The axiom “photo, photo, photo” can consist in selling online what “location, location, location” is for real estate.
Put simply, knowing how to take pictures of items to sell online will affect your success almost as much as the actual item. This is the presentation, the first way a buyer will see your product.
Entrepreneurs who start an online business are often not photographers. Sometimes they don’t even have a background in a creative industry and are unlikely to have camera gear outside of their smartphone. They are passionate about their stores selling vintage clothing or renovating vintage furniture, but they are self-taught. For many, the Internet was their teacher.
Pro’s advice on photographing items for sale online
But don’t worry, we’re going to give you some tips that you can rely on. We consulted with the professionals so you don’t have to do all of this work. Instead, let two e-commerce gurus guide you through the art of putting your best foot forward – in other words, photographically.
1. Decide what style of photography you want
Before Christine Soojung Han from Vintage sooj even takes a photo, she asks a few philosophical questions. What is she trying to achieve with this photo? What does she want to imitate or what mood does she want to evoke? What is the main story she is telling with the photo?
When it comes to clothing, a lot depends on style: do you want something more atmospheric with shadows or do you want razor-sharp and clean images? Is that a stylized portrait or is it just about the clothes? If you are looking for and keeping track of an image style that you want to achieve, it will be easier to do from the get-go.
You don’t have to have fancy gear to get started: smartphone cameras work just fine.
2. Find the right background. Be consistent.
Aesthetically oriented social media websites like Instagram display images in a grid. So it’s important to have a background that you can replicate every time. Whenever you’re with a friend on inspiration, consider going back to their house every time to photograph a new product. The answer is probably not.
Both Han and Sara Chen from the upcycled furniture company Sara Chen design Suggest to keep the background clean and neutral. Chen uses white walls as a backdrop, but over the past year she has spiced it up by adding plank and slatted wood paneling to her stage wall. Chen has a space in her home that is specially designed for staging, a luxury not everyone has.
Han, who started her business in a tiny apartment, started taking photos with a bed sheet as a backdrop. It got boring because she had to dampen the wrinkles every time. Now she’s using colored paper backgrounds that she bought cheaply from a photographer who wanted to downsize equipment. Examples of Hans backgrounds can be studied on Etsy. Scroll through the pages to see where she used bedding.
“You see people using printed backgrounds or landscapes, but I think no matter what you choose, it shouldn’t be distracting because you want the attention to be drawn to the clothes,” Han said.
Chen shares the same premise for furniture.
“Avoid a crazy wall of wallpaper,” she said. “This is not for everyone and it really becomes a distraction. You want to be able to look at your furniture, not your wallpaper.”
3. Lighting matters
Lighting was the first piece of advice Chen gave. To find the right place in your home, you need to find south-facing windows and, ideally, more than one window. You want lots of natural light. How light comes in through your window changes depending on the time of year and time of day.
Chen doesn’t use artificial light because she finds it changes the color of the furniture in photos.
Han found the natural light too moody. It started with just soft sunlight, but that was too weather dependent. So she bought soft boxes for lights and studio lighting for about $ 100, which improved her lighting configuration.
4. Put your photo in the limelight
When Han first started, she used props in some of her photos, such as pampas grass and a stool. She found the props distracting, so she’s now modeling the clothes in most of her photos and adding accessories to the outfits. She doesn’t want to distract attention from the product itself.
For Chen, the staging is crucial in order to create a lively scene with her furniture. The most important thing in staging is to strike a balance between domestic beauty and distraction. Chen suggests simple objects like a round mirror or a couple of white or black covered books. She always likes to have vases on hand to keep flowers out of her garden.
5. Record the details of your articles
According to Chen, when it comes to furniture product photos, capturing the details is crucial. What makes your piece so special? Take a picture of it. Examples of Chen’s neat photo styling can be examined Instagram.
Chen takes photos to show how deep a dresser drawer is or what the top looks like. She shares photos of the furniture legs and fittings as it can make a difference to a buyer and is often another aspect of her design. If she can add a video, she will. A video gives people an idea of the full extent of an object and what it looks like in natural daylight.
6. Edit your photos
Chen’s photos may sound perfect from the first shot. But a lot of work is required. Part of it is in editing. Chen uses the Adobe Lightroom editor as an image editing app. She finds the platform easy to use. While editing, Chen can adjust the lighting and effects to look just like real life instead of making them look better or nicer.
7. Use multiple photos
Chen would post as many photos as possible if she could, but social media sites limit the number of photos a seller can post. Chen’s adage is: take as many photos as possible. More photos provide more detail and more chances for someone to fall in love with your item.
Photos make a difference
Both Han and Chen say photos made a difference in attracting buyers. Han often re-shoots a piece that after a while was no longer sold. You could try different lighting or a different background to make the piece stand out. Once she’s posted the new photo, she can usually sell the item right away.
Chen calls photography “50% of the work”. She recently bought a dresser online for $ 50. Although Chen usually grinds, paints, and renovates the furniture she sells, the piece was in such good condition that she did nothing about it. She took some well-lit and aesthetically pleasing photos and sold them for $ 595. With little extra work, she made nearly $ 550 off the dresser.
“Photos make such a big difference,” said Chen. “You have to take the time to get better photos if you want to sell for more money.”
Elizabeth Djinis is an employee of The Penny Hoarder.
This article originally appeared on www.thepennyhoarder.com