Use Natural Light or External FlashA big burst of flash might seem ideal for spotlighting your product. But a built-in flash is usually too harsh (think of those pictures you've seen where glaring "hot spots" overwhelm the subject). Better would be an off-camera flash or a set-up with two bright lights.
Another option is natural light: specifically, soft and even - such as outdoors on a solid-overcast day, in the shade of a porch, or indoors next to a window. Make sure all key areas of your item are well-lit. Otherwise, with a subject in which one side is nicely lit and the other side in deep shadow: Use off-camera fill flash, or "bounce" light into the shadows with a portable reflector, a small white card, or large white poster board.
Still another type of lighting is "available" indoor light - i.e., without flash, strobes, or window light. Such conditions would likely be too dark with a simple camera and no flash. With an adjustable camera, try a high ISO, although the image quality could be affected (more noise/grain).
Keep Your Auctions Online Ebay Subject SharpEvery important detail in your product should appear crisp and clear. A soft-focused photo is especially noticeable when an ebay ad is enlarged.
Ideally, you'll use a tripod or other support (say, a table or the back of a chair). Also when photographing up close: If your camera has adjustable exposure settings and your subject has some depth to it, switch to Aperture Priority, and choose a high f/stop number for a deep depth of field (more sharpness from front to back).
Fill up the picture frame as much as possible with your subject. Do this for two reasons:
1) So your subject grabs the viewer's attention, and 2) because buyers like to see those fine details.
In most cases - except for tiny items - you won't need special gear. Simply move in closer physically, or zoom in tighter. Also, if your subject warrants it, be ready to turn your camera on its side for a vertical view!
Many eBay sellers fail to take advantage of multiple images to show off their wares. For example, after shooting the entire object, try zeroing in on an eye-catching detail or two. Of course, super-tight close-ups might require a macro lens, close-up filters, or extension tubes, or, if your camera has it, the macro mode. You also can use image-editing software to "blow up" a detail area, although poor image quality could result - more grain, less sharpness.
Don't Forget the BackgroundSimplicity is the key. Be on the lookout for bright lights or other distractions in your background that could draw attention away from your subject.
A backdrop can be helpful for smaller objects, as long as it doesn't visually compete with your subject (i.e., a brightly colored print fabric behind a wonderful yet subdued antique clock). Choose a plain fabric in a neutral color, or go with white seamless paper.
Get Ready to Upload
With photo-editing software, you can often improve an image by tweaking the colors, applying a sharpness tool, or boosting the contrast. Next, ebay.com offers this uploading strategy:
Lastly: Good luck shooting to sell!
Helpful Discussions for Auctions Online Ebay Selling
About Author / Instructor / Photographer, Kerry Drager