08/18/2019 at 10:31 pm #66528wendalina22Participant
Let me start with I sell on Etsy not eBay. So photos matter. But I have a sizable death pile I’m working through but I’m finding it takes so much freakin time to edit each photo that it’s killin my flow. So my comment/ question here is, I know we all want pretty photos but is it better to just get it up and listed or should I take the time and make them look pretty. I have a pretty curated shop so I was thinking of just editing the first photo. I just want this pile gone. Are sales really that much more affected? Whatcha all think? I even tried presets on Lightroom. I didn’t think it was any faster honestly because I still had to go one by one.
North Fork Vintage
08/19/2019 at 12:17 am #66533
I don’t know about etsy, but for ebay the photos do not have to be even close to fantastic. Stuff will sell anyway, as long as the photos aren’t horrible. I don’t do any kind of editing for most photos, except cropping. For <1% of photos, I might use the lighter/darker adjustment. I’d love to try out some fancy (but easy) software to do color correction, but I’m too lazy to do the research to figure out which tool to use, and in the meantime, things keep selling. Of course, I do spend some time upfront changing around backgrounds if I see that the color is coming out completely wrong when I photograph an item on my usual grey background.
It would be much easier to answer your question if you posted an edited and unedited version of the same photo – but I ask this somewhat selfishly b/c I’m very curious as to what photo editing can actually do.
08/19/2019 at 6:11 am #66536
Agree with Sonia. On etsy, there seems to be a striving for perfection. eBay is a marketplace. Just snap photos and list.
08/19/2019 at 8:54 am #66542
Also agree with Sonia and Jay but with a slight twist. Most cell phone cameras have gotten sophisticated and have many adjustments even in automatic mode. Most, including ours even switches over to “manual mode” which it then works just like a 35mm SLR camera which we used to use.
While you don’t have to go as far as manual, controling the shutter speed, aperature opening, knowing to watch for depth of field, adjusting the ISO and white balance setting, it does not hurt to know about these.
So the point is, we do no editing at all, both myself, Susan and one of our helpers can take photos as we go and they come out pretty well. Good enough for both Ebay, etsy and our own store.
Like Sonia we do have a quick grab shelf with a few props that Susan throws on the first photo to dress the item up for Etsy, and several rolled up backgrounds we can drop down in 3 seconds along with photo lighting around our photo table. This gives “stable” lighting rather than natural light which causes some color issues for many products and with clouds passing over, causing brightness changing constantly.
So learn a little about your camera settings, get a few backgrounds, use proper stable lighting and shoot the items so that you don’t have to come back and edit. Some sellers even shoot using a wireless connection to their computer so that as they shoot photos, they are sent directly to their photo storage area, ready to be attached when you create your listing.
Just some food for thought. Shoot to use not to have to edit.
mike at MDC Galleries and Fine Art
08/19/2019 at 9:32 am #66552Steven SParticipant
- Location: South Dakota
You’ll get faster.
No matter the platform, better photos help you stand out from the crowd.
I go for the most flattering angles and lighting and I crop edit all my photos.
08/19/2019 at 9:46 am #66554
Personal opinion, the first photo grabs attention and the other photos provide more details. So, the first photo needs to be very good, if not then edit or reshoot, additional photos do not necessarily have to be as good as long as they clearly show what you want shown.
08/19/2019 at 12:25 pm #66565chaoticgoodParticipant
- Location: Kansas City, MO
Are there things about your photo setup that make retouching/editing necessary? Could you mitigate some of that?
For me, I find my iPhone 6 and iPhone 10 both take acceptable photos with natural light on a neutral background. I will often increase the Brightness, Saturation and/or Contrast on most photos in the photo app on the phone. I don’t usually use any other app for images. It doesn’t take long when you are in the groove of correcting photos for 5-10 items.
I’m agreeing that your first photo should be the best. I will add that if you are crossposting automatically to Pinterest from Poshmark (where my focus is), it will probably take the first three photos for the image.
08/19/2019 at 2:28 pm #66576
Hey, chaoticgood, I see you are from Kansas City. I grew up in the KC area and now live in a small town about 70 miles SSE.
