The Best eBay Photographs Inspire Trust

Folding Camera

The best way to sell something on eBay is to provide your bidders with a good picture.

The best pictures for selling on eBay are not the ones that are the most artistic, or most professional – indeed, too slick a photograph can be detrimental. You’re not going for a professional presentation. The point of the photo is not to show what a great photographer you are, or how professional your sales machine is.

eBay is built on one honest person selling an item to another honest person.


The whole purpose of the photograph is to inspire TRUST. Nothing else. That’s it.

The photographs of your item should clearly show the condition of the item that a person is bidding on. The photograph and the description in the text need to match perfectly. To do this, you need to show it in a comfortable setting, like on a wood table or propped up on a clean carpeted stairway, preferably with natural lighting so that you don’t have to use a flash, and close up so that it’s easy to see.

You don’t need a photography studio or a professional-looking background, but a good tripod is helpful if your lighting is low. Use a couple of desk lamps, positioned to the side so that they don’t create glare on shiny surfaces, and avoid using a flash for the same reason.

Get in close. Focus sharply. Make sure your item is clean.

Close up, with warm colors, the warm glow of an incandescent light — all these make your photograph look like a home photo, a snapshot of family members — it’s friendly and natural. It inspires trust. You’re just an honest person selling a few precious things that you don’t need any more. This will run contrary to what you’ve probably read elsewhere, but from personal experience as an eBay buyer, seller, and also as a professional photographer, I’ve found that a slick, perfect photo that looks like it came right out of a catalog actually erodes trust, makes them question if it’s really the item that’s for sale.

Slick salesmanship, you see, oftentimes doesn’t inspire trust. Your friendly neighbor who lives three doors down, who always lets you borrow his lawnmower, is what inspires trust.

And that’s what you’re “shooting” for.

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