03/08/2019 at 1:12 am #58344SpartyQParticipant
- Location: St. Charles, IL
I am currently taking photos in my basement which has fluorescent light bulbs. My background is white but I sometimes get dark pictures that I just cannot use. Is this a matter of needing a bright light source nearby to help? If so, does anyone have a bulb recommendation? Or any other thoughts?0
03/08/2019 at 3:00 am #58345Antique FrogParticipant
- Location: Leicester
It appears that the bulbs are flickering at 120 Hertz (i.e. 120 times a second, or twice the US mains frequency), which flickering usually can’t be discerned by people. Presumably all the bulbs flicker at the same rate and time, so a shutter speed of 1/240 of a second or faster will sometimes produce a dark photo.0
03/08/2019 at 10:20 am #58351JayKeymaster
- Location: Virginia
SpartyQ, can you share some photos of your lighting set up, and what the listings results look like?0
03/08/2019 at 10:56 am #58356InglewoodParticipant
I had this issue – for years…
I did a few things that have completely made things almost perfect:
-switched to daylight LED bulbs. I currently have 4 x 100w equivalents going in my photo area. 3 are fixed, one I can hold by hand to move around to prevent glare or get light where I need it. This was the best change I made.
-bought a camera with a white balance setting (you have to adjust it occasionally)
-switched to a non-reflective surface for my background (I read that some light may bounce back to the camera on glossy surfaces and that would adjust the brightness)
My photos are turning out great now – almost if I pulled them from a retail website.1+
03/08/2019 at 11:08 am #58358joeMEZZParticipant
03/08/2019 at 2:49 pm #58362
03/08/2019 at 3:54 pm #58363InglewoodParticipant
We use the Nikon 1 J2 – we actually have three of them as my wife and I take pictures at the same time, and have different photo areas for small items and our mannequins.
It has a lot of settings to play with (which 99% I don’t understand) but it takes really good photos.
We’re not even close to being camera experts – we just happened to get one (because it was pink and my wife wanted a pink camera, and it had good reviews 5 years or so when it came out), we liked it, and bought another for me to use.
There are newer models of this camera, but the J2 is good enough for what we do. We picked up our third one at a garage sale last summer with 3 different lenses for $20 – but they are much more on eBay. I think we are committed to the Nikon 1 camera series as we have a box of lenses, a bunch of battery chargers, a stack of spare batteries – and we will keep buying back-ups as we find them. But I’m sure there are other good models from other makes – you just need to find one that is cheap, does the job you want, and start collecting parts/lenses/batteries/accessories for it as you find them.0
03/09/2019 at 11:06 am #58370
Yeah, I’m beginning to think that DSLR or Mirrorless is the way to go.0
03/09/2019 at 2:53 pm #58373SharynParticipant
- Location: Central NJ
For lighting, I bought something like this (based on recommendations from forum posts):
For a camera, I recently upgraded my iPhone to a 7 Plus. I did that based on research that the 7 Plus had an upgraded zoom lens over the 7. The drawback is that it is too large for a cell phone, but I’m very happy with the photos.0
03/09/2019 at 6:13 pm #58377
Sharyn, do you use the app to load photos? How do you edit the photos if you don’t like them? I tried using my phone, but the camera is shyte and I hated the end result. Ended up deleting them all and using a camera and editing on the PC. Would love to be able to use the app and upload straight into the listing, but I’m such an OCD twit that it frustrates me not being able to edit the pics.
I’ve been looking into upgrading to a Pixel 3 (I have a Nexus 6) and they say the camera is awesome. About the same price as a baby DSLR though…0
03/09/2019 at 8:14 pm #58381SharynParticipant
- Location: Central NJ
I take the photos in square mode on my phone using the camera app.
I then get on the computer to create the listings and save them as drafts.
I open each listing on the app and upload the photos. Once the photos have uploaded, I save and close the listing in the app.
I get back on the computer to edit the photos and create the rest of the listing. I only use the eBay functionality to edit. Usually, it’s usually just to lighten and occasionally to rotate.
The camera app has ways to adjust focus and light. I can touch the screen where I want the camera to focus, and then a light adjustment line pops up. I can move the pointer up to lighten the photo. I’m not really explaining this very well, but I googled it when I was trying to improve my photos. A few websites explain how to do this. I don’t do it much because it takes time, and I’m usually just trying to get my photos done as fast as possible.
The iPhone 7 plus definitely takes better photos than my 5c did, and the zoom capability is really amazing.
It’s really better not to be a perfectionist, but just work on your skills occasionally. I’m sure that better photos help sell something faster, but only when you go from so-so to really good. For used items, I don’t think it helps to go from really good to exceptional.