I sell many of my items on Amazon as well as eBay and web store, Amazon requires a plain white background on the main photo so that is what I also use on eBay. It only takes me a few minutes to strip out the plain neutral background I use, and they do look better for most of my items, but I’m not selling soft goods like clothes which might take more work.
08/20/2019 at 2:32 pm #66647InglewoodParticipant
I use to edit every photo, now I spend the time to make the first photo look amazing, and decide to edit the others depending on the item (high price items – $50 or more – I still edit everything).
I have found that if I take 1000 or so photos, then edit them all at once, I get REALLY fast in editing.
I don’t use props other then mannequins for clothing, or a Styrofoam head for hats. A white background is easy for photo editing programs to work with and edit out.
08/27/2019 at 10:40 pm #66918
I taught myself Pixlr and started using it to get that completely white background. But getting some of the edges just right took hours!
I found someone on Fiverr that does 15 photos for $5 and stopped doing this job. It was a relief.
Nonetheless I still spend a lot of time getting just the right photo. So do my competitors.
- This reply was modified 1 year, 3 months ago by gregsandiego.
08/28/2019 at 10:31 am #66958
What kinds o things are you selling? $5 per listing (12 photos on eBay) would get expensive. Or do you have a handful of SKUs that you just replenish?
08/27/2019 at 11:30 pm #66921
Anybody willing to post a pair of before and after photos to show what their editing accomplishes?
08/28/2019 at 9:44 am #66940
08/28/2019 at 10:43 am #66966
08/28/2019 at 5:32 pm #67020
Thanks Amatino and Inglewood. The “after” photos sure do look a lot more professional. I didn’t realize you could do that much with post processing, as opposed to just having a fancier camera/lighting setup. Something for me to consider.
08/28/2019 at 6:11 pm #67024
I sell NOS auto parts, they don’t have to be as nice as photos of other products but I do want the main photo to “pop”, and also hopefully the buyer will compare to the existing part. It takes me about 5 minutes to shoot, crop, and upload.
08/28/2019 at 7:12 pm #67032
All you did was crop the original photo? Your “after” photo looks so much sharper than the original.
08/28/2019 at 8:56 pm #67051
I did use a sharp mask to bring out some detail, I find that usually helps with the results from my 15 year old cheap camera. One of these days I will redo my photo booth setup and enable shooting down from the top, but this has been good enough for many years now.
08/28/2019 at 8:56 pm #67052
@sonia All I use is MS Office Picture Manager and sometimes MS Paint. No expensive software or hard-to-learn programs. I tried some of the others, but the learning curve eventually annoyed me and I went back to my TNT. They work. Ain’t broke, right?
Only problem is you have to hack the suckers to load them, nowadays. I did post a hack for Picture Manager, search for it on the Forum.
08/28/2019 at 10:01 pm #67057
Thanks for the info, Amatino. I’m on a mac, so MS software won’t work for me. For me the time to do photo editing other than cropping wouldn’t be worth it until I see an example of being able to fix some annoying color issues I have from time to time (using iphone6 camera in natural light).
For example, none of these 3 photos is quite the correct shade of pink.
In this second example, one of my backgrounds did result in the right color (the one where the jacket is hanging on a wooden wall).
But it’s really annoying to keep having to try different backgrounds to get the right color. And don’t get me started on fancy camera color balance features. A few years ago I purchased an SLR and played around with taking a photo of the white sheet of paper to set the color balance, plus futzing with other adjustments. Nothing really worked. That camera is sitting in a drawer somewhere waiting for me to list it.
08/29/2019 at 8:50 am #67073
Generally, a neutral gray background is the best to avoid a color shift, neutral gray being a light to medium gray. I use an old gray bedsheet for items too big for my tabletop photo booth. A solid background is better than one that is cluttered or patterned.
Looking at the last 2 photos I did last night, the creation times are 6:10 and 6:11, the last modified date of each is 6:12. That includes both cropping out the background and resizing to 1000 width.
