How to Sell Your Stuff Online: Taking Pictures (Part 1 of 4)

Taking good pictures is the first step to making money selling your stuff online.

Today I’m introducing the first of a four part series about how to sell your stuff online.  Just this summer, I sold over $1100 at ONE yard sale.  I’ve sold hundreds of dollars worth of stuff through Facebook yard sale groups over the last few years, as well as through local sites.  I’ve even sold items on Amazon and Ebay although not as often as the others.  So I feel pretty good about sharing some advice with you in the hopes that you can have some success as well.

In the first part of this series I’m going to go over taking pictures.  I’m going to explain why good pictures make a difference and I’ll give some examples of good and bad pictures.

To begin with, let’s start with the obvious: good pictures sell.  If you see a picture of an item or product that is bright and shows off the item well, you are more likely to be interested in buying it.  If you see a picture of an item that looks dusty or the lighting is bad, you probably won’t be all that interested in checking it out further, even if it’s something you’re looking for.  Some people are good at seeing the potential of an item, but many people want to skim through pictures and will stop on the one that is bright, clear and easy to see what’s being sold.

So how do you take a good picture of what you want to sell?

First step is to clean it up.  If it’s furniture, wipe it down.  If it’s clothes, hang them up or put them in the dryer to get the wrinkles out before hanging it up or laying it out flat.  Even something that looks old can look decent if you clean it.  (This is also important when you’re hosting a yard sale.)

Second step is to take a picture.  Here are some tips:

  • Good lighting: Don’t take it in the basement where there’s only one light bulb.  Try to take pictures in the daytime in a well lit room.  If that’s not an option, turn on the light so it’s bright.
  • Use a decent camera, even if it’s just your phone.  Most of the pictures I take are with my phone rather than my point and shoot or DSLR simply because it’s more convenient.
  • Have a neutral background behind your item.  I use my couch, which is grey, or a plain wall.  Complicated or busy backgrounds will detract from whatever it is you’re selling.
  • Take individual pictures of each item, unless it comes as a set.  If it comes as a set, take pictures of each item and one picture of everything together.  Do not take a picture of a bunch of random items and then list off each item in the picture.

Here are some examples of bad pictures vs good pictures.  I just want to point out that the good pictures really are the ones that I post online.  The bad ones I took to contrast, but I’ve seen so many people post pictures like this.

Taking good pictures is the first step to making money selling your stuff online.

Taking good pictures is the first step to making money selling your stuff online.

Taking good pictures is the first step to making money selling your stuff online.

Taking decent pictures takes time, but as they say, time is money and if you spend a few extra minutes to get those pictures, it will definitely pay off.  (Pun intended.)

Lastly, upload your pictures onto your computer and save them in a file.  You will want to save all your for sale items in one place so you can find them easily.

Stay tuned for Part 2 of the series about pricing, which I’ll be posting on Wednesday!

18 thoughts on “How to Sell Your Stuff Online: Taking Pictures (Part 1 of 4)

  1. Oh my word- YES. I cannot tell you how many crappy pictures I've seen of people trying to sell stuff. Although I will admit I'm not much better…but your examples really gave me some ideas! I can't wait to see what else you have coming for us in this series!

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  2. I'm always surprised at the bad pictures I see of people selling stuff. I figure that if you're going to go to the work of taking the picture and trying to sell it, you might as well make it worth your time.

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  3. Great ideas! If I have a big item like a printer I always try to put it on eBay first and if it doesn't sell I just chuck it in the bin, but would be a good idea to collect a bunch of unwanted items and make a yard sale or how we call it here car-boot sale, they are fun events and I like it that you get to interact with people; they ask you about your items and all that lot, it's great. Then you go and spend all your money on somebody else's junk and fill up your house again haha

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  4. Depending on what it is, I will sometimes use Ebay, but I don't like having to worry about shipping it. It's much easier if you can have a local person come pick it up. I definitely agree that yard sales are great if you have a lot you are trying to sell, but otherwise, online is a great way to go. Thanks for your thoughts Alina!

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