You’ve mentioned the OCD thing before, so you have to work the way that is best for you. If you can figure out how to let go a bit, you’d be able to list much more.1+
03/10/2019 at 4:07 pm #58401TemudginParticipant
- Location: Washington DC
@SpartyQ After experimenting with a couple different cameras I take all my pictures with my iPhone 7 but it HATES white backgrounds. The items always came out too dark. So now I have a tan rug I use as a background that works much better, or tan file folders for small items, or a medium brown wood table top. If a large item is tan or light-colored itself or would be washed out in a tan carpet background, I use a dark brown or dark green blanket. I personally find that too bright a light source creates shadows and wash out so I no longer use a lightbox setup. The iPhone seems to like it not too bright.0
05/22/2019 at 4:02 pm #62276
Full disclosure: I used to shoot weddings for 11 years, so I have a little experience with photography. However, I truly believe some people over think photography. I have an elaborate photo set up complete with pro lighting, diffusers, slaves, backgrounds and reflectors. Guess what? I NEVER use that stuff for photographing my ebay items. Never. I use my smartphone-and seldom use the flash on my phone.
I believe the angles are really what matter. Again, yes I do have a little experience, however, I truly think angles are more important that all the fancy lightboxes, lighting set ups, and gear. I am thinking of making a YouTube video to explain how I do it, but it may be a few weeks. If anyone is interested, please let me know, if there is enough interest, I will gladly make it.
Oh. and I once bought a ceramic Halloween punch bowl set with ladle for $12.50 at the Goodwill and flipped it for $99. within a few days even though someone else had theirs up for a few weeks for $100. Why mine? Because I took the time to take each piece out, photographed each piece to show front, back, inside and bottoms. No cracks, breaks and NIB. It makes a difference when you show the potential buyers what they will get-especially since the buyer purchased through the Global Shipping Program. The other bowl just showed the box and they listed the items, but did not take anything out of the box.
Thanks and good luck all!2+
05/22/2019 at 4:29 pm #62280JayKeymaster
- Location: Virginia
Well said. We take photos near a window with good natural light. We imagine we’re taking photos for a catalogue, so use all 12 photos allowed showing the item from every angle. I like to buy items where I can see it in multiple photos.
Obviously for people who can only photograph at night, they need the light set ups.0
05/22/2019 at 11:53 pm #62329
I would definitely be interested in a youtube video that shows how an experienced photographer such as yourself takes no frills ebay photos with a smartphone.2+
05/23/2019 at 7:56 am #62338
Yes but it is still VERY important to have ample light. Otherwise your cell phone camera will be forced to overcompensate with slower shutter speeds and higher ISO. Without good lighting, your pictures will get slightly blurry and grainy.
iPhones are optimized for shooting in good natural light. They have a fixed aperture and will try to hold low ISO at all costs. So shutter speed is priority until you get to the limit of handheld phototography and then ISO goes up.
It really is a brilliant automatic system if you think of the technical aspects that allow such an amazing camera in such a small package.
But to say lighting isn’t important with a cell phone camera is not accurate at all.
Take this item for example:
The first two photos are grainy due to high ISO. Crank your lighting up and alot of that graininess will go away.0
05/23/2019 at 6:54 am #62331
I just added a pie plate to my ebay listings. Check out my photos in the meantime, if you like. My ebay id is that_art_girl. All the photos in my listings are taken with my smartphone and only in a few , have I used the flash. Even the Fenton I took with my smartphone. But I’ll work on the video. Again, thanks.0
05/23/2019 at 12:54 pm #62370
Daisy – I like your photos for the pie plate. I’m wondering what you do for tricky items like black/navy clothes, or when the color doesn’t come out right. I end up taking the photo on different backgrounds (wood floor, grey sofa, dark brown wall, or multicolor braided rug) until I find one where the color comes out at least roughly correct. Sometimes that is a pain, but I don’t want to bother with getting any other equipment. Two years back, I purchased a camera with a white balance setting, but no matter what i did, I couldn’t get it to work right, so I went back to the much easier to use iphone camera.
I photograph in a room with a lot of natural light.0
05/23/2019 at 3:50 pm #62376
When I have black/dark items, I photograph them as usual using a white background. Take as many as you need. Then I use Photoshop or the ebay tools to lighten some of the photos and in my listing I notate that I purposely lightened photos (lets say 5 & 6) “to show detail”. Then I would let them know that I would be happy to send them more photos if they were interested. But make sure you have the photos for said item on hand, so that you do not have to dig the item out and re-shoot it.
Also, in the event of say a rug or sofa, and you know it is from say, Ikea or West Elm, look for those stock photos and post them, but let your buyers know that they are stock, and tell them which photos are yours (some people may not know).