I think most viewers aren’t going to notice the minor photo issues that we see and those are what take the most time to clean up. 2¢
08/29/2019 at 12:34 pm #67096
Old Dad – funny you should suggest a grey background. I actually do have a medium gray background that I use for smalls and shoes that works pretty well most of the time, but isn’t large enough for clothes. Maybe I should bite the bullet and just spend a few dollars on a grey sheet.
08/29/2019 at 2:56 pm #67107
Sonia, I have used a gray bed sheet for the background of larger objects and it worked well enough for editing.
08/29/2019 at 5:10 pm #67113
Sonia go to Hobby Lobby or Jo Ann’s Fabrics and get felt. What we bought was 60″ wide by only $.99 per YARD. We got a very light grey, white and a royal blue for clear glass and white items.
The reason for felt is that you can use velcro [pardon me] and stick it up on the wall anywhere. The felt texture sticks to the hard hook side of the velcro. Also felt does not wrinkle or crease like a cotton sheet does. And at 60 ” is more than enough to provide a solid back ground. Want to change the color, just pull on the top edge where you have the velcro on the wall and pull, grab another color, stretch it across and push with your thumb. Easy Peazy.
You can even put all three colors up on the wall one above the other and just roll up the two you are not using. Then unroll another color when needed. AND use a narrow, thin band of velcro to hold the 2 you are not using rolled up. Sort of like having three window shades on top of each other.
Just an idea… 🙂
Mike from MDCGFA
08/29/2019 at 5:26 pm #67116
thanks, Mike! Felt sounds like a great idea – especially to avoid the wrinkles of sheets. I list in my living area, so velcro won’t work b/c I don’t want random strips of velcro on my walls :). But I usually take flat lay photos, so I can just lay it down on the floor and roll it up when I’m done. Yay – now I can’t wait to go buy some and try it out.
08/29/2019 at 5:40 pm #67119
You can also go to an appliance store and ask them for an empty refrigerator box. Then cut it down into two pieces that have 2 of side of the box on it. That will give you 2 pcs. refrigerator high by just about 60″ wide. then velcro mount one color felt on one side and another color on the back side. Then all you do is “lean” then up against the wall. White side out for dark colors, colored side out for lighter colors. Lay it down on your floor and use either side up for the color you need. Or lay it on your dining room table so you don’t have to bend over as much. Lean one up vertically at the end of your table and lay the 2nd one down on the table and you ave the perfect “L” shape for having the matching color on the flat bottom and the upright fake wall. If you have the vertical pcs of felt flow out onto the bottom piece you can get that “soft fabric roll” at the seam junction and you won’t have a hard horizontal line acroos at the 90 degree mark where the two pcs. come together.
Just more food for thought.
mike at mdcgfa
08/29/2019 at 11:14 pm #67131
More good ideas from Mike – thank you! Gotta give this some thought.
08/28/2019 at 10:58 pm #67064
That’s pretty good @Amatino. And you’re using obsolete software which I totally think is smart. Especially for Microsoft which seems to just bring software bloat with each new revision.
As soon as I spent more than 1 hour on a photo is when I decided to hire it out. Plus I’m using the same photos over and over so the expense is negligible.
If I were selling clothes and unique items my goal would be to do have a setup that takes zero editing. I’d forget about that white background thing. Google photos offers some simple filters that can whiten it up a bit.
08/28/2019 at 11:45 pm #67069
What kinds o things are you selling? $5 per listing (12 photos on eBay) would get expensive. Or do you have a handful of SKUs that you just replenish?
08/29/2019 at 11:16 pm #67132
I only have a handful of SKU’s so the $5 for 15 photos goes a long way.
I think it’s funny that you guys are talking about intentionally buying a gray background material. Gray is what I get for free when what I really want is white.
I have a white plastic rectangle purchased from Michael’s for cheap. I think it’s about 3′ x 2′. I can take a photo out in the bright sun and the background is still gray.
Also, Old Dad, in your sample above you used some kind of “sharp filter” and did shift the background from gray to white – is that right?
- This reply was modified 1 year, 3 months ago by gregsandiego. Reason: more to say
08/29/2019 at 11:43 pm #67134
That’s funny about the grey. My primary focus is to get the actual item looking good – the color of the background is secondary for now. If I took a photo in the bright sun on a white background, my clothing items end up very very dark – I guess my iphone camera sees all that bright white and goes “oh no, that’s way too much light! I’m not going to let that all in!”.
