How To Sell Your Jewelry on Ebay :: Digital Photo Secrets

How To Sell Your Jewelry on Ebay

by David Peterson 1 comment

Looking to sell aunt Mable’s brooch on Ebay? It’s best to take your time and get the best images possible. Jewelry is a very high valued, high profit margin item to sell on Ebay. Because it is so valuable, it’s important to get every detail right. With a small and inexpensive studio setup, you can get professional grade jewelry images using your own point-and-shoot or digital SLR camera. Here’s how.

Setup a tabletop studio

This is some advice that applies to anybody looking to sell any small item on Ebay. Products sell much faster when they’re professionally lit and arranged. They also sell for more money too. The more detailed your photos are, the better, and proper lighting helps bring all those details out.

You can make a tabletop photo studio for a minimal investment. You only need to purchase two small studio lights and a portable softbox. This light and softbox combo is cheap and does the job well. The softbox will get rid of the shadows in your product’s picture, and the studio lights will illuminate your jewelry from both sides.

You can also purchase a low-cost black or white high gloss acrylic platform. These serve as a professional looking reflective surface for your jewelry. The image above was shot using one of them, and the effect is stunning. They’re just one of the many tools you can use to accent your jewels.

Keep shadows on pearls to emphasize their roundness

Depending on the kind of jewelry you’re photographing, you may want or may not want more shadows. Rings and necklaces don’t need shadows as much as pearls do. When you’re photographing pearls, like the ones above, you want to emphasize their roundness. That means using one studio light at an overhead angle so the shadow gets cast underneath the pearls at an opposing angle.

Get a macro lens or switch your camera to macro mode

If you have a digital SLR camera, get a macro lens for it. Macro lenses improve your image’s magnification, resulting in much more crisp details. Of course, good macro lenses can cost as much as $500, so it’s best to try to borrow one from a photographer friend. Or use a cheaper conversion lens alternative. Unless you’re selling a lot of jewelry online, or you want an excuse to get into macro photography, you’ll probably do alright without one.

Those of you with point-and-shoot cameras can use your camera’s macro mode. This mode tends to be represented by a tiny icon of a flower. Just twist your settings wheel and the camera takes care of the rest.

Avoid using your camera’s flash

If you’ve taken the time to setup a small photo studio for your jewelry, you shouldn’t have to use your camera’s flash to light up the product you’re selling. Even if you don’t have a home studio, it’s still a bad idea to use your camera’s flash to take pictures of jewellery. Why? Because the light it so powerful that it masks all the little nooks and crannies that give your buyer an impression how valuable your jewelry is.

It also looks horribly unprofessional. Your image will be unevenly lit, with dark spots toward the edges. Your buyers will know that you didn’t put much time or thought into photographing your product, and that’s what brings out the bargain hunters. You want buyers who are willing to pay a premium, not resellers who are looking to make a quick buck.

Don’t just let your jewels lie

Some kinds of jewelry look best when you stand them up. To do this, get a tiny ball of wax and place it on the bottom of your piece of jewelry. Apply a little pressure, and it should stand on its own. If you place some of the reflective acrylic below, the effect will be even more dramatic.

Composition Counts

You can never overlook the importance of how your frame your subject, especially if it’s a diamond ring or a gold chain. Don’t just plop your jewelry down on the counter. Take some time to think about the way you’re arranging it. Put some curves into gold chains, and avoid placing your jewelry in the center of the frame.

Have a look at the image below. The photographer arranged the wedding rings to make your eye flow through the image from the upper left hand corner to the bottom right hand corner. There’s a similar effect in the image up top. The most interesting part of the image is not in the center of the frame. It’s closer to the left and lower thirds.

And there you have it. By following these tips, your jewelry images will be a cut above the rest. This will help you command the high prices you deserve, perhaps saving aunt Mable from financial ruin or coming up with enough money to send her and her hubby on European cruise. It’s all up to your and your camera.

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  1. Jes says:

    Fantastic article. I am going to make this my bible. I actually have a Canon 70D in mint condition. I am going to sell it on ebay!! It's just to heavy for me. I have kept it because I keep thinking I am going to make some great under ground video eventually.

    I bought an Olympus OM-D, but the 17mm lens I have just doesn't work for jewelry. It won't let me take a picture unless I am a foot away. I need to see if that has anything to do with auto focus that needs to be turned off.

    I think in one of your articles you used a Pen with 14 or 17mm lens. I am ready to just go buy that. But before I throw more money around I am trying to figure out if it is really different from what I have.

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About David Peterson
David Peterson is the creator of Digital Photo Secrets, and the Photography Dash and loves teaching photography to fellow photographers all around the world. You can follow him on Twitter at @dphotosecrets or on Google+.