Sunday, February 25, 2007

The Importance of Pictures in Ebay Auctions

When constructing an Ebay auction, one of the most crucial elements you can add is a picture. The next best thing you could add to your auction description would be a second picture. Seriously, they are that important. The only way to tell what you are buying from someone is by looking at their pictures. Think of the last time you bought something without seeing it first. Exactly. Having pictures in your auctions is a necessity, and fortunately, it is an almost painless process.

If this all seems like review, skip down to Adding Photos to your Ebay Auction

The Camera
If you do not have a digital camera, and are attempting to sell on Ebay, you are doing something wrong. Buy one now! They do not have to be that good, they just have to take relatively clear pictures.

You do not need a 10.4 Mega pixel SLR digital camera to sell on Ebay. You can get a relatively cheap used one, mine is a 2.3 Mega Pixel point and shoot, and it does fine. The reason you do not have to worry so much about quality of photo, as far as pixels go, is because you will be posting your pictures on the internet. Here bandwidth is key, and the smaller the picture, the faster it will load.

I set my camera to its lowest setting for taking pictures at a resolution of 600x800, there are some that go smaller, and that is perfect for what we are doing here. The important thing is that your pictures look crisp.

Taking Pictures
So now, assuming you have a camera, and you are comfortable using it, lets talk about taking the pictures. When you are taking a picture it is going to have to have a background. White I have been using recently is my wooden table. The brown wood grains provide a nice neutral backdrop, but others use solid sheets.

The important thing is that you are not taking a picture of a black object on a white background. Harshly contrasting colors will make your photo lack detail, the easiest thing to do is to use a neutral type color that works with black as well as white and shiny objects.

If you want to get really serious about taking pictures, you might want to look into making a Light Tent, or Light Box (I need to put this on my to do list).

Editing Pictures
Well great! Now we have pictures taken, and you have figured out how to put them on your computer, now we just have to get them ready for the web. In order to do this you are going to need a photo editing program. There are a lot out there, many of which are free, and for your uses will be fine (I use Adobe Photoshop. All you really need to do, assuming you took good pictures, is crop them.

If you are taking a lot of pictures, hopefully you don't have to crop or edit them. This stuff might only take a couple of minutes, but if you are doing 40 posts a day that adds up! I usually try to take the best couple of pictures I can, and then just post them, but if you plan on selling the same thing over and over, or are focusing on quality, not quantity, it is worth spending a lot of time making your photos shine! If you need a basic tutorial and a good free photo editor check out Gimp.

When editing your pictures, make sure they are small enough that they load quickly. I always save my photos for the web as a JPG. This way I can have pictures with decent quality and small size for good loading time.

Adding Pictures to your Ebay Auction
Okay, now we are to the most important part. Adding pictures to your auction. Well, first we need to take the photos from your computer and upload them to a server. WE DO NOT USE EBAY'S PHOTO HOSTING SERVICES! This is a huge waste of money if you want to add multiple pictures (which you do) or have a large image in the middle of your description (which you do!). You save a lot of money by doing this yourself, and it is no harder.

The photo hosting service I use is Photobucket. It is quite simple, and allows for multiple uploads which makes my life considerably easier. The steps are simple, follow them and upload your pictures.

Now comes the not so tricky part. Adding photo's to your website is as easy as this:

Just replace the "yourimageurlhere" part with, well, do I really have to spell it out? You can place this tag wherever you want, and put as many photos as you feel is important to describe you are selling.

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