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Sometimes the difference between selling an item for a decent amount and selling an item for 99p (or perhaps not selling it at all) can be all down to the presentation.
The number of times I’ve been searching for something for me and find myself being put off because a picture is dark, the surroundings are messy and cluttered and the item itself is a crumpled mess – if I wouldn’t consider buying an item presented in this way, why would anyone buy mine?
I’m not saying you have to go and invest in a new camera, lights and equipment or a photography course just to enhance your listings, but there a few things you can do to make your listing look better – even if you just have a little floor space, the item and your camera phone!
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Before you think about listing an item, make sure it’s clean and not too creased.
If it’s been stored away for a while and smells a bit musty you might want to run it through the washing machine (or at least acknowledge the fact in the listing)
If you can get away with just smoothing out creases by hand – great, but if something is really badly creased you might want to consider giving it an iron or steaming it.
If you have a mannequin to use – brilliant, or if you can pick one up secondhand cheaply off facebook or gumtree, great!
Clothing always looks better when you can see what it looks like on. How many times have you gone shopping to pick a dress that looks amazing on the hanger, but rubbish on? Or vice versa?
In my opinion, showing how a piece fits on a mannequin pre-empts potential returns because it is obvious from the listing how it looks.
That said, you don’t need a mannequin. Some clothing, particularly very cheap items, I won’t bother as it’s a bit more time consuming dressing and undressing the mannequin for each new listing. But if you have an expensive item, it’s definitely worth that little extra effort.
If you have the space, a great alternative to a mannequin is laying an item flat on the floor.
Try to ensure the floor is clear of distractions and the flooring itself is plain – a grey carpet, tiles or wood flooring is better than a patterned carpet or rug. Basically, the plainer the better – you don’t want the background to distract from the item you’re trying to sell.
Resellers I’ve noticed, are taking the flatlay one step further and stylising their shots with accessories such as shoes, bags and jewellery.
Whilst this does make for a great picture, again weigh up whether it’s worth the time and effort to do so… and if you do ensure you clarify in the listing that the other items are not included in the sale.
If you don’t have a clear space to lay the item flat, hang it on a coat hanger and hang against a plain door or wall.
Again, it doesn’t really matter about which option you choose – the aim is for light, clutter-free backgrounds that don’t distract the eye away from the item.
You could even model the item yourself, I’ve seen this work particularly well for full time resellers – but if you’re just selling your secondhand stuff unless the item is particularly valuable, it probably isn’t worth your time doing this.
Though if you have a picture of yourself wearing the item from another time, by all means add it to the listing to show how it fits – just remember to blot out your face and any background that might identify you – you can’t be too careful!
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Once you’ve decided how you’re going to present the item, you now need to think about the pictures you’re going to take.
You get 12 free photos, so you might as well take as many pictures as possible – by doing so you reduce the chances of a return as it’s clear exactly what condition the item is in to any prospective buyers.
As a standard I take a picture of the front and back, and if it’s on the mannequin I will take a side picture too.
I also like to take close up photos of any special features or details.
For example if a dress is lined, I’ll take a picture with the top layer lifted so you can see the lining.
If there’s a hidden pocket inside, I’ll take a picture of that. And I also like to take pictures of fastenings too.
The reason I take so many additional pictures is:
a. People don’t read the listings. They just don’t. I might put ‘lined’ in the description and they’ll still ask ‘is it lined?’
b. Some problem buyers might claim that the fastening is broke – if you have photographed it, you have evidence that they have tampered with it.
c. Sometimes you can’t see the detail in a full length picture – a blouse might have a lovely, intricate, embellished collar but the main picture might not show that.
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Take pictures! Even if it’s only slight, it’s better to be upfront about it than risk a case of ‘item not described’ later.
You can also go into detail about the flaw in your description and refer the buyer to ‘as seen in pic 5’ to cover all your bases and ensure that they know exactly what they are bidding on.
As I’ve said already, buyers don’t always read, so show them instead!
I like to include a picture of the brand label and the care label.
Though you might fill these specifics in the item requirement section, by including a picture you can often pre-empt a question from a buyer.
I had several buyers message me in the past asking for the material composition (I’m not sure why – I’ve never thought about this when buying clothes!) so I started taking a picture of the label which states the exact material makeup.
Somehow I’ve managed to write over 1000 words about how to photograph clothes for ebay!
Don’t be put off, it actually takes no time at all to get into the habit of taking these extra few pictures, and by incorporating some of the tips I’ve shared here, hopefully you’ll soon be posting out those sales!
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I started Katie Saves while on Maternity Leave to document our adjustment to living on less. Now back in work - I blog about making extra money, saving money, getting my life organised and being a new mum. Join me!