How to take fantastic photos for eBay (and get your listings noticed!)

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and when selling on eBay, that can certainly be true! We all know that taking great photos is key to getting more buyers interested, and making more sales.

Recently however, when I logged onto eBay to search for a new sweater, I was quite shocked by some of the photos people were using. I have sold women's clothing items before, so I know that it can be difficult to do beautiful dresses and shirts justice, but I also learned the hard way that it is absolutely critical to take the time to get the best photos possible.

Why are photos so vitally important for online retailers?

Ever wondered why it's so important to list only the best photos of your items? The answer is really quite simple: because other than a product description, we have no other way of deciding whether the item we are looking at is right for us.

When we buy at regular stores, we can feel, sniff, listen to taste, and see the items we are considering buying. Online however, we rely 100% on our sight which is precisely why sellers must work extra hard to tempt their buyers with the best photos possible.

10 Top Tips for Taking Fantastic Photos for eBay

So to make sure all my fabulous SaleHoo members out there are taking only the best photos, I've listed my top 10 tips for taking fantastic photos to get your eBay listings noticed.

  1. Clean your items! This is especially important for those selling collectibles and second hand items, but applies to sellers of all items which can get dusty during shipping and storage.
  2. Get the lighting right. To really showcase your item, it's crucial to use the best lighting possible. You don't need to go out and buy fancy studio lighting equipment. The sun is an excellent source of lighting for photos, particularly the midday sun (even in winter), so take your items outside and get clicking. If it's impossible for you to take pictures during the day, you can just use a lamp or two and shine them directly onto the item.
  3. Use a solid background. A picture with colourful carpet or your lounge (and the TV on) as a background is downright distracting for buyers who are trying to check out the features of the item, and worst of all, it looks very unprofessional! Instead, use a white sheet of cardboard, or a photo tent which you can buy from eBay for as little as US $10 (just search for ‘photo tent') or find out how to make your own here.  
  4. Photograph from multiple angles, and include multiple photos on your listing. This gives buyers a thorough look at the item, and therefore increases the likelihood of them bidding.
  5. Use your best photo as your main photo which will show up in search results. This should be a photo which shows the entire item from a good angle - don't simply use a close up of a label and so on.
  6. If you have a shaky hand, use a tripod. This is essential if you are photographing smaller items which need very clear and detailed close-up shots. You can pick these up for next to nothing on eBay.
  7. If you are selling clothing, please, please use a mannequin. Clothing hanging from a coat hanger does not look good, and does nothing to encourage buyers who won't be able to see how it will sit when wearing then item.
  8. Set your camera's settings to a medium resolution. This provides excellent picture quality, while giving buyers a faster loading time. This is very important as it keeps them interested and prevents them from clicking the ‘back' button and looking at another listing instead.
  9. Make sure that the color in your photos accurately represents the items you are selling. If it does not, this is probably because of the flash, so have a play around with the settings, or try using no flash at all.
  10. Learn to edit. You don't need to be a Photoshopping-airbrushing whizz kid, but it does help if you can crop a few bits here, and adjust the exposure there. You can either use Windows Photo Gallery (this is often all you will need for basic editing),  the software which comes with your camera,  or use a more advanced program like Adobe Photoshop if you really want to make your photos picture perfect.

Use these tips to take the best photos possible, and help you boost your sales potential. If you have another great photo-taking tip, please let us and your fellow members know by leaving a comment below.

Also read: How to Come Up with Creative Ideas for what to Sell on eBay

Do you want to learn more expert tips on selling on eBay for a profit? Become a free member of SaleHoo today and get PowerSeller strategies delivered to you! 


