Over the years, I’ve sold quite a bit of used photography gear on eBay, and I’ve always gotten a fair price for it. One of the keys to my success is that I always take a quality photo of the gear I’m trying to sell.
With very little investment, you can create product shots of your old gear that look like they were made in a studio. The only thing I bought to shoot this photo of a spot meter (below), for example, was a sheet of white poster board at the local craft store. For lighting I just used a living room lamp placed to the right of the products (obviously you can see the shadows from that lamp) and a second piece of white board on the left to bounce light back into the shot.
Here are five tips for taking good product shots to sell your gear on eBay:
1. Use a plain background. A piece of white poster board is really cheap, and if you keep it clean it will last for years.
2. Include all the accessories you’re selling with the product — but nothing you’re not selling. In this instance, I was selling the spot meter with its original manual (very important to include the manual if you have it), its case and the lens cap. This is everything that came with the meter.
3. Include a separate shot of the original box if you have it. Keeping the original packaging increases the resale price substantially. I have a closet shelf in my office where I store all original packaging forever (or until I sell the gear).
4. Don’t fret too much about lighting. I used a table lamp with some fill from a white card and that created a clean-enough looking shot. Alternately, you might consider buying a white shooting tent (which, ironically, you can often find for sale on eBay) so that you can create perfect, shadowless shots of your items.
5. Shoot both overall and close-up shots. It doesn’t cost that much more to include several photos in an online ad, so take the time to shoot close-up shots of any important details. For this meter, I also included a close-up of the LCD panel. If there is any damage, be sure to take a close-up of that — so that potential buyers can see that it’s only a superficial scratch, for example.
If you take an hour or so to create a high-quality, informative photo of your used gear, you are almost certainly going to get a better price. I sometimes have a hard time selling old gear because of its sentimental value — but when I’m buying a new lens or new body, selling off the old stuff is a great way to defray the cost.