08/30/2019 at 4:04 pm #67154
@sonia I feel your pain irt the colors not being right. I’ve managed to get 3 different colors on one item in the same photo shoot, one shot after another! I looked at my screen in total disbelief!
I got a ding from eBay once for keyword spamming when I put “Black, NOT Blue” in my title, condition, and description, because I just gave up trying.
Oddly enough, some of the best results I get is when I put stuff in front of my (slightly yellow) wall, then use the White Balance color corrector on MS Picture Manager. Almost perfect, every time, with one click. I’ve learned that being slightly further away from my subject gives slightly better color, then I crop down. Adds to the editing time as I have to crop in, though. And bright sun is a total washout for me. My stuff is almost unusable.
@gregsandiego One hour on a photo? No way! I grumble if I have to spend an hour on a total batch of photos! LOL. I put my SD card into a reader, slide that into a USB port and Dropbox auto pulls all photos off it, then opens the Upload folder. I open the first photo in the batch and either use the Color Corrector or the Crop function (whichever takes my fancy first) and work my way through the entire batch correcting that one function. Then I return using the other function. Once I get back to the start, I change to Contrast/Brightening and work my way forward again. Usually one or 2 hits of contrast and possibly a mid-tone bright and I’m done. Choose the best 12 of each bunch and upload. Probably a dozen photos edited in an hour. If the background is black, I’m a lot faster. For some reason, my photos on a dark background always come out better.
@sonia and @mikemdc I use faux suede or faux leather. Got it from the thrift store. Cleans up with a lint roller, never creases, never gives me any trouble. I have an awesome navy/midnight blue that I use for dark backgrounds and it comes up blue some days, black on others, but it always looks terrific. Still haven’t found a white/pale, but I will! Works even better than felt.
08/30/2019 at 4:24 pm #67155
The advantage I see with the felt is 1.) it is $.99 a yard at 60 in. wide, 2.) It sticks to Velcro without having to have the 2nd “loop” strip. Just use the rigid “Hook” half of a Velcro square or round dot or cut a short length. Peel and adhere the “hook” part of a piece of cardboard, masonite, plywood, large piece of foamcore, coroplast or even a p[iece of styro foam sheet insulation board from Home depot. [very light and rigid], your closet door, what have you and the felt will stick and stay just by pushing the fabric against the hard, hook side of the Velcro. Want to change the color, just snatch it away from the Velcro and push up another pc.
So how would you attach a piece of faux Leather to a wall, door or 6 Ft. high piece of cardboard? I am guessing the back of that faux leather is not “fuzzy” like the felt and would require the second half of the Velcro strip [the fuzzy loop they call it], dot or square to be mounted to it. Then every time you would want to hang the backdrop you will have to align the 2 pcs. of Velcro up for it to stick. Been there and done that. Once i discovered that the felt sticks by itself, I can get it to hang in numerous configurations. If I want the fabric to be pleated like a shower curtain, just bunch it up and push against the one pice of Velcro on the wall or cardboard. If I want it draping at an angle same thing. The felt with stick to the hard rigid hook side as long as it comes into contact with it.
Only draw back is mouting the hook piece to your wall. It is there for good because it will pull the wall paint off. That is why I suggest using a piece of cardboard from a refrigerator box as a backing board and just have a whole bunch of little round dots of the velcro Hook side stick in numerous spots on the surface. Then just throw up the felt and it sticks and hangs. If you want a smooth wrinkle free surface just use the upper left and right dots or squares and pull tight across the top and let the rest just hang down.
08/31/2019 at 11:27 pm #67181
Command hooks, clips, or my latest favorite – coat hangers! 😀
I kid you not. By laying the suede over the edge of my backing material and then hooking a coat hanger over the top (with the body of the hanger behind it) I found it worked perfectly. I’ve also used clothes pins, tacks, painter’s tape, and clamps filched from my husband’s tool box. LOL
To each his own, Mike. There’s no wrong answer!
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