How to take great product photographs to sell on ebay and other sites, so you can maximise how much you make, and sell more quickly! We’ve written this guide on taking great product shots for eBay to help you take the best photos possible for selling your kit on ebay, but they are equally applicable for selling on other sites, such as Facebook, Gumtree, Etsy, Bepop, and others.

Used Canon EOS 300D (Silver)

Used Canon EOS 300D (Silver)

1. Check your item

Check your item for dust, or any dirt, and clean where possible. Giving your item a quick clean shows that you take care of your things and will give the buyer a better view of the items condition. Make sure you find all the accessories, as any missing items will reduce the value.

2. Prepare your area

Set-up an area where you will be taking photos, this could be a white shelf, window ledge, or table. If you don’t have anything suitable, then you can use an A3 or A4 piece of paper to create a white background

Lighting is key for taking great product shots for eBay

Ring light used for lighting

3. Think about lighting

Think about lighting, where is your light coming from? If you don’t have enough light, then you may need to consider purchasing some lights, or setup some additional lighting from what you have around the house. A simple LED panel can be used, but for better lighting you ideally want 2 light sources. Another option is a ring light, or even a DIY lighting solution. Good lighting will make your product stand out from other people, and will show the buyer the condition of your item.

4. Set your aperture for greater depth

Setup your camera on a tripod if possible, as this will allow you to use a smaller aperture, set you camera to A for aperture control. As a rough guide, here are some recommended apertures for better detail f/8-9 (M43), f/10-12 (APS-C), f/13+ (FF). For smaller items you may want to increase this further, so instead of f/8, you may want to use f/16, although be aware of diffraction.

Set your camera to Aperture priority

Set your camera to Aperture priority

5. Check your white balance

Check that your white balance settings match your lighting, as this will improve your photos as well as more accurately represent the colour of your items. If you’re shooting using tungsten/incandescent lighting, then using this setting on your camera will give you great looking colours, and your background should be nice and white, depending on your camera. If needed, then manual white balance should give the best results.

6. Use a macro lens for smaller objects

For smaller objects, you’re most likely going to need a macro lens, as this will save you a lot of time, as you will not need to crop your images. A macro lens doesn’t need to break the bank, but will be really useful, particularly for smaller items, like jewellery and other small parts. Our guide to budget macro lenses is a great place to start, if you’re thinking about getting one.

A macro lens helps you get closer to small objects

A macro lens helps you get closer to small objects

7. Smartphone tips

You will get better results from using a camera, be it a compact, a DSLR, or a mirrorless camera, however, if you do use a smartphone to speed up the process of getting your images onto the site you’re selling on, such as ebay, then be aware that almost all of the same principles apply, and lighting is key, especially as the smartphone has a smaller sensor.

8. How many photos do I need?

Take the right amount of photos – if you’re using ebay, then you can upload a maximum of 12 photos. If your product warrants it then use all 12 photos. Make sure you show everything that is included in the sale, if there’s a box, manuals, accessories, battery and charger, show this, as it will minimise the questions you get asked about the listing.

Detail showing corrosion on the hot-shoe

Detail showing corrosion on the hot-shoe

9. Include the details

If there is any damage or wear to the item, then make sure to show clear photos detailing this, as this will avoid disappointment, and also avoid people returning the item. If there are any issues or problems with the item you’re selling, make sure you include this clearly in the listing, detailing any issues.

10. Edit your photos

If you have time, then adjusting the brightness levels in photo editing software, like Photoshop can help, as well as cropping your photos, and will also give you a better result than using ebay’s own editing tools. A white background will give your images a professional look.

More reading

If you’ve got a lot to sell, and plan on doing more selling, then lighting really is key for taking great product shots – you’ll find some great lighting options here.