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Photography Question 
Carolyn S. Swadley

How to Take a Picture for eBay

Is there a trick for taking pictures for eBay? I am trying to take some shots of cloisonne. They are difficult as it is but when you upload to eBay, lot of photos distort a little or are fuzzy. Any suggestions?

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1/21/2004 11:57:53 AM

doug Nelson   Fill the frame with the object, if possible. With a film camera, you may have to use an extension tube or a diopter-type screw-on close-up lens. Place any camera on a tripod, or solidly on a table. Position two bright lights so that the lighting shows off your craft work. An on-camera flash is often too harsh.
You can go straight from a digital camera to eBay, but that convenience costs you some control. Open your picture in Elements or whatver imaging program you have and see if it's sharp, clear, undistorted, and has no blanked out spots in the lighting. You can improve the brightness and contrast using any imaging program. Sharpen the picture slightly, but don't overdo it. (Some digital cameras let you sharpen in the camera). If what you see is not what you want, the problem is in the shooting technique.
See eBay's instructions for the pixel size they want. Try not compressing in the JPEG mode at all, or very little. eBay's program will compress it still further.

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1/22/2004 5:38:05 AM

Carolyn S. Swadley   Thanks Doug, I am using a digital camera with tripod. So to resize photo it would help to have it in TIFF mode? Perhaps with the gold in the cloisonne the flash has been too harsh as it causes it to really pop out and perhaps cause some distortion also?

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1/22/2004 6:47:01 AM

doug Nelson   Considering the use of the image here, TIF would not do you any good (unless you want to keep 8 x 10's of your work). Shoot in JPEG at a very high quality level, and do whatever edits you want to do to the picture. THEN, size it to a resolution of about 72, and a pixel length of, what does eBay say, 450. When you save, an imaging program will ask you how much you want to compress it. Tell it none, or maybe 10 (Photoshop's scale, of 1 to 12).

You might also try just shooting a JPEG at the minimum resolution mode, but at the best quality, if your camera offers that option. See if that works for you. If so, it'll save you a step.

Try a piece of tissue over the flash if its too harsh. Distortion comes from using a lens that's not really suited for professional close-up work. Let's hope the distortion doesn't misrepresent your work or cost you sales. I wouldn't think so.

If distortion IS a problem, back off some so that the work is not so close to the edge of the frame. Then shoot at the highest JPEG resolution, and cut around (crop) the image later in your imaging program. Size the result to 72 ppi, 450 pixels wide.

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1/22/2004 8:06:13 AM

Thea Menagh
BetterPhoto Member Since: 8/9/2001
  Hi, Carolyn! Because cloissone is so colourful, shiny and made up of various forms of metal and porcelain, it takes a little practice to get a good shot! I've found a very simple solution to shooting product or things such as glass and china, where the camera flash may leave a serious bright spot no matter at which angle you take your photograph! It may work well in this case! I have various pieces of material (gauze, cotton, cheesecloth, crepe, etc.) and beautiful tiny scraps of see-through fabric I picked up at thrift stores. Covering the flash unit with a piece of this beautifully difuses the light and you won't get the blotchy bright areas on your photograph. Granted, it takes a little practice, and different types of photos will require different types of fabric, but it's great fun seeing the different effects you get! Hope this helps a little.

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1/28/2004 4:41:27 AM

Roseann E. Dreasher
BetterPhoto Member Since: 4/28/2003
  If it's a mobile piece I would take it outside on a nice bright day and shoot it in the shade. I have done this with several of my items and it seems to look better than with a flash...just my two cents.

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1/28/2004 4:49:11 AM

Gail Cimino   I have actually had good luck with jewelry and other small objects by simply scanning the object itself! Even if it's not entirely flat, if the object fits on a flatbed scanner (usually 8.5x12 or 8.5x14) place it on the glass, and instead of closing the lid, cover it with a fabric similar to what you'd use as a backdrop for a photograph. Light to medium gray velvet or other non-shiny material is good. Then just scan as usual.

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1/29/2004 12:57:28 PM

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