Hope this helps.0
05/23/2019 at 3:59 pm #62378
You are correct. Lighting IS important. Yes, the link you posted is blurry. My argument is not that lighting does not matter, my point being that when you start out on ebay, there is no need to spend hundreds of dollars to get good pics. It CAN be done using only a cell phone. Also, my feeling is yes, quality photos ARE important…but you also do not need to post award winning photos to sell a pair of Chucks or that lemon meringue pie plate. My feeling is, with the “instant gratification” generation, they are already trained to sift quickly through photos (think Instagram) to see if that is the hat they want to wear for that fishing trip, or surf practice. And as soon as I get a chance, I’ll update that hat pic for ya. Using my smartphone. It IS blurry!0
05/23/2019 at 4:03 pm #62379
On the issue of “tricky” colors, yes they are a challenge. I have never yet figured out how to photograph magenta and chartreuse. For those, I have found it a losing battle. Do the best you can to get what you feel is the best rendition of that color. And remember, everybody’s screen will probably translate that color differently. If anyone knows the answer the getting these colors spot on, please share.0
05/23/2019 at 4:16 pm #62380
Thanks for the tips, daisy. I do try to use stock photos for relatively new clothing items when I can find them. And I agree that it’s a good idea to note in the listing which photos are the stock photos, even if it seems obvious to me. 🙂1+
05/26/2019 at 7:58 am #62452HausfrauParticipant
- Location: Southeastern New England
Sonia, where are you finding stock photos of items?0
05/26/2019 at 7:01 pm #62471
To find a stock photo, I do a google search on the item of clothing to see who is selling it (or was selling it recently). This is usually easy to do with the style number if there is one on the garment or shoe. Typically I end up on a web page that says “out of stock”, but still has the photos and official description. Then I download the photos from there. Or if the item is a bit older and I can’t find anyone selling it new, sometimes I “steal” stock photos from other listings on ebay or poshmark. I don’t consider this to be truly stealing from the other reseller b/c it’s not really their photo anyway – we’re both stealing it from the manufacturer.
Here’s one I used recently
I like when I find it on the nordstrom rack site b/c their pages usually still show the original retail price, which I like to use in my listings as well.
Here’s a poshmark listing with a stock photo I may end up using.
Like I said before, technically this is illegal. I haven’t experienced any issues with it yet, however.0
05/28/2019 at 8:20 am #62556
In most cases it isn’t a problem, but do remember that if you do not have the manufacturers permission to use those stock photos then they can have you taken down with a VERO claim.
I used stock photos with some Smartwool socks and they took all my listings down that had the stock photo. I don’t use stock photos at all now. It sucked recreating those listings.0
05/24/2019 at 1:28 pm #62410Mighty BrilliantParticipant
- Location: SC
One of my first posts here was questioning my picture taking ability because I too had problems with lighting and color accuracy. I invested all this money in a lighting kit and backdrops, but what I’ve learned from trial and error in the last month is that if I simply hang my items on a nail on my wall in my kitchen next to my sliding glass door and then adjust my white balance in the pro mode on my phone my pictures come out better than ever. (Wow, that was a quite a run on sentence.) I tried to make this more complicated than it needed to be and paid the price. Not only have my pictures improved, but the time it takes me has shrunk.0
07/08/2019 at 3:39 pm #64659
Yes, phone cameras LOVE natural lighting.
Once you get out of that natural lighting though, you gotta have good light.
I do alot of my photography at night or very early in the morning. Natural lighting is not an option most of the time.0
07/09/2019 at 5:42 pm #64733Mr. VintageParticipant
- Location: Cleveland
All about the white balance.0
05/24/2019 at 3:25 pm #62414
Daisy, I’d also be interested in a YT video on angles. I often “angle” my items in photos, so it’s interesting to see if my weird point of view is actually a good selling angle. Ha! Punny!1+
05/24/2019 at 3:52 pm #62416
Awesome. As soon as I get a chance, I’ll work on that. Again, yes-light is important-light is what makes a photo. My thing is I hear so many people overthink (in my opinion) photography for ebay or just re-selling in general. By taking the photos the way I do, you will never win an award for the photos, but it works. Especially if you are trying to keep your costs low until you can afford a better camera/lighting. Thanks for your input!2+
07/08/2019 at 2:59 pm #64654ErolParticipant
- Location: New Joisy
I’ve been shooting professionally and have some decent studio equipment, but honestly you don’t need all of that to get a decent image. Some things to consider when shooting product on a white background. My set-up has 3 lights, a plain white window shade that’s 42″ wide. We mount it over a table and pull it down and over the table. This gives you a nice seamless white background. Ideally you want to get your subject far away from you background as you can. This way your background is basically out of focus and you subject looks much sharper. We have one light pointing toward background and 2 lights on our subject. THe light on the background should be stronger then your 2 main lights this will eliminate ghosting or shadowing. your camera settings should be adjusted for proper exposure with your 2 main lights that hit your subject. There are some decent lighting systems that don’t cost a lot that can give you some decent results. The great thing about the white window shade is when your done you can just roll it back up and since its vinyl you can keep it white by just wiping it with some Windex or some other cleaner.2+
07/08/2019 at 3:31 pm #64657
Thanks Erol, some great tips!0
07/09/2019 at 5:40 pm #64732Mr. VintageParticipant
- Location: Cleveland
It’s the white balance on your phone/camera being confused by the light source.
Turn off AWB and match your light balance to the source you are using on your phone/camera.
If you’re using you’re phone you may need a 3rd party app.0
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