Life of a Thrifter: How to Take Better Pictures

When it comes to taking pictures for sites like Ebay, it can be difficult to make your item look as good as it does in person. When I first started Name Brand Thrift, I would clean the carpet thoroughly and take pictures of the items on the floor. They didn’t look bad, but they definitely didn’t look professional either. Still, sales were good and the business grew. Many of my items still contain those pictures, as I don’t have time to retake them all, but my newer listings now have a clean white space.

As the business has grown, I’ve chosen to invest in it so that it can grow as quickly as possible. I purchased a lighting set up for under $40, use the myTouch 4g phone for pictures, and now have good, quality pictures. You don’t want your pictures to be too good, however, for one simple reason. I’ve heard from many sellers that the buyer was disappointed with the item when it arrived because the pictures were better than the item. You have to find the fine line between good and J Crew good. J Crew good may look nice, but it also has the potential to disappoint the buyer when they receive their order.

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Lighting Set Up
The Result
The Result

This picture is not perfect, but it accurately shows the item and looks much more professional than a floor/table/door in the background. Here is the lighting set up that I purchased and the white space in the background only cost me $4. I found some incredibly thick cardboard that was nearly as strong as wood, cut a piece to put clothes on, and then purchased white fabric from the local Wal-Mart (from the remnants). I stretched the fabric tightly over the cardboard, stapled it onto the back, and now have a nice white space to take pictures on. I also put white sheets on the wall and the floor so that my photo space has white edges, though I still crop out the “extras.”