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Comments (26)

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Ethan Murray on 20:50 28 Nov
Great tips for your eBay listing
SamSable on 22:27 28 Nov
Thanks Right now I don't have a manican so I have to use a hanger.
Chris Rung on 22:57 28 Nov
Great tips and very timely thankyou
Sharon OReilly on 3:11 29 Nov
Thanks for these great photo tips. Sam Sable if you do garage sales you can often pick up a decent mannequin cheaply I got one recently from a retired dressmaker for $5.00, very clean to. Cheers Sharon
Della 7 on 3:20 29 Nov
Hi, enjoyed your comments on photograpy, and I agree. I have been selling clothing on Ebay for a number of years now and use all that you have sugested, but I still have no luck with Black Items?? any suggestions. I always photograph Bags, and shoes on a red sitin background, they come up fabulous. I use a half model,but agree that a full one is the way to go.
esaleschina on 4:59 29 Nov
Good article ! Thanks very much ! But I want to know how to do the job in eBay ? Thanks ! Share the good pictures to you
jonbe on 5:58 29 Nov
Nice idea I don't have a manniquin so I have a live model with cropped idenity works well jon
steph on 6:48 29 Nov
Even if you don't have a mannequin (I have a half manniquin--a lot cheaper!)laying the item out on the floor is better than a hanger. You can position the arms and legs or whatever to make it look more attractive! ALSO, sometimes a close up of an item in the gallery photo is better than showing the entire item--depending what it is. I use close ups for a tablecloth, a set of 20 vintage christmas cards, a piece of fabric, etc. The close up is more atractive to catch the eye and then the first photo in the listing can be the entire item.
crespo on 7:35 29 Nov
that is nice tips for my Ebay business.
Manny on 7:59 29 Nov
Thanks for tip about the photo tent, before your article I didn't know they existed and the link on how to build your own is a nice touch.
Pontoon Expert on 11:24 29 Nov
Great Post! You need to make your pictures look good so the customer can feel like they are holding it in their hands.
Pontoon Expert on 11:25 29 Nov
My link corrected for above.
William L. Salmons on 14:16 29 Nov
I heartily agree, and already knew about most of the tips,but where can I buy mannequins. P.S Would it be worthwhile to use 3d photos, as I own a 3d camera.
JamJulUs on 18:45 29 Nov
I agree. I have looked everywhere for mannequins and have been unable to find them. I have found that laying the items on a table instead of hanging on a hanger looks pretty good too. I have seen people use mannequins without pinning and they look worse than if they would have used hangers!
Steve on 7:40 30 Nov
I use paintshop pro to edit all my photo's into one image for the ebay listing, works quite well. You can still then go on and use each image separately in the body of the advert.
SaleHoo on 16:02 30 Nov
Thanks for all your comments! Glad to hear you are all taking your listing
sandra on 5:22 1 Dec
a good tip for taking photos for black items is put your mannequin under the light in the room u are taking the photo in, l use my hallway its plain white and reflects well, use picasa which is a free program on google to lighten your photo, crop and also use it to sharpen your images which is so handy for the black items, hope that helps :)
Wholesale on 10:56 26 Nov
I totally agree with you and this is much more important when you are a supplier of clothing and apparel
Marianne on 19:18 27 Mar
I can't find the link, on how to make your own photo tent :( Am i just simply blind ? O.o
Irene Vallejo on 4:17 30 Mar
@Marianne: As mentioned, you can do a search online and will find a lot of tutorials for it. I got one for you - [url= ]Photo tent[/url] Cheers!
Campbell on 12:40 15 Nov
It's a great article..To make the pictures look good, the backgrounds that we use is also important.I bought some photography backdrops which made my pictures look pretty. I would like to share the online store from where i purchased the backdrops,
frederick gilbert on 16:21 13 Dec
very informative makes you a better seller from jump I am liking SaleHoo so far, great tips to advance your game from day 1 one day at a time one step at a time, but we will get there. also gets and keeps you motivated to learn more and do things you know you must do ,but may not want to do ,but it is a msut to do becoming a business slowly ,but surely.
bruno on 0:52 20 Aug
great info,is it better to take photos with an Iphone or an Ipad.
Justin Golschneider on 16:45 21 Aug
Hi Bruno! I believe the iPhone camera is generally considered to be superior for macro photography, so it would typically be the better choice.
Theresa on 20:27 10 Oct
HI! Wow, that was fantastic. Thanks you fro sharing that. Glad to see there re people that care on the internet!

Alina Williamson on 10:46 26 Aug
The author describes each and every single tip in a very good way. Love the concept. Thanks for explaining e-commerce photography tips so well.
Alina on 11:43 26 Aug
The author describes each and every single tip in a very good way. Love the concept. Thanks for explaining e-commerce photography tips so well.


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