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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
A little at a time, I've been getting rid of things that I don't need on EBay.  I'd like my listings to look more polished, though, and I'm not doing very well with the photos that I post.  If I take a pic of the item sitting on a table indoors, there's always a reflection from the flash somewhere on it.  If I take it without a flash, the colors aren't true to life.  If I take it outdoors in daylight, the colors look either washed out or garishly inaccurate.  I don't really want to start heavily editing pictures just for selling some ten-dollar item.  Does anyone have any suggestions for how to make photos look a bit more professional? 
 

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Set up an area that allows you to drape a neutral fabric as a backdrop.  If you are using a table allow the backdrop to be long enough to drape over the table.  Use a picture frame or book holder to prop up items that need the help. =D  If you're going to do this outside don't do it in full sunlight, go in the shade or create some shade.  Again, have a backdrop so the item isn't backlit.
 

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If you search on Amazon for "photo light tent" there are several items in a large range of prices. You could also use the same idea with your own materials.
 

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Taking pictures outside you need to do on an overcast or in the shade or early in the morning or just before sunset (the golden hours) while the sun is low in the sky for perfect indirect lighting.  

I use to sew and sell children's clothing on ebay and elsewhere and  I preferred taking pictures outside for the prettier background. If I had to do it inside I did the backdrop thing with multiple, indirect lighting sources (I used dim overhead lights and 2 of  those silver, clamp on shop lights with lower watt (60) bulbs. The daylight versions if at all possible.

You want to fill the frame as much as possible with the item. You don't want a lot of background to distract and you want to get as much detail as possible to show.

If you need to take close ups or pics of smaller items use the Macro setting on your camera. It's usually signified by a flower (tulip I think)

Photos are key to selling online and getting the best price possible. A thorough but not too lengthy description is very important too.
 

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Never flash! As mentioned, indirect natural light works best. If you have a room in your house that has lots of natural light set up a table near a window and take your pictures when the light is good but not streaming through the window. A plain wall, sheet or table cloth with no pattern can make a good back drop. Also a white card (at least as big as the item) of some sort (I often use the box my mac book came in cause it is mostly white and stands up on it is own) place it on the shadow side and it will bounce light back into the picture.

I also create a montage of my items and post them on flickr, then I past the html code into the ad's main space and I do not have to pay for extra photos and it looks good. Here is a link to a recent item I sold as an example. You can also see the window reflected to the right of the jar... it is not distracting though...
 

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Some great ideas in this thread.

I was having the same problem with the flash reflecting off the shiny table top. I also had a problem with having the light directly overhead because you can see the shadow of your camera. Since I had small items to photograph, I placed a light colored sheet of paper over the bathroom counter and used the wall lights to illuminate it. Voila, no flash reflection or shadows.

Now, I have some larger items I want to photograph from the side, but I can't use the bathroom counter for that. I thought about using my kitchen counter, but the tile backsplash is too distracting. Any suggestions for me, guys.

Joyce
 

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Hey Joyce,

We kind overlapped in posting so take a look at my post above yours.

I will also add if you don't have a good space in side near a window, then look for a space out side that is shaded but not dark... a porch while the sun is not hitting it can work very well.
 

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Cuechick said:
I also create a montage of my items and post them on flickr, then I past the html code into the ad's main space and I do not have to pay for extra photos and it looks good. Here is a link to a recent item I sold as an example. You can also see the window reflected to the right of the jar... it is not distracting though...
Great idea!
 

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A garage With the door up works well too when it's bright outside the same way the porch does like cue chick mentions, and there's generally room to drape a backdrop there.
 

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My only suggestion is to edit the images a little to make them look tidier. Good luck to you. I tried selling baby clothes on ebay for awhile but never had much success with it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Some great ideas about lighting here, thanks everyone! I'll experiment a bit with your suggestions.

Shellybean said:
I use to sew and sell children's clothing on ebay and elsewhere
I've considered that... I used to sew theater costumes (long before Ebay) and I have so much fabric and so many supplies left..... thought about looking into Etsy to see how selling works there.

hsuthard said:
A garage With the door up works well too when it's bright outside the same way the porch does like cue chick mentions, and there's generally room to drape a backdrop there.
Um. You must be a very neat and tidy person. My garage has no such room. ;D
 

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You already got suggestions on a light box, so I won't comment on that.  I sell a lot of old books, games and movies on half.com, which is ebay's sister sight, and for that you set a buying price and you don't have to take any pictures.  Oh, and half.com gives you a reasonable shipping allowance.
 

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I've bought way more than I've sold...lol.  I edit...then post the edited pics.  431 positive feedbacks with probably 3 or 4 as the seller.  ;D
 
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