Inexpensive Ways to Improve Your Photos for Selling Online

Whether you’re a casual Ebayer or an Etsy veteran, it’s always advisable to make sure your photos do your products justice. A bad photo can really hurt your sales, even if the product itself is amazing. A crisp and clear photo that looks boring can lose out to an inferior product with a super-duper image.

Everybody needs to be top of their game. You need these cheap hacks to improve your photos for selling online.

Most smartphones have a good quality camera these days as well as hundreds of free apps to improve the way photos look. Just about anyone has the tools to take a great photo, but not everybody uses them to gain a competitive advantage.

So what do you need to stand out from the crowd?

The truth is, you don’t need an expensive camera, you can probably even get away without a light box. What you need is some natural light, a good background, an appropriate prop and a free photo editing app for your phone. In the absence of good natural light, I use this little light that clips onto my phone and isn’t as harsh as a flash.

For example, say I wanted to sell this ring (I don’t by the way, this is my ring).
Inexpensive Ways to Improve Your Photos for Selling OnlineIt’s a fine ring but that’s not a fine photo. For starters my hand has extremely dry skin – not very attractive! Secondly, the background is too busy, it draws attention away from the ring. Lastly, the lighting is poor which means the details don’t show.

This is not a good picture to accompany something you are selling, but you’d be surprised at how many people still use pictures like this when they’re trying to flog their wares!

Take a look at this photo instead, I think you’ll agree it’s far better.

Inexpensive Ways to Improve Your Photos for Selling Online

Cheap Hacks to Improve your Photos for Selling Online

The background is pleasant, the view of the ring is a close-up, so details can be seen and the lighting is good. It’s a photo of the same ring, taken with the same camera, but take a moment to compare. Which would you rather buy?

It’s the second one, isn’t it? Even though you know it’s the same product, the second one has a better ‘feel’ to it.

The daft thing is, it’s so easy to get shots like this, I don’t know why everyone isn’t doing it.

For starters, that backdrop isn’t real marble. It’s sticky back plastic from Wilko, very carefully stuck to the cardboard lid of the box my laptop came in. Surprised?

Cheap Hacks to Improve your Photos for Selling Online

This is what the ‘marble’ looks like from the back, you can see how I’ve stuck it on.

I’ve also used a flower strip from my local pound shop to add colour and a touch of femininity to the photo.

This is what the set up looks like before I line up the shot.

Cheap Hacks to Improve your Photos for Selling Online
That’s the ‘marble’ board on a stacking table in my bay window with a pound shop flower to make it look more interesting. It’s certainly a less glamorous set up than my other picture leads you to believe.

Cheap Hacks to Improve your Photos for Selling Online

Remember to take photos to show views from all angles.

Above is a the photo before any editing software has been used. Previously I would never have dreamt of using editing software because the name of it implied I would change the way the product looked, which may be deceptive. This is not the case. Photo editing software helps maintain a natural looking colour and brightness, it also helps you to crop the image appropriately.

Cheap Hacks to Improve your Photos for Selling Online

This is the same image as above, only after editing.

I use an app called Airbursh, purely because it was one of the top choices in the Play Store and I found it easy to use so didn’t bother searching for others. It’s a free app and has loads of great functions. I occasionally use the ‘blur’ feature to blur the backgrounds of my photos but I mostly use it for it’s beautifying filters and for cropping the photos. The filter I’ve used on this photo is called ‘glossy’ and I feel it brightens the image up and shows it’s true colours a lot better.

For larger items like clothing, it’s background and lighting again, don’t just hang it on the back of your door and hope for the best. Lay it on a wooden floor or arrange it on a plain throw if all of your carpets are too busy. Make it sit in an attractive shape.

The best way to take photos of clothing on the floor is to get above them. I usually stand on a dining chair and lean over, if you can get your hands on a selfie stick, that would work too. Again, lighting and the use of an app will give these sorts of photos the finishing touches.

Cheap Hacks to Improve your Photos for Selling Online

If you’re selling second hand clothes on Ebay, I would avoid modelling them. It’s one thing knowing you’re getting second hand clothes, but not everyone likes to see them being worn by their previous owner. People naturally form ideas when they see things, if your style doesn’t fit in with the look your potential customer wants to achieve, you might lose a sale.

These practical tips should be a great (cheap) starting point for improving your selling images online. Hopefully you’ll get your items listed before other people catch on just how easy it is. If I sign in to Ebay or Etsy one day and all the photos look like this, I’ll have to make another tutorial about standing out! Until then, enjoy this little golden nugget of information and use it while you can.

If you have any top photo tips, I’d love it if you shared them in the comments.

16 Comments

  1. I’ve just started to play with my photos for the blog and realised how easy it is to adjust lighting etc. Picmonkey is a great website to edit and play with photos too xx #KCACOLS

  2. These are great tips, I’m definitely going to get sticky back plastic to make backgrounds as I hardly have anything nice to present things on. I do a layout of clothes on the floor for instagram but never thought of presenting my clothes for sale in this way. Thanks for the tips.
    #familyfun

  3. I love this! My current background is an off cut of wallpaper from Wilkos too. I keep meaning to pick up some of this marble stuff too and I am always on the lookout for background items too! This is what blogging does to me plus nothing gets uploaded without editing either!
    Thanks so much for linking up at #KCACOLS. Hope you come back again next Sunday

  4. I absolutely love this! I also have a board (actually 2 of them) but they are plane white. I think the product looks great with a white background. But I have seen marble backgrounds before and I never knew you can get them like that! It is a fab idea and I’ll have a look at Wilko. Thanks so much for sharing these great tips at #KCACOLS. It is great to have you for the first time. Hope that you like it! 🙂 x

  5. This is fantastic. Such simple ways to really make a photo look amazing. Thank you for the fab tips. I shall definitely be using them from now on.
    #familyfun

  6. I think these are some great tips, I love the sticky back plastic. So clever. I always find that light plays a huge roll, though when I list clothes black and red never show as good as they do in real life. I definitely agree you should take pictures from lots of angles. Thank you for sharing on #KCACOLS xx

  7. Wow this was really helpful thank you. Yes I was the marble was a sticker from wilko! You will find me in wilko hunting it down! It’s a fab background. I will also give airbrush a try as I the built editing with Apple isn’t great and I tend to use Instagram but that’s a bit of pain when it comes to extracting the photo. Thank you for sharing this with us at #familyfun. Really helpful post xx

  8. Great tips! I like marble. I tend to use my wood effect kitchen work top or go outside where I’ve got slate on the ground for close ups. Plus going outside helps the light situation! Thanks for linking up to #familyfun

  9. I love these tips! I’m always looking for different backgrounds for my Instagram but didn’t know you could buy sticky back plastic like this – will definitely be making a trip to Wilko shortly! x #KCACOLS

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