Good product photography is the key to putting your eBay listings above all the rest.
As users browse intently while trying to find their desired item, the first thing to pique their interest will be the first image on the product’s page. In fact, eBay claims that product listings with a high-quality photo are 5% more likely to sell than those with a poor product photo. That’s great! But how can you achieve this?
We explored the different tips you should be mindful of to take the best eBay product photography possible in a previous post. From different angles to light diffusion, we covered it all. Here, we’re going to take a more in-depth look specifically at the different pieces of equipment you should be using to really catch those buyers’ eyes!
Let’s get the obvious out of the way first, shall we?
Using your smartphone’s built-in camera is great in a pinch, especially if you’re not necessarily planning on putting many products up on eBay to begin with, but compared to a photograph from a high-quality camera, a mobile’s camera often won’t keep up. If you expect to be taking a lot of product photography or using eBay to sell frequently, investing in a good camera is the best first step.
Now, cameras don’t come cheap, but even a decent digital camera sold on platforms such as Argos or Amazon (or even eBay while you’re there!) will outdo your mobile. Investing in an affordable zoom camera such as this Sony Cybershot is a great place to start. Or, if you find yourself in possession of a quality DSLR camera, even better!
As always though, even if it’s not the best option, your mobile will work out if you’re on a budget or don’t plan on listing many items.
If you’ve got the luxury of using a DSLR camera, you might be wondering what lens is best for product photography. The answer is, if you’re looking to achieve the very best result, you’ll be switching between a prime lens and a zoom lens.
Prime lenses are fantastic at shooting static objects due to their fixed focal length. The lens causes the camera to capture a shallow depth of field, isolating the photo’s subject from its surroundings. This creates a sharp image where your product will be clearly in view. Due to the shallow depth of field, the setting won’t distract from the product, keeping all the attention firmly on what you’re trying to sell.
You’ll be using this lens for most of the photographs since they’ll likely be static objects from different angles, such as the back angle or the 45-degree angle.
The zoom lens comes in handy for macro shots. Of course, the fixed focal length of the prime lens causes such a clear and focused image, but you can’t zoom in! By switching to a zoom or macro lens at this point, you can capture the specific details of your product. This might be a logo, a design, even the texture of the material on something such as a handbag. A macro lens has a magnification factor of 1x or 1:1, meaning you can zoom in as far as you’d like (so much as your lens allows) without sacrificing any quality whatsoever.
When you’re browsing products online, you’ll notice most professionally photographed items will have at least one macro shot in there. It’s best to follow suit!
It seems like no matter what guide we end up writing, the tripod always worms its way into the list. There’s a simple reason for that, of course: its benefits are priceless.
Picture this. You’re scrolling through eBay looking for a specific product and all you can see are blurry images from awkward angles all the way down. Until suddenly you come across a clean looking image where all the edges and details of the product are clear. Aren’t you more likely to look into that product instead of the others? Most people will.
Tripods are truly a gift from the gods when it comes to product photography. Being able to spend time working on a good angle, focusing on your subject and taking a clear shot without the risk of a blurry or unattractive result is worth their cheap cost.
The tripod will also hold your camera in place, meaning any changes you make to your product, such as changing the angle at which it faces the camera, won’t be taken from a different position. This leads to more professional looking photography, which leads to a higher quality and more sales. Not to mention the new angles you can experiment with, such as the top shot. More details on what angles you should be shooting can be found in our guide on the best angles for eCommerce photography.
If you’re up to date on our blogs, you’ll know that using soft, diffused lighting in product photography is a must. Any harsh light will make your product look edgy, covered in hard shadows that conceal parts of your product and will just make your product look generally unattractive.
Furthermore, for the camera users out there, you want to be able to retain your photo quality by using an ISO of 100 while still shooting at small apertures. To make up for the limited amount of light, your product needs to be well lit.
Using two or three good studio lights (or speedlights if you’re on a budget) will be sure to light up your product well. If you’re working with a limited amount of light or are struggling to diffuse the light well, you can also consider using different surfaces, reflectors or umbrellas to increase your light generation. A more in-depth guide on lighting, as well as information on the three factors on determining light quality, can be found over on our blog post, evaluate your lighting in photographs.
Other lighting equipment
Having a good light source isn’t all there is to lighting your product up well. While your studio lights will cover the front of the subject, the sides and back will need a bit more work. For that, good reflectors, umbrellas and softbox are a must to achieve great lighting.
