When it comes to selling your new and used items online, nowhere is better than eBay. Accounts are easy to make and listings are easy to put up with more than 182 million people in the world signed up to view your products. But with so many new listings going up every day, you need to make yours stand out. Where do you begin?
According to a study done by eBay, based on their 6.8 million listings at the time, a good quality photo increases the selling chance of your product by up to 5%. How do you achieve that? Here’s a list of the best tips to capture the best eBay product photo.
1 – Equipment
What equipment you use will naturally depend on what you’re taking the photograph with. Not everyone has a DSLR camera, but as long as whatever you’re using takes high-quality photos, you should be fine!
If you’re using a digital camera, I suggest you consider using a tripod. Taking blurry and unflattering pictures is no joke. When you’re browsing eBay and open a product page to find unappealing images and unfocused shots, you’re not going to stay very long. Not only does it make the seller seem unprofessional, but it obscures any detail your buyer might be looking out for. Tripods lead to steadier photos and allow you to try out different angles such as flat lay photography, leading to more attractive and detailed shots.
Of course, there’s nothing wrong with using a trusty mobile phone camera instead if you don’t have a digital camera. The built-in camera that comes with modern iPhones and androids are surprisingly sharp and detailed and can lead to some quality shots. A word of advice for phone photographers: shoot landscape, not portrait, where possible. For a full guide on how to make the most of your smartphone camera, check out our guide on smartphone photography for beginners!
And finally, some things you’ll need regardless of what you’re using: a white background and some soft light. Why? We’ll get more into that later.
2 – Lenses
This applies to digital camera, so if you’re a phone photographer, feel free to skip this one.
You might be struggling to work out what lens will produce the best image for your product photography. Put simply, you should only really be thinking about two: the prime lens and the zoom lens.
The prime lens is a fantastic contender for product photography because the images produced tend to be really sharp. Because this lens allows you to shoot at a fast/wide-open aperture, the camera produces a shallower depth of field. This isolates the subject, in this case, the product, from the surroundings, providing a sharp image and highlighting the product itself.
The downside to the prime lens is its fixed focal length, preventing you from zooming in or out. This is where the zoom lens comes into play.
The zoom lens tends to be the more popular of the two sharp and detailed photos of your subject close up. The magnification factor of 1:1 means that you can zoom in on your product and have it still in clear focus, allowing you to get those sharp macro shots that show off the details of your product such as texture or design.
In an ideal world, you’d be switching between the two lenses based on the shot you’re going for (taking a lot of different photographs is much better than just a single image!), but if you’re only going to have access to the one, the zoom lens is far more versatile.
3 – Use a white background
When it comes to making your item seem the most appealing on the long list of products that eBay has on offer, a white background is definitely up there as one of the most effective ways.
The first reason why a white background is fantastic is that it easily makes your product stand out clearly. In an image with a detailed background full of props or other images, the different designs would be distracting from the product itself, and might even make it harder to notice different details. A nice neutral background makes it easier to spot the design on your product and makes it the centre of attention.
The second reason is about professionalism. Using a white background makes your account or business appear more professional and gives the buyer the idea that you know what you’re doing. Imagine you were looking for a specific product, and find they’re being sold by two different people. One listing has a picture of a product against a white background, showing off the detail of the product. The other listing has an image of the product on the seller’s bed or a table. Which would you be more likely to buy? Which seems more professional? The one against the white background, of course.
Finally, lighting. We’ll be talking more about lighting soon, but white backgrounds reflect light much more than coloured or detailed backgrounds. The extra reflection helps light your product up, making it appear much clearer.
You can use mostly anything white to achieve this background effect. A piece of cloth or card can be used if you’ve not got a white screen for photography, as long as they’re clean, white and cover the whole background of your photograph. Or if you’re planning on selling a lot on eBay, a quick search will show several white backgrounds for sale on the website itself!
4 – Soft, diffused lighting is key
Settings such as flash are great in a pinch when you’re out and see something you like the look of. However, in product photography where things are a bit more planned and methodical, the case is different.
Leaving flash on or taking a photograph with the light too close to certain parts of your subject can produce hard lighting and hard shadows, creating an unattractive image with areas that can be hard to make out. By diffusing the lighting, your whole subject will appear bright and easy to look at, making for a more appealing image.
Turn off your flash and try to capture your product under soft, diffused lighting. This can be done by using reflectors, using a softbox or Octabox or by shooting light through a diffuser panel. Of course, if you don’t have access to any of these, simply bouncing light off large surfaces such as walls works just fine. Be sure to remove any objects that might obstruct the light as they’ll make the photograph darker than you’d like!
For more information on how you can achieve great lighting, check out our blog on evaluating your lighting.
5 – Try every angle
In the world of product photography, the best angle options for eCommerce photography will differ depending on your item. The real beauty is that eBay allows several photos of your product on one single listing. This provides the opportunity to experiment and play with different shots, including front angles, back angles and even macro shot.
To make sure you get the best possible shot of your product, as well as showing off as many details as possible, try different angles and upload the best shot from each angle as applicable. That way, the buyer is sure to see the selling points of your product.
6 – Fill the space
Make sure most of the shot is taken up by the product when photographing. If you leave a lot of space around the product, it will appear very small in the image, making it hard for a buyer to spot all the details. By instead filling up the space, it will appear clear and will be more eye-catching when a buyer is browsing through their search results.
7 – Follow the eBay photo requirement guidelines
As with all eCommerce platforms, eBay has a small number of guidelines you’re required to follow to upload a photo of your product:
- Meet the minimum photo size of 500 pixels for the image’s longest side.
- Borders aren’t allowed on any product photograph. The only exception is if it’s a natural bored created by photographing a square or rectangular product against a neutral background.
- Text and artwork, such as ‘Free shipping’ or logos aren’t allowed on images and should instead be used in the title, subtitle or description box of your listing.
- Stock photos aren’t allowed for pre-owned items. Catalogue items may be used, but not as the primary photo for pre-owned items other than books, movies, music, or video games.
If you follow all these rules, then your image will be kept up and your product will be sure to gain more interest! And remember, every listing must have one photo at least, but that doesn’t mean you have to stop there. The more, the merrier.
There you have it. By following these simple tips and tricks, your eBay listing will be sure to gather more attention, leading to more watchers and sales. These tips can mostly be used for any type of product, so don’t be afraid to note any down that you quite liked. The best way to take a good product photo for eBay is to make it seem as professional as possible while showing off every detail and selling point your product has to offer!
If you require a product photographer be sure to book with Splento today for a reliable, on-demand photographer at a fixed, affordable rate. If you have any questions get in contact with a member of the Splento team who will be happy to help.