Five More eBay Photo Mistakes to Avoid

Direct sunlight or overbright unidirectional light can inaccurately make near-mint items look worn and old. eBay

Some of the most obvious eBay photo mistakes to avoid are more or less well-known by now, but astute eBay sellers know that there are a few less obvious others that deserve mentioning.

If you've looked at tips and more tips about eBay photos, you've done your research and believe that you have great listings—yet you're still underperforming, take a look at some of these additional eBay photo no-nos that are less often discussed.

Don't Shoot Items in Direct Sunlight

Most of the photo guidance out there encourages you to shoot under well-lighted conditions. This is great advice, but it fails to make the distinction between "well lighted" and "bright sunlight." Why no direct sunlight?

Two reasons. First, direct sunlight also introduces strong shadows that can make your object look strange, distorted, or less desirable. Next and more importantly, direct sunlight creates bright highlights on even the tiniest of dust particles or little scratches—many of which would be completely undetectable under any other conditions.

If your item is used, direct sunlight can make a virtually mint condition item unfairly appear to be full of nicks and scratches. If your item is new, direct sunlight can make factory-new product packaging appear as though it's been banged around, when in fact, it hasn't and doesn't look that way to the naked eye.

Don't Shoot Before You Clean

Whether your stock is used or new, take a moment before shooting to go over it with a dust cloth or a wet wipe. Even factory new packaging can accumulate dust, streaks, and other completely unimportant surface dirt that is somehow accentuated in photos, causing your item to appear much less desirable to shoppers than it actually is.

Don't Host Your Photos Yourself

Years ago it was not uncommon for sellers to "host" photos themselves—using their own web server or a third-party server to get around eBay fees for photos (this wasn't against the rules). Many sellers still do this, embedding these externally-hosted images into their listings with HTML code. Doing this, however, comes with a key drawback—mobile users won't be able to see any externally hosted images in the eBay shopping app. With mobile an ever-growing percentage of eBay purchases, you want these shoppers to see every image you have to offer.

Don't Forget the Sealed-Box Photo

If you're selling new goods, you may have taken the time to open a box and shoot all of its contents in a nicely arranged spread so that buyers can see just what's included with their purchase. Don't forget, however, to include a shot of the sealed original packaging as well. Including only open-box photos can give buyers the mistaken impression that the listing is for open-box goods, which is a turnoff to many shoppers.

Don't Include Too Many Photos

The definition of just what constitutes "too many" is a fuzzy one, but you should ensure that each of your photos offers a distinct, useful perspective on your product to shoppers.

Those two words are key—distinct and useful. Avoid lots of photos that are repetitive (not distinct) or photos that aren't actually useful to shoppers. Not only does this make your listings tedious to look at, but it tends to suggest a seller that's a little bit desperate and has nothing better to do (i.e. a small, inexperienced seller without the resources to handle fulfillment and returns professionally, rather than an experienced, competent seller).

While the number of photos tips out there can sometimes seem daunting and even contradictory in some cases, it helps to see the bigger picture—your goal with all of your eBay photos is to present your products honestly and also in the best, most professional light possible, keeping in mind that whatever your photos are saying about your products, they are also saying about you as a seller.