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Focus On Your Objective For Better Ebay Sales!

Aug 17, 2007
So many sales on Ebay are let down by poor photographs - here's a tip to set you apart from the rest!

As an eBay trader, I regularly visit many forums that contain sections on eBay trading - after all, these days it's big business. One of the biggest moans that I see, day in and day out, is regarding the quality of photos on eBay. It doesn't inspire confidence to buy if all a customer can see is a fuzzy, out-of-focus image! No matter how good your product or item is, send a bad photo out to promote it and you go to the bottom of the pile.

'One picture is worth a thousand words'. Never were truer words spoken when it comes to promoting your item! I have stressed in other articles that you must have good photos if you want to sell well - but it has occurred to me that I never told you how to get the best results from small items such as the ones I sell.

Larger items are easy. Smaller items - let's define them by saying that a 'smaller item' is no bigger than a wristwatch - can be difficult. Why? Well, to understand this point, you have to know a little about photography. Wait! Don't turn off - it's easy to understand and could make simply massive improvements to your work!

Okay - so what do you need to know? Photographers will be aware of the phrase I am about to use: it's called 'Depth Of Field'. What? Listen, it's easy to understand and, once you have grasped it, your small items will look good for ever.

Any camera - film or digital - uses a lens to collect and focus the light and image. On inexpensive 'snapshot' cameras the focal length - that is, the distance at which the camera will take sharp pictures - is fixed. Normally this 'fixed focus' is between three feet and infinity - as far as you can see. For close-up shots of our 'small items', many digital cameras (the ones we are really interested in) use a 'macro' setting.

This setting lets you take ultra close-ups. Whilst these are great, they have very little 'depth of field'. So what's that? Try to visualise this: your macro setting is designed to focus on the nearest thing to it - so by getting very close to your item you will have the front in focus but the back will be slightly blurred. The 'field' of focus can be as shallow as half an inch if you're really close! Here's a practical test -

Go get a teaspoon, or a small matchbox. Put it on the table. Go get your camera. Now turn on the macro and get in as close as you can - probably within an inch or two - and take a shot. Now - back off a foot and take another picture. Sure, the item won't look as big but - download it to your computer and see the difference.

The first shot will fill the frame but - hey, the near part is in focus and the rest looks a bit fuzzy! How about the second - well, it doesn't fill the frame so I'll crop it and - well, look at that. Sharp focus on all the item. Wow!

This is the 'Depth Of Field' effect. Macro settings are fine if you want to capture a tiny part of a very small image in tight focus - then you should get really close and click the shutter. However, if you want to take a full-focus shot of a fairly small item, you should back off and take your shot, cropping oit to the required size with your photo-editing software.

Result? A small item that is in full focus and looks terrific to your customers - and that's what you should have for every item you sell!
About the Author
Steve Dempster writes informative articles for the web and is also a confirmed eBayer. To learn more about levering your eBay sales, take a look at A New Life 4U or pay his shop a visit
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