Guest Author - DEBBIE MANGAN
Never has the saying "a picture is worth a thousand words" been more true than when referring to the photos you use for an on-line auction. Your buyer cannot see, touch or feel the item you are selling so your sale depends on these photos.
With that being said, I also want you to realize with a little practice and patience you can take great photos with little expense. My "photo studio" consists of a point & shoot Olympus camera (I think it is a 6 mega-pixel, but that doesn't matter because you need to resize for auction pictures to a size smaller than any camera takes), 2 yards each of black and white felt, a dress form or mannequin (because I sell a lot of clothing) and a photo-editing program. I use photobucket.com for all my photo editing and hosting but there are many options available.
Now lets get read to take pictures. What you are selling will dictate how many pictures you need. For example during the holidays I sell a lot of new video games and "HOT" selling toys. The buyer knows exactly what they are buying and the picture is not going to sell the item. I do feel that an actual picture rather than a "stock" photo copied off a website will help sell the item because the buyer can see that you actually have the hard to get item. In this case many times you will see a photo and a hand-made sign with the sellers user-id in the photo. That shows the buyer I have the item and I am ready to ship.
Unfortunately for a seller most sales are not that easy and the picture will sell the item. One of the first rules of selling is you need to know what you are selling, so you should know what views will help sell the item. When I set-up to take a picture I use my felt to give me a clean background, the buyer doesn't care about your wallpaper or family photo and you don't want background objects distracting them from the item you want them to buy. I lay the felt on the floor for jeans, I drape it over my couch for items like shoes and hang on the wall for dresses and shirts. I then "prop" the item I am selling (if you are selling clothing always make sure to iron if needed ), and snap away. Upload the photo and crop the photo eliminating as much of the background as possible, you want the item to be the only thing the buyer sees. With a little practice you will see how easy this is to do.
As most sellers I often browse auctions looking for bargains and a while back I found a NWT Abercrombie & Fitch woman’s jacket, the picture in the auction just showed a green blob on the kitchen floor. I bought the item for $3.00 including shipping, knowing that if this was authentic it was worth more than that and willing to take a $3.00 risk. I got the item, confirmed it was authentic, ironed it, took photos with it on my dress form, making sure to include views of the front buttoned, unbuttoned, the back, the inside A&F tags and the retail sales tag and sold it for $39.99 + shipping costs.
Just remember your sales will only be as good as your auction listing and a good listing starts with good photos.