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How to take great product photos to sell more on eBay

eBay Photo Basics – Part One

By: Skip McGrath ©2009

This is the first in a series of short articles to help you sell more on eBay. Most new eBay sellers make the basic mistake of using poor photos.  This is a great way to waste money on listing fees.  Any experienced eBay seller will tell you that a good photo is at least 50% responsible for generating winning and profitable bids.

Take a look at some of these photos on eBay:


You can see a guitar that is selling for over $200, a pasta machine and a necklace. Would you be interested in any of these if you saw this photo?

These 3 photos exhibit three common problems.

1. Distracting background (Guitar). If the seller just removed the grass planting from the background it would have looked much better. Next he could have hung it on the wall instead of showing the floor. That would have improved the photo greatly.

2. Distracting background and poor lighting (pasta machine). Why not just set the machine on a table near a window.  That would not be perfect –but much better than this seller has now.  The problem with this listing is that there were several identical pasta machines selling for the same price that has perfect photos.

3. Wrong color background and Poor lighting (necklace).  The necklace is actually very pretty but it is grossly under exposed and the colors get lost in the background.  Again, just move the shot near a window to get more light and then use a neutral color background.


Here is a good example of a before and after shot with a distracting background. This is from a reader who asked me to review one of his auctions. The one in the before shot had no bids.


The other thing you see often on eBay is fuzzy photos.  This is the result of hand-holding a camera in low light.  Unless your lighting is very bright, the shutter speed on a digital camera will be very slow. So if you handhold your camera you image will not look very sharp. Here is one of my photos that I tried to handhold in poor light:

Notice how fuzzy the image is. On the right is an example of a sharp image where I used a tripod instead of handholding.

Notice how much sharper the image is. So the lesson here is use a tripod. If you don’t have one, then be sure and brace your hand holding the camera on a solid object to prevent camera shake.

The other issue sellers run into is reflections when trying to shoot a shiny object. Here is one of the most famous photos on eBay. Look closely and you will see an image of the photographer reflected in the photo.  Notice what he is wearing –or should I say –not wearing !!!


The way to conquer reflections is with very soft lighting. Try shooting near a window on a cloudy day or shine a light through some white rip-stop nylon to diffuse it.

One way to solve all of these problems is with an EZ Cube from www.ezauctintools.com. Here are a couple of popular models.


Look for more tips in Part Two.

Copyright 2009, Skip McGrath

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