May 2, 2010

A digital camera that cost less than a soda?

A few months ago, I decided that we needed a second camera. One camera just wasn't working. Niko and I both have eBay stores. We often list products at the same time. Purchasing another camera was not something I was looking forward to. (Kind of like buying a new mattress. My back hurt for a long time before I finally spent $1800 on a mattress that better last forever!) So I waited and waited.......and then it happened.

We were at a yard sale, and at the bottom of a box was a camera -- a 6.0 megapixel digital Canon (the type that must have cost a pretty penny five years ago). I can remember the good old days when a 6.0 megapixel camera was a big deal. We took it home and inserted batteries. Yippee! It worked, and it worked well. So how much did it cost? $50? $25? $10? How about 25 cents. That's right. 25 cents. It cost an entire quarter. Don't ask me why someone would sell a camera for a quarter but they did. So awesome!

That brings me to the topic of picture taking. Many eBay sellers miss out on sales because their pictures are just plain bad. Here are a few tips for taking pictures on eBay:

1. My favorite background colors are blue and white. I've tried red. I've tried yellow. Blue backgrounds and white backgrounds seem to catch the attention of buyers and allow listings to stand out from the crowd. Test each color to see which color looks best with the item you are trying to list.

2. If you do not have an eBay store, look into the possibility of photoshopping multiple pictures into one. I have noticed a lot of people doing this lately. eBay sellers who don't have stores only get their first pictures free. Buyers like to see multiple views of the products that they are considering purchasing. If you don't have a store, photoshopping can save you a lot of money.

3. Photograph 5-10 items at a time. If you have quite a few items to list, break them up into groups of 5 or 10 similar items. It is easy to find the photos you are looking for when a file only contains a handful of pictures. It doesn't take long to list a group of items with which you are relatively familiar once you become an experienced eBayer. For example, I like to take pictures of 10 coffee mugs and list only coffee mugs for an hour. Set a timer at the beginning of this process. Give yourself a limited amount of time to list all of the products you have photographed. This will keep you focused. I am able to list 9 pairs of shoes an hour. (This includes the time it takes to photograph them.) Be sure to delete the photos after you have listed all of the items. A computer full of old photos that you are never going to use again is a nightmare.

3. Some products are just not photogenic and need to be staged. Sometimes beautiful shoes look ugly in pictures. Wiping down shoes with a damp cloth before photographing them sometimes solves this problem. I often stuff purses and shoes to give them structure. When photographing large pieces of clothing such as pants, I arrange the legs so that one pant leg crosses over the other. This makes them look more stylish. Some clothing looks better photographed on a hanger. It all depends on the item.

4. Buy a photo studio. They are relatively inexpensive, and they make taking pictures of small items a breeze. The photo studio I purchased on eBay was only $60, and it collapses for easy storage. It came with interchangeable colored backgrounds and lights.

Here is my final piece of advice: You don't need to buy an expensive camera to take great pictures. Most cameras in the $75 and up range will work. And heck, if you get very, very lucky, you might only have to spend 25 cents!

- Miriam at - hard-to-find sizes and brand names!

Interested in taking an eBay class? Oroville Adult Education will be offering classes this fall. Call (530) 680-8715. For individualized instruction, contact me, Miriam, at (530) 680-8715!

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