How to take better Ebay photos with your iPhone
I buy and sell fairly frequently on Ebay and as I was teaching a friend, how to Sell on Ebay, he made the very astute observation, that most of the photo’s on Ebay look like they have been taken with a “crappy” camera phone, and that you couldn’t really see the products very well. I told him that Ebay has a great mobile App that lets you post straight from your phone to their site and many people use this feature. Also, even if you are using a desktop or laptop to post your images, using a smartphone or iPhone is a convenient way to organize your images and the resolution is just the right size. In my experience, having many detailed pictures, that are clear, will boost your sales considerably. It also seems like Ebay agrees, they have released an announcement that, starting on July 2, up to 12 pictures will be free for all sellers. I told him, I myself have used my iPhone for my Ebay images. He then asked, “why do your images look better than others taken with the same iPhone camera?” Here is my secret!
First this is a list of items and prerequisites you will “need to succeed”:
- iPhone or camera phone
- Read my article of how to take sharper images with iPhone or smartphone
- 1-2 pieces of 32″ x 40″ white foam core (poster board) Like this:
- Large work table or work area (preferably waist-high for comfort)
- Item you are going to sell
- “Open shade” lighting source
- **Optional for iPhone only** ear buds with volume control
**Note** This technique is among the easiest and quickest ways to make product photos with your iPhone. It will cover most products and items that you will likely be selling, but there are a few items that will be trouble some, such as very detailed “light-colored” jewelry, very small items that are highly reflective, to name a few. If you run into items that are proving difficult with this technique, please contact me and I’d be happy to give you some alternative methods or help you get a good image.***
- First you want to set up in your “open shade” lighting environment. Pick a place such as next to a window, under an awning, or on the shade side of a house, where the lighting is soft, uniform, and won’t change much in the time it takes you to make these images. If you have large windows inside your home as I do, I find this to be the best situation, since you will be indoors and be more comfortable.
- Set up your table or work surface by placing your foam core white side up, if you have a two-tone board, on the table. Make sure that the long edge 40″ inches is going away from you. If your foam core is larger than your table or work area please be sure to “know” where your table stops, so you won’t flip your item and the foam core off the end of the table.
- Place your item close to you about 8-18″ inches from the edge of the foam core. We want to do this because you want to have as much white foam core board behind the item as possible.This will give you an even background.
- Either using the back of a chair or the edge of the table as in the article I wrote. Brace or anchor your iPhone and point it at the item. Here you may need to adjust the placement of the item and/or rotate it. The goal is to get the angle of your iPhone high enough so that there is a minimal but uniform amount of white around your item. If you are using your iPhone in horizontal position. I would suggest having the lens be on the top in your left hand so you can take the picture with your right thumb.
- When your framing is correct you can tap on the screen where you want to the camera to focus. I suggest, focusing on the areas with great detail or that you are trying to accentuate.
- All that’s left is to slowly breath out and take the picture with either your thumb, or the ear buds. I prefer the ear buds because I can have my right hand free to move the item around, brace my phone, and then take the shot with out vibrating the iPhone.
- Now that you’ve gotten a general image of the item, Take a bunch of detailed images, such as blemishes, cracks, chips. Also, take images that highlight a special feature about the item you are selling. You be selling a watch with a very ornate face. Get close up and show off the detail. You can easily do this by placing your iPhone about 3 inches away from the item and using the opposite of a pinching motion to zoom into the detail. Remember you don’t want to be too close to the item because, the camera can’t focus that close and most likely you will be blocking the lighting.
- Lastly, you want to make sure that all your images are oriented in the right way. What annoys me most is an image on Ebay that was taken with a iPhone that is to the side and not rotated in the right way. You have to angle your head to the side and it really bother’s me that the seller didn’t take the time to orient the picture in the right way. It only takes a second and will give a better impression then a lazy seller that doesn’t really care about the item or selling it. To rotate your images, go to your camera roll and look for images that are rotated in the wrong way. This most often happens when you take a shot with your iPhone horizontally. Maybe the auto rotate option wasn’t set, but whatever the reason the fix is easy. You stop on the image you want to change and on the upper right hand corner there is an EDIT button. Press this button, and then you will see a rotate button on the bottom left hand side. Click this button until the rotation is set where you want. Also, there is a magic wand icon to the right of the rotate button, this is the auto enhance button. It will adjust the image with contract, saturation, etc. to make the image look better. I usually press is to see what it does, but most of the time I just use what I had originally. After all he edits are done, click on save at the upper right hand side of the screen and you’re done.
- Now you’re ready to download the images to your computer or use them right from your phone in the Ebay App. Yea!!
**Notes** If you have items that are mostly white or light you can use a black or grey foam core instead of White. Although the great is harder to find. If you have items that are really tall that stand up such as a vase, you can use the second piece of foam core braced up and down (shaped like and L) as a backdrop. You may see the seem where the two foam cores meet but if you tape them together its less noticable. Also, if you have an item that is really dark in the front you can use a smaller 11×14 white foam core to bounce light onto the front of the item to lighten it up. *** Good luck and Happy Picture Taking!!
Use the comments to share your techniques on how to take better Ebay Photos
As always any and all comments welcomed!!