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eBay Tips: Photography Basics

Updated on February 1, 2013

A successful ad will have great photos. All of your ads should have at least one photo and a gallery. The gallery picture will appear in the search results when a buyer types in a keyword in the search field.

The Camera:

A good digital camera is an absolute requirement for eBay sellers today. PDXBuys uses a Nikon Coolpix L100 10MP Camera. It has served me well, but there are far more advanced cameras now available. There are many varieties of cameras to choose from. Find one which fits your budget and is comfortable and easy for you to use. Rechargeable batteries or an AC adapter will save you from debt and stress. There is nothing worse than having your cheap batteries die right when you are trying to meet the deadline for an important ad.

Point and Shoot:

The three cardinal rules of photography: FOCUS, LIGHTING, and SIZE

Nothing looks as bad as a photo which is out of focus, too dark, or too small! If your photo does not look good, then take the time to reshoot. A bad photo can drive down your sale price.

If you have your own personal photography studio then you are very fortunate. For those on a budget, improvisation is the key. Shooting outdoors in direct or indirect sunlight will often get you the same (or better) results as you'd get shooting under expensive photography lights. A small piece of colored paper will work as a functional background if you have nothing else. Remember that the important thing is the final result. You buyers will not know that you improvised as long as the image looks great!

I enjoy photographing small items and giving them a larger-than-life feel. A mundane item, such as this vintage Lesney truck found at the bottom of a Goodwill bin, can be given new life when featured in a carefully executed close-up shot. The narrow depth of field adds depth and makes the vehicle look larger than it really is.



1. Crop your ad as close to a square shape as possible. This makes the best gallery photo.

2. Make sure your pictures contribute to the ad.

3. Consider photo hosting services such as to help keep costs down.

NEVER post a blurry photo in your ad! Use of a tripod or simply resting the camera on a solid object when you shoot can reduce your number of blurry photos. If your first photo is bad, always take the time to shoot again until you get that perfect image.
Remember that photography, like playing the piano, is a skill. It will take some practice to develop a method which works. Be patient and experiment frequently. That random thing you do might result in a super photo. Make notes and try to repeat the technique the next time! Study stock photos taken by professionals and try to duplicate the look.

There are hundreds of books available on photography. Read a few and try to apply what you have learned. If you are very dedicated, sign up for a class at your local community college. Photography can be the most creative and satisfying part of creating your ad!



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