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eBay Hacks by David A. Karp

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How to Keep Your Item from Looking Pathetic

A simple approach to taking great photos of your items.

Simply put, good photos will get you more bids and more money. An attractive, clear, well-composed photo will excite customers and inspire trust in your bidders that you’re selling what you say you’re selling.

On the other hand, if your photos are blurry, poorly lit, too small, or too cluttered with junk, your bidders will not be nearly as impressed. Not surprisingly, bad photos will make your item look pathetic, and as a result your auction will get fewer bids and less money (if it sells at all).

Composition

Start with a neutral background, like an empty table or section of the floor. A little texture (like wood or fabric) can be nice, but don’t overdo it. Avoid carpet, which can make your item look dirty and shabby. And nobody is going to want something that is seen sitting in the dirt.

Tip

A shiny, reflective base, like a mirror or the top of a silver file cabinet, will make smaller items look like they’re in a professional showroom. A close-up shot with only a little depth of field, as explained in [Hack #56], will throw any unwanted background reflections out of focus.

Your item will be lost in the photo if it’s in front of a busy pattern or other high-contrast background. Remove all unnecessary clutter from the photo; it should be crystal-clear to your customers exactly what they’re bidding on.

Shoot from an angle to illustrate that you’re selling a three-dimensional object. An object ...

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