Whether you are posting on eBay, another auction site or your website, don’t underestimate the importance of a good picture. We are a visual culture. We make instant judgments about something from a picture associated with it. Advertisers are well aware of this which is why they invest a large part of their budgets on getting good pictures.
You should also invest some time and effort in getting a good picture of your product. Don’t rely solely on the manufacturer’s standard pictures. These are usually excellent quality but they are standard. A competitor selling the same item as you will probably be using the same pictures.

You need to give yourself an edge that will help to turn a prospective customer your way. I would definitely recommend using an offsite picture hosting company like photo bucket to add more free pictures to your auctions. These make all the difference and add information and value to your listing. They also add a personal touch which standard manufacturer’s pictures lack.

Taking a good picture has never been easier or cheaper than it is today. Equipment is cheap and there are many excellent photo-editing packages, which you can use to manipulate your pictures. I would recommend you get to grips with a photo editing software package. It will take a little time to learn the basics, but it will be time well spent if it results in well-taken pictures. And, like everything else, once you have learned the process it becomes second nature to you and won’t take long to edit your pics.

Good lighting is crucial to a good picture. Trying to take a photo under bad light will result in a poor image, which will put people off when they come to your auctions. Many people use light boxes, placing their item inside and taking the picture. These ensure the light is evenly spaced. A good place to take a picture is inside of a white bath. Place some white linen at the bottom and lay your item on it. Bathrooms are usually well lit, and the whiteness of the bath will diffuse the light.

Show your item from a number of angles. Use a pen or ruler to show its scale. If the item has any blemishes or is damaged, point them out. By using offsite picture hosting it won’t cost you any more to have a number of pictures on your auctions. eBay hasn’t figured out how to charge for this yet, no doubt in the future they will. For now, however make use of them. Here’s a few tips for ensuring a good clean picture:

• Avoid background mess. Have nothing in the background. If you take your picture on a desk strewn with papers and books then use a photo editing software package to cut it out. Your prospective buyers don’t want to see what’s on your desk.

• Make the item stand out. A plain white background is always good

• Use a pen or ruler to show scale.

• Don’t set the resolution of your camera too high or it will be slow to load. People are impatient and will click away rather than wait seconds for a picture file to up load.

• Point out any damage or flaws in the item. It’s always better to be honest and upfront.

• If you have a website, or are going to be selling online on a regular basis. Consider investing in a light box and tripod.

A little extra time spent producing a good picture will enhance your chances of selling your product. People will make a judgment about the picture. If they can see you have taken the time to create a nice and clean looking picture they will know you are a serious and professional seller. Someone who takes time over the taking of a picture will be just as professional in other aspects of their business. So don’t skimp on the pictures.

Paul is the author of the blog http://www.middleagedinbiz.co.uk. The blog discusses all aspects of starting a business in middle age. It also follows Paul as he runs his own business. He lives in the north of England with his family and dogs.