How to do Professional Photos for eBay
A Definitive Guide to Sell Better
Perhaps the biggest market for selling new and used products in the world, eBay relies a lot on images. Before a prospective buyer even gets a chance to delve through the description you pour in, the images have already more than made-up their mind. It’s especially true in the case of fashion items, accessories, etc, but is mostly a universal law – the better the pictures, the higher the chances of selling online. So what is the secret of taking quality pictures for eBay?
You could DO either of the following:
- Hire a professional photographer with a professional camera, and be done with your responsibility.
- Spend some time, a little resource, and get a setup for yourself that can get you quick results without the need for anyone else.
For those who would want to do it themselves, here’s the good news. There’s nothing like a professional camera for shooting products anymore. Not for the topic of our discussion – eBay products. Your phone is good enough to take very good pictures. The other thing you need is a light tent and a couple of lights. The light tent is perhaps the most important equipment for product photography.
Lightbox – The Base of Quality Product Photography
The lightbox studio is an equipment made of white fabric or paper that bounces the light off its walls for even illumination of the product while cutting out reflections from all sides. The product can be lit from both sides as well as top and even from the back or bottom. The backdrop can be of various colours, including white – the most common and popular background for eBay product photography.
How to Build a Light Tent?
Building a light tent is fairly easy. All you need to do is take a cube-shaped empty box, take out all the faces except the bottom one leaving only the corner 10% of each face. Paste white chart paper to cover the open areas, and your light tent is ready.
For a full tutorial on “How to build a Light Tent” please follow the link.
Looking for an Easy Option? Buy it Online!
If this is a long-term prospect, buying a durable light-tent will help. There are currently different sizes of light tents available on the market today, ranging from small to large. Some of them come with lights packaged with them. So all you need to do is put it up and shoot your product. It is truly as simple as that.
Most products for eBay, require an even illumination. Lighting the light tent from either the top, or both sides, or all of the above naturally provides illumination the product needs. In case you don’t have lights, professional studio strobes, or even continuous lights for photographing products, it is always ideal to shoot in the shade during the sunshine. Yes, find a shade, set up your light-tent and the natural light will do the rest.
Now All You Need to do is Shoot!
So now comes the question of equipment for taking pictures. All you require is a camera that can give a high-quality picture in decent to good light, and a tripod to stabilize your camera or smartphone.
The Option of Camera
You can either use any camera or a smartphone. Present phones are capable of taking high-quality pictures of 4000 pixels or more on the longer side. The quality of the photos is good enough, especially when adequate light is used. If you have a digital camera, it will do the job as well, perhaps slightly better than a mobile phone. A DSLR or a mirrorless camera can also, of course, get the job done.
The Need for a Tripod
A tripod can help you get stable shots with a timer mode on. It also helps in focusing and setting exposure accurately, which is important in case of product photography. It also avoids common errors of shake, which spoils the products, especially when using natural or continuous lights.
Setting the Exposure
Mobile phones now support some functions of manual exposures, as do digital cameras. The exposure in product photography for starters is about using WYSIWYG perfectly. Digital cameras, mobile phones, and DSLR cameras all have Live View Mode where the exposure will come out in the final image.
In DSLRs or mirrorless, or digital cameras with manual exposure, the ideal way to set exposure is to do so in manual mode. After setting up the light and focusing on the subject, put the aperture on a higher value – ideally around f5.6 for digital cameras and f8-f11 for mirrorless and DSLRs. Set ISO to 100. Now you can set the shutter speed as per the correct exposure required without any knowledge of metering when you do so in Live View.
For mobile phones, the best way of exposing is by touching on the main subject in Live View. The product automatically gets focused and lit properly. If it is more or less, you can use exposure slider. If there’s setting for ISO, keep it to lowest. There are also apps like Camera FV-5 which allow manual exposure. In such cases, putting the camera on the tripod and setting exposure like in above step, and taking pictures via timer mode is the best way to go forward.
