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Taking Great Cell Phone Photos

Great product photos will help your items sell faster and may make you more money, but for posting on a website they do not need to be high resolution. The most important thing for good photos is to hold the camera still and have enough light on the subject.

QUICK LIST BEFORE YOU PHOTO

  • Get closer – don’t use the built-in zoom
  • Find / add good light
  • Hold the phone steady or use a tripod
  • Turn off the flash
  • Turn off HDR
  • Adjust the resolution in your camera settings to the lowest which might be 1920 by xx. Each phone is different, but you do not need high resolution images to post on websites.

Clean It. People love clean and shiny objects. Start by making the furniture look as good as possible. Clean it the best you can.

Stage it. That means remove items that are sitting on or around the item. Clear a space around the item so that the only thing in the picture, if possible, is the item you want to sell. If the items are small enough it’s best to move them to an area that’s unobstructed preferably a wall or corner with white or pale colored walls.

Light it up. Make sure the item is well lighted. Look for side lighting or cross light on your subject. Light coming from the side at an angle will bring out any texture in the subject and add depth and dimension to your images. Can you bring an extra lamp into the room? Try a few practice shots with the flash on but usually that can leave a glare on some objects or put too much light in a room. Natural light is best. Open windows and doors and let the light in.

Turn off the HDR setting. Some cameras offer an HDR setting. Turn it off! Or at the very least, use it very sparingly. You do not need it about 90% of the time particularly for these online sale item photos.

Hold still and focus. One big issue with many mobile phone images is they are blurry. That is usually due to not holding it steady enough during the shot. Borrow a tripod that will help you hold the phone steady. There are inexpensive small tripods just for cell phones that will make a big difference for any of your photos not just your estate sale items. If you don’t have one, make sure you brace your elbows on something as you shoot to minimize any camera shake.

Focus the phone on one of the item’s prominent features, hold a second to let your phone adjust and your smartphone will do the rest of the focusing for you.

Take a close-up of areas of interest on some objects. If it’s a collectible take a picture of the authenticity document or any marks from the manufacturer.

Be consistent with your angles and shoot straight. Try to keep the same relative position and distance from the camera with every shot except for close ups. Don’t hold the camera crooked and don’t stand above an object and shoot down on it unless it’s a close up shot of a seat cushion or a tabletop. Take the photos from a level perspective.

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