I've been a regular on eBay since 1999, mostly specializing in selling photo equipment. From the first, I realized not only was it important to know my products, but also to present them in clear, professional-looking auctions. That meant really good photos.
Fortunately, I had been an avid photographer for years. I turned professional for a while, doing magazine illustrations and product photography for some ad agencies and companies in the Philadelphia area.
I left that business years ago, but when I discovered eBay, I also discovered a new outlet for my interests in both photo equipment and photography. Not only do I regularly take photos for my eBay listings, but I also participate in eBay discussion and chat boards about photography, sharing what I know and learning from other ebay photographers.
Hello Camera Jim, Thank you so much for providing this wonderful Guide. I am not very technically minded, but I have learned a lot about my little Panasonic Lumix camera since reading through your guide. The white balance alone has made a big difference in my photos. I specialize in vintage items, especially linens, and I have a photography challenge that I can't figure out. One of my fellow dealers on eBay, Rachels Linens, seems to have found the technique to photograph damask linens, which are usually white, ivory or cream colored and have subtle patterns woven into them. In person, you can see the pattern depending on how the light shines or doesn't shine on them. I have experimented with filtered daylight and my photo lights, different camera settings and adjusting the photos in Photoshop, but they still don't look that great. My eBay Store is Sunnyland Vintage Treasures. I would appreciate any tips you can give me on this. Vintage Damask sells well and is a significant part of my business. Janet Stancliff, Sunnyland Vintage Treasures, 3/5/2012
Hi Janet, Thank you for the kind words about my Guidenice to know it's been helpful. I looked at a few of your linen listings and those of Rachels Linens. The main difference I can see is she often rakes her light across the items at a shallow angle, thus bringing out the cloth's texture. In general, the more the light rakes across, the greater the contrast and thus the details shown. Also, it helps to use a small, harsh light rather than soft light. A soft light, like your filtered daylight, is nice for rounded objects; but it reduces contrast and detail, especially on a flat item. To make your light smaller, and thus more contrasty, move it farther away from your subject. Try these tips to see if they help. CameraJim, 3/9/2012
Hello, I just recently read your articles on photographing glass, flatware and jewelry and find them very instructive and hope to try them out. My trouble is that I cannot find a white bowl at the Dollar Store. Will a transluscent one work as well, or will it be too bright? Thanks Richard Blair, eBay Member, 11/8/2011 A translucent bowl will work just fine. The denser the material, the softer the light will be. CameraJim, 11/8/2011
[Posted on an eBay General Discussion Board for people new to eBay...]
Re: My Ebay Adventure
Here is the Link for the King of eBay photography.
Good luck! ~*~pamela~*~ pamela7050, eBay Member, 2/3/2011
Dear Camera Jim, Thank you so much for making your eBay photography tutorials. I have looked around and found them to be the best, clearest, most helpful and well-written photography guides that I have seen, so I have decided to use them as my Bible and not worry about what the rest of the guides say. All best Alexandra, San Francisco, 2/1/2011
Dear camerajim, Hi! I took an adult night school class from you in Chester County a number of years ago and I would like to officially thank you for being such a good teacher. I am a periodic ebay seller, mostly just getting rid of interesting stuff I have collected over the years and have been surprised at how much fun it has been. Thanks so much, Kristi. 95jiffycat, eBay Member, 1/8/2011
[Here's a very succinct email response to camerajim.com. Except for the guide pages, I hadn't given this person any previous help.]
