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Table of Contents
We are surrounded by product photography. From billboards and magazines, to the internet and TV. Companies invest considerable sums of money into their product photos, so they must be a worthwhile investment. Many of the techniques used to produce effective product shots may seem alien and daunting, but the principles are relatively simple, even if you are on a budget.
The main purpose of product photography is to sell products, it is sales driven. A product photo conveys a products function, beauty, and desirability. It is a form of storytelling. Product photos also help to establish a company’s brand and style. If you approach your own product photos in this way, and see yourself as a client, it will help you map out exactly what you want and why.
Ebay truly is an internet success story. Since its humble beginnings it has grown into a multi-billion dollar business, and has operations in thirty countries. It’s successful because it allows anyone with access to a computer and camera to become an entrepreneur overnight, giving the seller and buyer more choice and flexibility than ever before. You can buy anything from an elastic band to a house.
In the UK, eBay accounts for 15% of online sales, with 4 million users listing at least one item for sale every month. That is a big market, with huge profit potential. However, the competition is fierce, so anything you can do to get your product noticed is a major advantage.
No matter how professional your product description is, you can lose a sale with a poor picture, as many sellers do. There are even people who make a living finding products listed with poor pictures, buy the product at a low price, then sell it back on eBay at a healthy profit, all because they know how to produce a decent picture that leads to a sale.
The first contact customers have with your product is through your pictures. As they scroll through the listings they’re bombarded with pictures, so they need to stand out to attract their attention.
You don’t need an expensive kit to get great eBay pictures. Just a simple camera, one or two lights, maybe a reflector, and you’re ready to go. You can even make your own accessories that work just as well as professional ones. However, if you want to take your product photography further, for instance you are photographing products for a catalogue, then you should be prepared for more expense. This is because such a set-up usually requires more equipment than a standard eBay shoot. A fully functional professional product photography studio will require various lights and flashes, reflectors, backdrops, props, stands. You may even have to hire an assistant. But for most on-line product shoots you can make do with a small initial investment, a little bit of knowledge, and some inspiration.
Figure 1 – This kit comprises a digital SLR camera with zoom lens, plus a flash gun, tripod, reflector, and a backdrop. This is all you need to achieve professional looking eBay photos
As you work your way through this book you will learn the techniques and creative methods used to produce highly effective product photography. From the basics of exposure, to the importance of lighting, plus photo editing tips used by the pros, this book covers it all.
If given the choice between two photographs, would you choose the one that is out of focus, poorly lit, with a distracting background, or the sharp well lit image that jumps out at you?
• Choose the most appropriate gear for your needs.
• Prepare your products.
• Achieve professional looking shots on a budget.
• Understand the psychology of advertising and colour.
• Photograph clothes, jewellery, glass, antiques, and more.
• Style and position your products.
• Understand light and composition.
• Choose the best background.
• Be creative with exposure.
• Stay to a consistent theme.
• Shoot indoors and outside.
• Add text, graphics, and watermarks.
• Save on eBay fees.
• Resize and crop your images.
• Use Photoshop to achieve pro results every time. Includes link to download a full legal copy of Photoshop CS2 from Adobe (free Adobe account required). Click to go to the link
These techniques work for any online retail outlet such as Amazon, Alibaba, Etsy, or even your own retail website.
Whether you are just starting out or a full time power seller, the tips and tricks in this book will give you the advantage over the competition in the highly competitive marketplace of eBay.
A picture really does speak a thousand words, or in your case a thousand pounds, euros, or dollars. We are surrounded by pictures, and the advertisers know all the photographic techniques to get you to part with your cash.
A professional looking picture doesn’t just increase the value of your product. It shows the buyer that you have taken time and pride in your work, thus increasing their trust in you and your products. EBay is built on trust, so gaining your customers trust is vital to your success.
An effective eBay photo enables the customer to gleam as much information about the product as possible. It should be well lit, in focus, and have no distractions in the background. This straight forward approach works well for most products and can be thought of as objective photography.
Figure 2 – This picture gives the customer lots of information to go on. It was shot using window light combined with flash, plus a few minutes in Photoshop
Simplicity is always the best approach – don’t get side-tracked. You can easily produce a professional looking photograph with low cost equipment and a bit of initiative.
Other products benefit from a more subjective and emotional approach. For example, a summer dress worn by a model under the warm light of a sunset in a field with wild flowers will communicate to your customer the notion of summer, warmth, and freedom. Or an eye mask worn by someone resting in bed will convey the message of sleep and relaxation. Imagine your product in actual use and communicate this through your photograph. Look at product pictures on the internet and in magazines and ask yourself what emotion is being conveyed. Pay attention to the lighting, props, poses, colours, and background. This combination of technical and creative skills creates a synergy that invokes an emotion, and makes a sale.
The main way product photographers invoke emotions in their pictures is through the use of light. Different qualities can produce quite different emotions. Knowing how to use light in this way will help your customer connect with your products. This will be explained in chapter 6.
Figure 3 – The blue background contrasts with the phone helping it to stand out. Along with the wooden table, a sense of time and place is invoked, further enhancing the retro feel
[*The Psychology of Advertising *]
Advertisings’ main function is to inform, influence, and persuade. Persuasion works on two levels, direct persuasion and indirect.
Direct persuasion is aimed at people who are already thinking about buying the product, and are weighing up the pros and cons such as time needed to save the money, the usefulness of the product, and similar alternative products. Direct advertising is effective when the facts and arguments presented are believable to the customer.
[*When you advertise a product you aren’t just selling the product, you‘re selling an emotion. This is central to all advertising and you should strive to achieve this in every aspect of your listing, from the picture, to your eBay name and branding, and the description. *]
Indirect advertising works on a more subconscious level, and triggers emotional cues, such as an emotional story, bright colours, or an attractive model. On the surface the customer largely ignores these cues but they invoke temporary feelings, which lead to a desire for the product.
Colours and advertising
Red works on primary bodily functions such as heart rate, appetite, and blood pressure. It is associated passion, power, sex, pride and strength.
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Product Photography Tips for Ebay and Ecommerce: Complete Tutorial on Lighting, Studio, and Kit. With Over 70 Photos and Diagrams is the quintessential guide to capturing the perfect image that will sell your product. This 2nd edition contains even more tips and tricks from the digital photography pros, to take your product shots to the next level. Photographer and experienced Ebay Power Seller, George Sekonda reveals his industry secrets that will transform your amateur efforts into professional quality marketing masterpieces that will close the sale with a few simple tips and techniques outlined in the pages of this easy-to-follow book. Great for beginners, and beyond. A sample of what you'll learn: Product Photography Lighting Photography Composition Understanding Exposure Photograph jewellery, antiques, clothes, glass, Etsy products, and more! Unlock advertising secrets Make a light box Choosing the perfect backdrop Using Photoshop, with link to free full legal version of Photoshop CS2 Sell more Products! With over 70 photos and diagrams, this must have photography book provides all of the tools necessary to jump start your Ebay or Ecommerce business, giving you a serious advantage in this fiercely competitive marketplace. Buy now and Transform your photos into works of art and get your products sold!