So you’ve got a nice big guitar sitting in your closet collecting dust. You gave it up a long time ago, and you know that unless you do something soon, it’s just going to sit there for a few more years. If you want to sell that guitar on Ebay, you’ll need to brush up your Ebay photography skills. In this short article, I’ll teach you how to take pictures of large items so you can sell them on Ebay.
Large items can be pain because you can never seem to find a space in your house that isn’t distracting in some way. You’ve tried to prop your item up against a white wall, but you can still see the carpeted floor in front of it. The garage and the back porch don’t seem to work all that well either. There’s just too much stuff in the background.
Our dirt cheap DIY setup
Your best solution is something like the following. You need to setup a home photo studio for the lowest possible cost, and it needs to stretch from the floor to the height of your item. We’re going to make a very large softbox.
A softbox is an all-white enclosure that takes harsh direct light and diffuses it all around the product you’re photographing. It has one purpose. Eliminate shadows so your customers can see all the details in the product you’re selling.
In our other Ebay photography tutorials, we built a much smaller version of the softbox, something you can use to photograph a laptop or a delicate piece of jewelry. Our much larger softbox works on the same principle, but it will require a little more material. We’re basically going to tape a large sheet of white butcher paper on the wall. The paper will then roll out onto the floor in front of the wall, and our product will sit on top of it.
You should get enough butcher paper to cover the height and width of your product. Any more than that is overkill. As I said earlier, you’re going to be doing some cropping anyway. If you can’t see the walls or carpet behind your product, you’ll be fine.
We’ll surround our setup with two studio lights. You can also use natural light if there’s a section of your wall that gets the sun during the day, or if you're after a cheap alternative, go to your local car hardware store and purchase two sets of flood lights. They're usually cheap and will also do the job.
You may want to invest in some large white fabric diffusers. You can have a friend hold these in front of your studio lights as you take the picture. If you don’t want to buy the diffusers, the same white butcher paper will do the job. Finding a way to hang your diffuser in front of your lights might be tricky, but once you have it in place, your photos will look a lot more professional.
Taking the photo
With the studio lights turned on, or the sun shining through the window, setup your camera on a tripod in front of the product you’ll be photographing. If you are using a point-and-shoot camera, be sure to set it to “indoor” mode or “incandescent” mode if you have them. This will tell your camera to adjust its white balance to get a more accurate shot of your product.
The icon for indoor mode usually looks like a light bulb with a few rays of light shooting out of it. Don’t worry if you don’t get your white balance perfect the first time through. You can always adjust it in Photoshop later on.
Those of you with higher end DSLR cameras will want to take the pictures in manual mode. If you can, go with an aperture that gives you a pretty decent depth of field. Start near F10 and see what happens. Remember that, because you’ve got your camera on a tripod, you’re free to use slower shutter speeds. You won’t get any blurring.
Takes lots and lots of photos. Take some shots of the whole product. Others, zoom in to highlight features. The bigger the product, the more your Ebay customers want to see. If there are any imperfections or problems with your product, don’t try to shove them under the rug. Take detailed pictures so your buyers know exactly what they’re getting. At the end of the day, those who have the best feedback make more sales. You have no choice but to be 100% honest and up front with the products you’re selling.
Best of luck to you, and if you’re selling something huge, please send me a photo of your studio setup. I’d love to see it!
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