The Importance of Good Photos

Providing good, clear photos of an item Is an important aspect of selling on-line. Some of the most common photo errors and omissions that we see in online site listings again and again, are these:

Damage mentioned in the description, but no photo(s) shown of same.
Accurately describing an item is good, but what is even better is to include a picture or two of an item's faults or damage. It will send out a clear message to potential buyers - that you are trading in good faith.

A makers mark is mentioned, but not shown.
Sometimes several lines of text will be devoted to making a valiant attempt to describe a rather complicated mark, when simply adding a photo of it would have been simpler and more informative to the viewer.

An experienced collector can often discern a fake by visually judging the body of the ware, the way a mark looks, or by a combination of factors. Offering this information to them in a visual format can be crucial in gaining customer confidence about the authenticity of some items.

So, if you are giving only a single frontal photo of an item that has been widely reproduced and verbally trying to describe the mark you see on the bottom of it, no matter how good your verbal skills, most likely a potential customer will decide to take a pass, rather than taking a chance that the one you are selling is authentic. Roseville pottery is a good example. Because of reproductions, many collectors simply will not buy a piece of this pottery unless they can first visually examine the base and mark.

Fuzzy photos.

These kinds of photos tend to make one wonder if a trip to the optometrist is over-due. When trying to show up close shots of things like marks or damage, showing a blurred photo of a mark that is just a blue blob on a white field is on par with showing no photo at all. Neither approach is helpful to the buyer.

Teeny, tiny photos.

These are images that stay thumbnails on the click through enlargement page and never enlarge. This is a phenomenon most often seen when images have been copied and pasted from another Web page, but it can also be the result of other issues such as the type of imaging software you are using for cropping and framing. They are next to useless for properly displaying an item or encouraging customer interest.

Cluttered Photos.

These may show the feet of a nearby observer, household furniture, pets in the background in odd poses, or cars on the street. Also included in cluttered item photos will often be various parts of the picture taker's anatomy, like their arms (holding something at arms length to take the picture) or detailed, up close images of their hands, fingers - and fingernails.

The 'clutter' method of display can be extremely distracting. Odd items in the frame are most likely to draw the eye and customers interest away from the item being sold.

We recommend that you try to avoid the temptation to hold small items up to the camera lens with your hand, which seems to be a popular method for photographing jewelry or smaller items. This practice can produce hugely exaggerated depictions to the shopper of fingernails and skin, wrinkles and all. Try to view the photograph enlargements of each of your individual items with these concerns in mind and consider utilizing images that display only the item which is for sale.

Keep in mind that images may display very differently, and possibly in a manner less than complimentary, when depicted as a magnified image on a computer screen. There will always be screen sizes, display capabilities, computer models, and personal settings that differ from your own. So do try to be careful of what you include in the frame. Otherwise, a particular image may just give someone somewhere in the world quite a start when they click over to view the enlargement.

We understand that taking close-ups of small objects can be difficult, but it is usually best to try to move the camera close to the object, not the other way around. Bright, clear photos which offer only the item that is being sold distinctly, in good light, and easily viewable against a complimentary color, will generally be more appealing to a wider audience and encourage quicker sales.

When scheduling your photo shoots of stock prior to listing, do allow some time for experimentation in order to take good shots of details such as decorative patterns, close-ups of things like facial features on figural items, the backs of jewelry pieces to show clasps, and pin fittings and manufacturers marks.

Offering good clear visuals of an item from different angles will assist customers in making that all important purchase decision.


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