The item photo is your first impression on a buyer. Think about it: when we shop in person, we interact with items by touching and trying on. In lieu of a tactile experience, you need to show people what you’re offering them. You might be posting awesome items, but no one is going to realize it if your photos don’t communicate that.
A great photo not only makes the item seem more real to potential buyers, it makes their desire for it more real too. A buyer is more likely to take you seriously as a seller if you have clear, accurate and flattering photos. So, how to put your best face forward? Before you snap a blurry picture of your item in a dimly lit, clutter-filled room, check out these simple rules.
Rule #1 – Isolate your subject from the background
Clear a makeshift staging area for shooting photos. Be mindful of the surrounding space and remove any visual clutter in advance. Busy backgrounds are distracting and if there’s too much going on in the image, buyers won’t know where to focus their attention. Use solid, neutral backdrops with minimal props – plain white or warm brick work well in a variety of different lights. Make sure your item doesn’t blend into the background (like a white shirt against a white wall).
Rule #2 – Natural light is your friend
To properly showcase the item, a good rule of thumb is to make sure you have plenty of natural light. Whenever possible, ditch the flash and the filter and bathe the item in soft, indirect light. Place your item near a window or outside, weather permitting. Your ideal shooting conditions are bright, slightly overcast days (the cloud cover will diffuse the glare of the sun and reflections will be more subdued).
Rule #3 – No detail too small
Take photos that accentuate the best features of the item you’re selling and capture the item from multiple angles. Shoot from the top, bottom, and sides. Zoom in and don’t forget to shoot a few close-ups.
Whether they’re good or bad, details are important and buyers want to know as much information as possible about your item before they commit to a purchase. This is especially true for any items that have defects. By including photos that clearly depict flaws, you give your buyer an accurate sense of the item’s condition. Detailed photos will help eliminate any uncertainty from your buyer.
Rule #4 – Stay sharp
Make sure that your photos are in focus. To avoid the camera shake that causes blurriness, use a tripod. If you don’t have access to one, you can keep a steady hand by leaning against something stable. Darkness makes for grainy images, so make sure that there is adequate light for the lens to focus properly. If you’re using the camera on your phone, double-check that your lens is clean of smudges (pockets and purses can collect crud!) and watch the screen to ensure the focus is centred on your item.
Rule #5 – Size matters
Image composition is really important. VarageSale’s item feed automatically displays photos in a 1:1 aspect ratio, so shoot your image with a square format in mind. This means that all item photos are cropped into a square, so try to keep the focal point (your item) centred in the middle of the frame and avoid making the buyer tap on your post to see the entire shot.
You don’t need to be a professional photographer to take photos that lead to sales. By following these rules, you can improve your overall experience and avoid having to field a lot of questions from potential buyers. High-quality photos are a great way to distinguish yourself as a seller and let buyers know that you have high-quality items.
What are your golden rules for item photography?