Subject: Camera help
Thank you so much! 4u2getgr8stuff, 4/17/2009
[I think this is Russian; nonetheless it's Greek to me. I just hope it's good press; if not, then at least I'm happy someone who speaks another language also speaks camerajim ;-)]
Are you selling coins on your e-Bay? If you're selling coins on your e-Bay and also been frustrated with your point and shoot not giving you the results in clearer pictures, look at this site. http://www.sigma-2.com/camerajim/cjgcoins.htm This was what motivated me to want to buy a digital\240SLR, over just a better
digital\240point and shoot. eBay coin auction by Seller: scrollsawyer, 08/17/08
Dear camerajim, I just read in your guide how to set the macro lens and turn off the flash on my camera. What a God send! The only thing I didn't like in your guide was where you say we have to read the directions for our camera. Darn! I hate reading directions. Isn't that something men are usually accused of? Brenda,\240kentucky*antique*shop, 6/27/2008
[I just discovered a link to my axial lighting technique on a site for CSIs. According to the last post there, a CSI in Arizona just used it to photograph hard-to-see prints on the magazine of a gun in a homicide investigation. Wow!] 2/5/08
Read what Camerajim saysreshoot, different angles, different positions, that's about it. I had an Armani jacket that just about drove me nuts trying to get rid of the moire. It was a beautiful glen plaid in personin pictures it stunk. I finally read CameraJim on it, followed his clues, got it right and it sold the next time I listed itand I think that was after 4-5 listings and was the only Armani I couldn't sell in one listing. eBay Vintage Clothing & Accessories Board, unknown-shopper (915 )
Thank you for all of the above suggestions from both of you. I must say that I am honored to have my question answered by THE camerajim! I have enjoyed all of your photography tips and guides for the past several years! BJ,\240Photos & HTML Board, 1/13/08
Dear camerajim, I found your helpful info on ebay photography. It is wonderful to find this info! Thanks for taking the time to help out the newbies! oldhottie, 1/9/2008
Hi CameraJim! I just looked at your camera site for eBay photography and was quite impressed! You did a great job. Thanks for making it available.
I have been doing consignment selling on eBay for almost four years as ConcordTrader and I am buying a new camera, so I am looking at everything on the web about the current digital cameras. I do take some good pictures, but need a lot of help on others. Your web site helped! I also just started teaching in the local adult ed program on selling on eBay. Fun stuff!! Any recommendation on a great digital camera to make (no more that $500 or so)? Best regards, Rich F., 1/9/2008
Dear CameraJim, I've read your guide on lighting several times and have improved the quality of my eBay pictures significantly. I've finally decided to take the plunge and get some real lighting equipment.
The two light sets I think will meet my needs are the following: Smith Victor KT500U two lamp umbrella kit, or the Square Perfect SP2500 two lamp umbrella kit. The Smith Victor kit seems to be a bit beefier in that it comes with two 10 inch reflectors whereas the Square Perfect just has a compact fluorescent bulb pointing at the umbrella. If you could give me your opinion on a starter lighting set, I'd really appreciate it. If you think a different setup might be better, feel free to suggest it. Thank you for your assistance. Robyn, 12/6/2007
Hi CameraJim, Just a line to say thank you for your photo guide for eBay. It is going to help me a great deal. Cheers, Stephen
The Art of Origami with Stephen Watson. Cert.Ed. 11/18/2007
Great stuff Camera Jim. I have you saved in my Favorites. The milk jug light tent had me smiling. I hit a few of your Googles, too. Thanks again, Michael, 11/16/2007
Hi Jim. I found your workshops in the Archives and was thrilled! I have already learned so much from those two workshops and your guides. Thanks!
I am kind of new to digital cameras and am looking to buy one for eBay pictures. I have been looking at the Canon A510. I was wondering if you could help me? Most of the used cameras that are listed come with a usb cable and a photo card. But no disk. I checked on the Canon website and am not sure what downloads I am looking for. Drivers? I have Windows 2000. Could you tell me what downloads I need so if I buy one of these, I will know that I can get it up and running? Thank you so much! Beth T., 11/15/2007
Hi CameraJim, I wanted to thank you for your wonderful tutorials I have found them immensely helpful. I really appreciate the easy-to-understand, step-by-step instructions. Reading other photography forums left me more confused than before I started! But your tutorials were clear and straightforward. Thanks for that. LOL I had a question for you, too. It's been awhile since you rec. the Canon PowerShot A520 4.0 Megapixel. Has there been something new/better to come down the pike since your posting last year? Also, I'm developing my website, where I will be selling vintage accessories (handbags, scarves), so there'll be lots of close-up work, just like eBay. Any camera recs for me? Many thanks, Catherine, thewaldhaus, 11/10/2007
Hi Camerajim, I would like to say is thank you. I have stumbled across you in my search for info on better photographing techniques. I have learned so much from your site I cannot thank you enough. You answer questions that have been bugging me for so long. Thank you, thank you, thank you! Respectfully, Joan E. "kellerbelle" 9/27/2007
Sir, Just wanted to say thank you for your effort giving such good, free advice for our eBay sales photography.\240I'm much obliged. Sincerely, Nelson W., 9/12/2007
Dear Camerajim, I read your posts/meeting yesterday, and I wanted to tell you THANK YOU, I have been trying for six months to get it right, and with your help, I finally achieved the colors I wanted with my diachronic and iridescent glass that I fuse. You have made my artistic life worth fusing! Jillie L. Twisted Sister Arts 8/23/2007
P.S. Watch for me this fall, I'm going to do a store!