The size of the light source affects how well the front of your subject will be lit up. If your subject is large and your light source is small, only a small portion of your product will be well lit. A softbox or umbrella will both soften the light and produce a controlled or broader light source respectively, covering the whole of your product.
Additionally, the subject of a good product photo should be well lit the whole way around. Reflectors are a fantastic tool used to redirect light to the side areas of a product that would otherwise remain poorly lit. This ensures that even the edges of your product will receive adequate lighting so that the product doesn’t slowly dim, making for a more appealing image. If you’re working with a smaller product, lightboxes are also a fantastic way to reflect any light, while simultaneously placing your item against a white background.
Of course, while reflectors are quite cheap, being listed on Amazon from as little as £9, you might not plan on listing many products on eBay so might decide to skip out on the extra lighting equipment. Luckily, any large, bright surface will also reflect light, helping brighten your product up. It might not be as effective as a reflector, but it’s sure better than nothing.
How to make a DIY lightbox
Alternatively, you might decide to fashion a DIY lightbox using cardboard. This is easily done using a cardboard box large enough to fit your product inside, a box cutter, tape and some tissue (for the best results, you’ll also want a large white card or poster board. Here’s how to do it:
- Use a box cutter to cut the opening of the box off, then cut three sides of the box off leaving just one side and the bottom. Each side that you cut should have a small border about 1-inch long leftover, as this will give the box stability as well as giving you space to tape down tissue paper.
- Cover the outside of the new holes with tissue paper, trimming it so that it doesn’t drape over the edges of the opening where you’ll be taking the photo from. Tape the tissue down using the 1-inch borders that you leftover.
- Finally, cover the back and bottom of the lightbox’s inside by draping the white card or poster board. This will achieve a professional white background and also aid in reflecting light around the box.
While a DIY lightbox won’t achieve the great results an actual lightbox could, the effect is similar enough and much better than not using a lightbox at all. Just make sure to avoid capturing the sides of the box while photographing your product to maintain a professional look.
White backgrounds are excellent for a few reasons.
Firstly, they ensure a professional look, meaning more people will feel comfortable when purchasing from your shop.
Second of all, a white background isn’t busy or full of detail, meaning that there’s nothing to distract from your product.
Finally, just like with a lightbox, a white background reflects any light that goes past your product back at it, making it appear better lit.
These three factors combined produce a far better-looking product photo while increasing community perception of your store, which increases not just the chance that people will purchase your product, but also the chance that they might become a returning customer.
For more information on white backgrounds, check out our ultimate guide to white backgrounds.
No matter how great you think your product photography has turned out, post-production is always a must-do to make sure your final image is as good as possible.
From colour correction to lighting fixes, you can remove any imperfection your photo might hold. This can be easily done using free editing software such as Adobe Lightroom.
Making edits to your photo in post-production ensures a perfect final image to help boost your eBay sales by up to 5%.
Of course, learning how to edit using Lightroom can be quite challenging at first. If you’re not up for the challenge but still want a fantastic end result, Splento offers cheap and affordable photo touch-ups from as little as £0.49 per photo with a speedy turnaround of under 24 hours! All the information along with the easy to use upload tool can be found here.
When shopping online, customers aren’t able to investigate a product as much as they might like to. This can lead to unsure purchases, returned items, or even missed sales. 360-degree photography invites customers to have an in-depth look at the entirety of your product, meaning a customer will feel more confident in buying your product and less likely to make a return.
Turntables are easy to use and are an essential tool in taking 360-degree photography. Simple place a product on the turntable, take your shot and then have the turntable rotate your item slightly before repeating the process.
Not many products on eBay utilise 360-degree photography, making your product stand out much more. To me, that sounds like a surefire way to boost those sales!
With that, you hopefully have a better understanding of what pieces of equipment you should be thinking about using to take the best eBay product photography possible.
Most items on this list are quite cheap and reusable, making them a great investment for people looking to sell using their page regularly. The more you practice your product photography and the more you sell should hopefully open a wider range of photography equipment and techniques to you.
Alternatively, if you’re looking for excellent photography to help get your shop up and running, why not leave it to the professionals? For an affordable price, our photographers offer exceptional service worldwide! What’s more, we can tailor your photos to specifically make you stand out on eBay! More information, as well as the booking tool, can be found on our eBay product photography page.
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