redo photos. To avoid this, take more photos than you think you’ll need and review them before finishing the shoot.
Don’t overdo editing
While it is not a good idea to radically alter photos, using editing software to give an image a ‘final touch up’ can be helpful. Utilize the rotating and cropping tools as needed to ensure perfect photos. Be careful, however, not to over edit and change the colors of the item.
Experienced sellers, what are your top tips for eBay item photography?