Taking the Picture
Now that formalities are done, it comes down to taking the pictures. A few important pointers that can help in getting perfect professional photos for eBay are:
- Have a smooth plain coloured background. It helps in distinguishing product and making it shine and recognizable. Ideally, it is best to have a white background, but you can use different colours depending on the product colours. Various coloured backgrounds come with the light tent. You can also use simple chart papers as backdrops or PVC vinyl sheets.
- Have a 360-degree coverage of the product. A product well covered with nothing missing is important. For reference, check out other images for the product similar to yours will help. eBay, Amazon, etc. are some of the places where you can take references for angles.
- Cover 80% of the frame with the product. Crop as close as 10% to the edge of the product. Make sure you don’t crop out product though since in diagonal placement, plenty of frames will be empty and that is normal.
- Have a close-up shot of all the important details. It could be the details of the stitches of a cricket ball or design of a designer t-shirt, close-ups help in establishing the material and feel of the product. Close-ups can alleviate the product photography to another level.
- Have something to give reference of scale in case of products that can’t easily be identified. For example, if there’s a bouquet, you can have someone hold it in their hands to provide the reference of scale. You can also add a scale to the image giving its size, but ideally having someone or something recognizable truly helps.
- Respect the colours of the product. Don’t try to be over-dramatic in using colours for background or props. In product photography, the main subject is the product itself which needs to come out very well.
Getting a Smooth Coloured Background
With the light tent and the lighting setup device, we will naturally get the smooth coloured background. The background fabric will either come with the light tent, or you can easily use chart papers. There cannot be any wrinkles on the cloth, so if there are any, ironing them out before the shoot is important. Also, it needs to be cleaned to be more appealing.
Ideally, for product photography, a white background is the best way to go forward. It helps the product stand out with its colour. However, in case of products with light colours, you may take the liberty of having it on a black or greyish background. Especially in white products, it can be a problem and hence need some fixing.
Getting the Main Product Picture Correctly
Main product picture is the first picture that comes in the box next to product pricing and details on eBay. It is, arguably, the most important part of selling a product on eBay. Therefore, it needs to be a dynamic angle that showcases the product in the best way, and also makes the product more attractive.
For example, in case of shoes, an angle with one shoe having its sole facing the camera, and the other diagonally placed with one part over the previous shoe and other on the surface showcases the entire product in one possible picture that is aesthetically pleasing. A bit of research can help you find the best angle for the main picture for your product.
*image John Baker’s
Getting the 360-degree Pictures
Now that the main image is out-of-the-way, it is important to have all the angles of the product. Side, front, back, top, and bottom – all these angles can be taken depending on what kind of product you have for selling. For example, in a shoe, all these angles are possible. But in a kid’s water bottle, some of the angles won’t matter.
Some products may require additional angles to showcase its qualities, for example, if you are showcasing a candle you need to turn off the light to give it more details. The angle of the camera will depend on the way the shadow falls on the product you are presenting.
Getting the Important Details
Detailed shots or close-ups are required to give a complete life to the product by showcasing the stitching, the patterns, the designs, the clockworks, etc. of the product. Detailed shots also help the brand you have shot, for example, if you are selling a renowned brand like “Adidas”, you will like to take detailed shots of the labels as they are the USP of the product. Other examples of important detailed shots include zippers for jeans, fabric texture for shirts or clothing, ergonomic design for camera and equipment.
This post contains affiliate links. For more information, visit my disclosure page.
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Summarizing the Essence
In conclusion, shooting products for eBay don’t require any specific skills in this modern age of Advanced Technology. The only red line is that, if you are not an experienced photographer, letting yourself down from experimenting or going creatively. Creative product photography requires a strong knowledge of colour theory, design principles, and photography principles to use elements and colours to give more attention to the main product.
For most of the product photography for eBay, all you need to do is showcase the product and all its detail. And therefore in following all the Tips for Product Photography for eBay surely you will have the advantage and soon be an Ebay Topseller.
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