Photos on my eBay Auctions: How Do I Add Them?

On another forum I’m involved with, someone’s asked a great question: I want to
sell products on eBay, but I
want to include photographs with my items. How do I do that? What kind of camera
do I need, and what settings should I use?

The first step is to buy a digital camera. You can use a film camera, get the prints
developed and then scan them in, but you can now buy an entry-level digital camera
for the same price as a low-end scanner, and it’s a lot easier to use!

A few example cameras that have a good reputation, from Amazon: A very
inexpensive camera – on sale currently – is the Digital Concepts VGA Camera [http://www.amazon.com/%0D%0Aexec/obidos/tg/detail/-/B0002ZONQU/ref=nosim] (currently $49), and if you want to
get a known brand, as I’d recommend, then you can’t go wrong with the Fujifilm FinePix 1400 (about $70), the Kodak DC215 (about $60), or the slightly more
expensive
Epson PhotoPC 750Z (about $100).

Getting good results from a digital camera isn’t trivial, however, particularly if you’re
trying to take a picture of a book, statue, CD cover or item of clothing. That’s where
it’s nice to be able to take fifty pictures, download them all to your computer, and
pick the best one of the lot. Unlike film photography, this won’t cost you a nickel.
Just time…

A general tip for taking good product shots is to have lots of light. If
you’re in a room with ceiling lights, turn ’em all on. If you have floor lamps, move
them over and point them directly on the item. In addition, use a neutral color
blanket or sheet as a background for the item: you don’t want to distract potential
buyers with your household clutter. Then hold your camera very, very steady
(consider having it on a chair or, ideally, a tripod) and slowly click the button to take
the shot. If your shots are blurry, try moving back a foot or so and taking another
photograph.

Once you’ve taken a product photograph you like (and don’t be discouraged if it
seems hard. There are professional photographers who specialize in product and
catalog photography and it’s quite an art!) then crop it tightly so that the
photograph is about the product and as little else as possible. If you’re using a
blanket as a background, for example, it should only be visible on the edges of the
photograph. Bidders will appreciate a product photo that reveals a lot of detail
about the product and nothing else.

Finally, within your photo editor (Photoshop, Paintshop Pro, Graphic Converter,
iPhoto, whatever), make sure that the final image resolution is 75dpi, not 300dpi,
then resize the image down to a maximum width of 400 pixels and a maximum
height of 300 pixels: and do it with “keep image proportions” enabled so that you
don’t distort the photo. Save it as a JPEG, not a GIF, since it will keep the
nuances of color much better.

Great. Now you have a photo ready to upload to eBay with your next auction! When
you’re entering the auction information, you’ll get to a step where it offers you the
chance to add a photograph, and that’s what you want to do. Click on “upload
photo” and pick your saved image, then it’ll automatically be sent to the eBay
servers along with your other auction information, and you’ll be well on your way to
becoming a true Powerseller!

When I add photographs to my eBay auctions, I use a rather more expensive
(about $2000) camera setup, a Nikon D100 digital with studio lighting and similar
gear. You can see some of my photographic work at Colorado Portraits.

Scrapbooking and Photo Editing

The Scrapbooking phenomenon hit the world with a resounding bang, and has taken hold of our imaginations, leaving us forever changed. And where, till a few years ago, we had to work with negatives and spend heaps of money getting photos developed, and then having to throw half the photos away due to red eyes, shadows and other ‘oopses’, we can now thankfully turn to the digital age. Not only can we choose and discard photos at the press of a button (and at no cost I might add), but also fixing and editing those little irritating problems are as easy as loading a photo on the home pc. 

And as any scrapbooker knows, a perfect picture says a thousand words.

There are a host of photo editing software on the market, that can (in various degrees of success), fix anything from red eyes to bad lighting and poor focus. Yet the question remains: which ones are the best?

My personal favourite happens to be Adobe Photoshop Elements. Adobe manages to amaze me more and more every day with the photo editing capabilities that I discover. Everything from simple red-eye reduction to more complicated projects, such as changing backgrounds on a photo and even adding your cute little girl in her favourite pink fairy dress to a magical fairy scene. The options are only limited by your imagination.

Although in all honesty I must admit that this is not a user-friendly program. But on the upside, there are excellent tutorial programs available for this program, and with a little bit of effort, you will have amazing results.

But if you are looking for a program that is a little easier to handle, then I would suggest Corel Paintshop Pro Photo x2. This program combines ease of use with professional power to allow you to take on any project. It also has an integrated learning center and a selection of one-click photo fixing tools to make it quick and easy to fix most flaws on your photos.

Editing Photos for the Rest of Us

Before the digital age, photo editing was an arcane process, only performed by experts. It required exposure to chemicals, expert timing, and a lot of care. Now, however, you can use a computer program to easily produce effects that were a lot of work when 35mm film was the standard. There are a lot of different programs to choose from, for every price range and skill level. This article aims to talk about just a few.

In the arena of free photo imaging software, popular options are GIMP, Serif PhotoPlus, Paint.NET, Pixia, and ImageForge. All of these programs are available to the user legally and free of charge. However, some freeware programs are older or cut-down versions of software that’s available for a price, so they may have limited functionality. Others are fully functional, and released under a GPL, or General Public License.

These programs, like GIMP, are volunteer-coded and supported, so there could be unexpected bugs or strange program behaviors. However, if you want a functional editor to help you modify and improve your digital images, but can’t afford to buy a higher end program, these freeware programs are a great place to start.

In the arena of pay photo imaging software, there’s a wide range – from programs meant to satisfy the home or occasional user, to high-end professional ones like Adobe Photoshop. At a retail price of $649, this is a bit pricier than most individuals can afford. However, Photoshop is well known for being the cutting edge of photo manipulation technology, so if you need its functions, it’s worth the cost.

For the rest of us, there are programs like Photoshop Elements, the scaled down version of Adobe’s premier photoeditor, which retails at a much more affordable $99, PhotoImpact, Digital Image Suite, PhotoPlus, Paintshop Pro, and Picture It! Ranging between around $20 and around $100, all these programs offer digital camera support, can import images from a scanner, and feature important tools. You can use photo imaging software to crop, resize, and rotate your photos, remove red eye, correct over exposure and under exposure, changing lighting and coloration, and even remove or add elements.

There’s a photo imaging program for every user. Whether you’re a professional who needs to work on photos and other images on a daily basis, or just a home user with some snapshots that need work, you’ll have no problem accomplishing what you set out to do. Today, it seems inconceivable that photo imaging used to require so much expertise and so many chemicals. Now, simple photo manipulation is available with just the click of your mouse.