I’m always amazed how truly bad some product photographs are. Whether you’re just clearing out your closet, flipping part time, or trying to make some serious cash, why would you shortchange yourself (almost literally) with off-putting product photos? It’s important to learn how to take great photos for eBay, Poshmark, Mercari, or Etsy!

Unfortunately, no one told these people…

The black shoe on black couch combo isn’t ideal. I think those are Nikes?

Love the natural light but the wavy layout obscures the rigid diamond shapes.

how to take great photos for your ebay store

No, the fuzzy background does not add an air of mystery to your Louis Vuitton shoes.

How to take great photos for eBay or other online store

The following tips are very simple but will help you avoid being like the sellers above. For more information, check out our post on how to create eye-catching cover photos in 5 easy steps.

Lighting is crucial

Just look at the two shoe photos above. Take your photos in well-lit areas! Do your best to use natural light whenever possible. Position your item near windows in your home, or go outside if you can. When natural light isn’t possible find clean, white light and experiment with positioning that makes your item pop without glare.

Pro Tip: Take your photos during the day. If you work during the day and get home to photograph and list items, do all your photography while the sun is still up and create your listings in the evening. The natural light is that valuable.

Keep the background clean

A pair of golf shorts on the wood-patterned vinyl floor in our apartment.

A pair of golf shorts on the wood-patterned vinyl floor in our apartment.

White makes for a great background, and it isn’t hard to achieve. Go to your local Wal-Mart or craft store and find a simple white matte flexible poster board and you’re all set. Tape one end to the wall and another to a table, creating a curved shape at a 90 degree angle. Note that the curve is important because it adds softness to the background as compared to a sharpe L-shaped angle.

Of course, white isn’t the only background color. You can use anything that’s sleek and clean! Dawn and I use out vinyl, wood-patterned flooring pictured here, and I think the color and easy pattern adds some texture to all of our photos.

(By the way, see the glare at the top of the that photo? I took this picture at night and didn’t leverage natural light so I ended up with a glare spot despite my best efforts. I have to retake this photo.)

Zoom in

Don’t be afraid to get right in there when taking pictures of your items, even if it means not showing the entire item in the photo. The zoom shows the item in a more personal way, shows off detail better, and can add a little texture.

This doesn’t mean it’s OK to have incomplete pictures that don’t show your item in its entirety, but that’s what you have multiple pictures and multiple angles for!

Take the time to iron

Ironing pays off, folks (especially if you plan on zooming in on your items). It can take a clearly used piece of clothing and make it look almost new. Work efficiently and iron all of the things you want to photograph at once.

Be creative!

This Victoria's Secret stuffed dog makes for a great photo prop!

This Victoria’s Secret stuffed dog makes for a great photo prop!

Use props, put together outfits of multiple items, experiment with filters, create collages — appeal to the impulsive nature of your buyers!

Case in point: Dawn found a pink Victoria’s Secret stuffed dog at the Goodwill. Instead of selling it, we frequently use it as a prop when selling Victoria’s Secret items! Not only does it add some texture and make our pictures stand out, but the extra time we’ve taken to stage increases our credibility with potential buyers.

Have you discovered any picture-taking tips when learning take great photos for eBay, Poshmark, Mercari or Etsy? Let us know below!

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Thanks for reading! In my full-time job as a Business Analyst for a health system, I apply analytical rigor to everyday business questions. My goal at Debt Free Dawn is to bring some of that rigor to the business of online resale but to do so in a fun and understandable way. Please ask me anything as I love to chat with fellow flippers!