We’ve all come across items on Ebay, Amazon, Etsy, or a random site offering products that have poor quality photos, and those auctions or sales performances often have poor results. It’s a shame that sometimes just a few simple things could make an auction look that much more professional.

Learning some basic photography tips can greatly enhance the quality of your photos, and your end price. From taking a quick glance across Ebay right now, here are a few of the common mistakes that I see sellers making:

1. Using a flash. This bleaches out the item and makes it appear white, flat, and boring. Turning off the flash and using some additional lighting around the items might be all that it takes.

2. Not cropping the photo or zooming in. Cropping the photo and zooming in on the product will give buyers that initial glance at the item that is so crucial. We’re talking about the gallery photo that appears in the auction search results, and that’s what buyers will be drawn to.

3. Camera shake or blur. A steady shot isn’t too hard when you’re taking photos in a brightly lit area, so make sure things are bright enough and that your arm is steady. Otherwise, you can set up a tripod to get the perfect photo.

4. Stock photos. While stock photos are often professional looking, for higher priced items especially, they can drive buyers away. If you have an item that other Ebay sellers are also selling, chances are they might be using that same stock photo. Taking your own photo will not only set you apart, but will tell the buyer that you mean business, and that you have the item on hand. Otherwise, they might think that you’re a drop shipper (which some buyers tend to avoid). Stock photos are also prone to being removed by Ebay, since permission is required from the manufacturer to use their photos.

5. The background is distracting. If you take a picture of your item on your hardwood floor, on the dirty carpet, have a bunch of kids toys lying around, or it’s just a general mess, this is a turn off for buyers. Have a solid color in the background for best results. Even better, choose a color that compliments the item. A fabric sheet will due the trick nicely.

Ebay also has a list of rules that they’d like you to comply with, along with some suggestions for better auction photos.

Here are 5 things you should be doing with your Ebay photos that will lead to more clicks, more interest, and more money for you:

  1. Invest in a simple photo editing program like Photoshop or Paint Shop Pro, or use the free Gimp editing program. A simple touch up and some cropping will pay off the program in no time.
  2. Organize your files and categorize them by folder. Keep them on hand for a year. You never know when you might need them. If space on your computer is an issue, upload photos to a free hosting site.
  3. Host your own photos, except for the gallery photo, off of Ebay. Hosting your own photo will provide the buyer with a bigger, more detailed photo, and will save you money on Ebay fees. You’ll also have the photos on hand for future reference and use.
  4. Take a look at the competition’s photos before you list and photograph your items. Make yours better, different, and more appealing to buyers.
  5. Include multiple photos of the item from all angles. Top, bottom, inside, outside, the tags, the zippers, the box, the receipt (you can black out sensitive information), the condition, any flaws (this will save headaches and actually result in higher bids in most instances).

Depending on what type of items you sell, you might want to invest in a mannequin or model for your items. Generally, items look better fitted onto a body than laying flat on the floor or on a doorknob. Other items might call for a pedestal, a large table, or other surface to compliment the items.

With the right photos in your auctions, buyers are a lot more likely to buy it now instead of waiting for the auction to end. The better your photography, the more money you’ll make. The downside? Your family and friends might be bugging you to take photos of their kids, dog, or maybe even their auction items.

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