04/12/2019 at 12:34 pm #60088
Of all the parts of my eBay business, photography has been the most frustrating by far. I bought a lighting kit which included three stands, two white umbrellas and one black umbrella, three florescent curly q bulbs, a white backdrop and stand to hang it on, a multi color circular “light bouncer” (white, black, gold, and silver), and I take pictures with my HTC 10 camera phone.
I have tried flat lay and hanging against various color backdrops…white, green, my tan walls, etc.
While some of my pictures come out pretty good, anything with white or blue just comes out horrible. The whites look dark and dirty…or if I get the white right, the other colors are off. Patterns never show up right, so stripes are a pain. In my pro mode I can slide the white balance to adjust the colors, but I frequently run into the situation where the right color blue just can’t be found on the entire spectrum.
This has been incredibly frustrating.
Do I need to buy a professional camera? People say cell phones work just fine, and the HTC 10 was a flagship phone just a couple years ago. Still, many of my photos leave a lot to be desired.
I don’t know what else to include here, but if anyone could work with me, I’d be grateful.
My store link is https://www.ebay.com/str/mightybrilliant. (I hope that’s ok to post. You can look at my pictures and easily sort the good ones from the bad.)
- This topic was modified 6 months, 1 week ago by Mighty Brilliant.
04/12/2019 at 1:24 pm #60092
The one thing I can suggest you are doing that I use to do is ditch the fluorescent curly q bulbs. The color of those bulbs affected my photos, and looking at your store, it looks like my old photos.
I would use standard LED Sunlight or Bright White bulbs (names change depending on the manufacturer – but you don’t want a yellow hue). I use 3 100w equivalent LED bulbs with no other light (even a fluorescent light on the ceiling away from my photo station affected the colours with the LED bulbs).
If you try a professional camera, don’t use the flash – that throws off the color as well in my situation on most clothing items.
Most of your pictures look slick – you do a good job editing out the background. That took me awhile to get the hang of!
Overall, your photos are good – I wouldn’t redo what you’ve done.0
04/12/2019 at 1:35 pm #60093
- Location: Maine
Honestly, your pictures look fine. The ones up against the door are not ideal but I assume they are older listings and you have improved things since then.
The flat lays look great. The stripes and plaids look fine to me.
I don’t see anything about your pictures that would keep me from purchasing your items.
Try to let go of your perfectionism. You aren’t selling super high end stuff and no one in our market is expecting professional stock image photos.
I am a firm believer in good enough. This isn’t brain surgery or rocket science. Take your pictures as well as you can right now, list the item for sale and move on.1+
04/12/2019 at 2:08 pm #60097
Thanks for the feedback.
Ya, I am a perfectionist. I see so many awesome photos on Ebay and I’d like to get to the point I can match those. Sure, some of mine may be good enough, but as you all know this is a cutthroat competition! (Grr. Argh.)
Even some of the ones that look really good aren’t exactly color accurate, which is concerning to me. You know how picky customers can be.
I’ll see if I can find some LEDs that fit my units. I have a feeling what I have may be proprietary.
Actually, the hanging pictures on the door are new. I know they look terrible, but trying to photography those the way I did the others was impossible. The color was significantly off. These at least look right, even though the overall picture quality is poor. A trade off I guess.
For the white background I use https://burner.bonanza.com/background_burns. It’s free and was a literal Godsend. I highly recommend it.
PS. Where in SC are you? I’m in Fort Mill.
- This reply was modified 6 months, 1 week ago by Mighty Brilliant.
04/12/2019 at 2:32 pm #60101
- Location: Maine
I’m in Columbia. Loving the weather today! The rain has washed the pollen out of the air and I have the windows open listening to the birds.
Trying to get a batch of stuff listed so that I can go to the bins for half price night.0
04/12/2019 at 5:31 pm #60106
Mighty Brilliant, I share your obsession. It is very difficult to get colors perfect. There are just so many variables that you are dealing with. I have a professional set up – camera, lights, software (I’m a hobby photographer)- and I still have difficulty getting consistent results. I’ve gone as far as purchasing color correction tools such as the data-color Spyder monitor calibration and the Color Checker passport, and even with that level of precision colors are still off occasionally and I have to go into some of the advanced functions in my software to get it right. It’s a constant learning curve.
If you have an itch to learn more about lighting products, the best book is “Light: Science & Magic”. It’s dense and the newer editions are pricey, but if you’re lucky you’ll find a Goodwill selling one on eBay for cheap.0
04/12/2019 at 6:09 pm #60107
Have you experimented with white balance on the phone at all? On Android there’s a “pro” mode in the camera app that lets you tinker with it.
Also, finely-calibrated colors are only useful on finely-calibrated monitors. The person looking at your listing could be using a 15+ year old CRT with the blue setting ticked up by 10% from someone wildly pressing buttons on the front.
I’m a perfectionist (and a hobby photographer), so I understand the struggle. I used to shoot everything on a DSLR and ultimately gave up because it was a huge time sink. I found “close enough” to be good enough, but your mileage may vary. I use a Samsung phone from a few years ago with a specific color temperature/white balance setting. When I have to shoot outside of my photo booth I just put the phone in auto and deal with anything problematic in SnapSeed (great app) or eBay’s basic brightness/contrast stuff.
Your pictures are really good BTW. I think the perfect balance for eBay photos is somewhere just under “stock photo” quality.0
04/12/2019 at 8:59 pm #60110
- Location: Washington DC
I have to agree with IndySales. I know this can be an issue for returns especially with clothing but I think there is a law of diminishing returns at work here for trying to get accurate color balance. The fact is that about 8% of men and 0.5% of women in the world have some degree of color blindness many of them don’t realize it, not to mention the monitor issues mentioned. You’re not going to make everyone happy no matter what you do.
I take photos in mostly open shade with some incandescent fill and find that my iPhone is pretty close most of the time except for fluorescent colors. Much better than my Nikon D5100. If I see some obvious differences between real and photo for art or clothing I’ll mention something in the listing but otherwise I don’t worry about it.0
04/14/2019 at 11:28 am #60141
Sorry for the delayed response.
I really appreciate the feedback. It helps put my mind at ease a bit.
I do find it funny how so many of us are self admitted perfectionists and “obsessive”. I wonder if that personality trait has something to do with drawing us to this eBay reselling thing.
Antarestar, the rain was just terrible. My mom even had some hail at her house, but thankfully no real damage. True though, it definitely washed the pollen away. A blessing sure enough.
Indysales, yes, I am using the pro mode on my Android to adjust white balance. I mentioned that even with that ability, it often still skips the actual color and jumps several shades too dark to several shades too light. I have one shirt that’s a fine yellow and blue “plaid”. The close up pictures look fine, but when I try to photograph the whole shirt, it looks like a solid gray no matter what I do. So frustrating!
Temudgin, yes, I agree completely with the diminishing returns principle. I just figure the more I can learn and the better I can get, the faster I’ll be able to do it with the results I’m hoping for.
Again, cheers all.
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