Dear CameraJim, Thank you for your guide on lighting. You're very creative! I have a Canon Rebel/digital. Hoping to use it to sell some items. Thanks for all your help. eBay Member 9550b, 8/13/2007
Hi, Just wanted to give you some feedback on your Guide to eBay Auction Photography...
As an amateur photographer of 30+ years and an occasional eBay seller, I have to say your guide is an excellent primer in lighting techniques.\240 It packs a lot of very useful information in a very small space and is ideal for both the complete novice as well as the enthusiast who finds lighting one of the trickiest aspects of photography to get to grips with.
I've bookmarked your page and will be passing it on at every opportunity.\240 Maybe in the future someone will email you with similar praise and say how glad they are that I recommended it to them!
P.S. Now if only you had a guide to portrait lighting... *:) Regards, Rudy (Gloucester, UK), 7/15/2007
Dear CameraJim, I just wanted to send you a personal thank you for providing so much useful information to the general eBay population regarding photography.
I recently had to replace my HP607 digital camera (which I had purchased a couple of years ago without doing any research and just luckily stumbled upon an okay camera for eBay photography). I read your Guides and advice and went out shopping, with a Canon A series in mind; I returned home yesterday with my new Canon A530 and LOVE it!!! It does everything I need and more. (There are some features that appear less than useful to anyone, but all the cameras seem to include them now.)
I am really enjoying taking photos and getting to know this camera. Thank you so very much for offering up your expertise in the area of photography to myself and others. Regards, Alanna, 2/16/2007
Hi Jim, This is not a question, but a big thumbs up and thank you for your guide. I've been doing pictures professionally since 1969. Even at this level, I found your guide helpful in stimulating me to revise a technique or two. Even though they have worked well enough for years, this eBay stuff has kept me needing to learn and improve. (One never knows what my wife will bring me to make look good.)
I particularly like the glass section. I used to do liquor ads, back in the early 80s. Bottles had stuff in them (for a while anyway) so foil and other material was used to enhance the product. The bottles also had labels on them. Now, shooting these clear antiques, with their embossed exteriors occasionally makes me work harder than I think I should. So thanks for the window idea. I'll try it when I can. Rob, 2/15/2007
Dear Jim, I just want to drop you a line to let you know how much I appreciate your photo guides. I am in the process of setting up my store "My Danish Attic" (I live in Denmark) and hope to generate enough money to come back to California. Your information and advice is very, very precious to me. Thank you once again. Sincerely, Margaret M. Denmark 11/6/2006
Hi, I just wanted to write and say how much I appreciated your site with its guidelines on photography, lighting, etc. It is one of the most helpful sites I have come across. Many thanks. Cindy M., M.B.A Just4ShowSaddlery and Tack4Show 11/2/2006
Hi CameraJim, I just wanted to thank you for the great Guides. I am so glad you took the time to write them.\240I need to do a photo shoot with some of my productsI make baby carriersand feel much more confident in going about it.\240I have been searching for what you so kindly offered in your Guides. Don't know why good info is so hard to find!\240Thanks so much again for the information!!!!!!!!!!! Good luck in all you do. Maria M., 6/23/2006
Just wanted you to know I am an amateur photographer trying to turn professional, and I just stumbled upon your Guide on eBay. I learned more in that Guide than I have learned about anything in such a short period of time! I love the way you say things in basic terms and offer ways of lighting without having to spend a TON of money doing it. I was really confused about some of it before I read the Guide. Thank you so much for putting the Guide on there!! Susan O. Wynne, Arkansas 5/27/2006