Images are an integral part of showing potential bidders exactly what it is they would be getting if they win, so ensuring your photos are of a high standard is extremely important. The big question is, what’s the better proposition stock photos or your own photos?
What are Stock photos?
These are images that are provided by an external source. You are most likely to find these images via search engine, or free image sites, and chances are most sellers will use similar stock images. Since these images are freely available online.
In most cases, stock photos are used when an item is brand new and sealed, such as video games, DVDs and CD’s. You might also use stock images for hardware as well, but you have to be sure that what you are selling matches exactly what is shown in the stock photo. Again, this mostly relates to brand new unopened items.
Some examples of free stock image sites are:
What are Seller photos?
These are photos taken by you and are personalised towards the item you are selling. You would normally use your own photos where you are selling an item that is open, unsealed, used and/or is clothing, vehicles, antiquities etc., as these are items that are not only extremely difficult to visualise from a stock photo (if indeed one even exists), but reassures potential bidders that what you are selling is exactly what is described in your well crafted headline and description.
Further more, when using your own photos it is a best practice to use more than one, especially if it is something that has been used or needs more points of view to showcase.
Stock photos vs seller photos, which is better for your auction?
As mentioned above stock photos can be used for brand new and sealed items. A sealed Playstation 4 game is the same if you bought it from HMV as it is from an online store, so a stock photo in an instance like that would be perfectly acceptable. However, the real question is should you use a stock photo? Personally, I believe even for sealed items a seller photo is perhaps still a better option simply because it adds a more human element to your auction.
Think of it in these terms: When someone sees a stock photo they are likely to relate that to a warehouse full of that item, whereas a personalised seller photo reassures bidders that that item has been physically in your hands and exists in your house and that exact one is the one they’ll receive.
User photos are a means to really personalise your auction; to draw potential bidders in and get them truly invested in what it is you are auctioning.
Do photos make a difference?
Yes, photos should be used to show any flaws, faults and scuffs, but its also your best opportunity to really connect with potential bidders on a visual level. If they can see themselves owning your item, they will be much more likely to bid.
One final point to wrap this article up would be to mention photo quality. You really need to pay attention to how good your photos actually look. You might have the most exquisite 12th century Chinese ceramics, but nobody will bid if your photo looks like it was taken using a ‘potato’ i.e. extremely grainy and noisy, or so dark bidders will assume the sale is to pay your electricity bill!
Modern phones generally have good cameras on them these days, however the mistake most sellers make is not taking into account lighting. A 16 megapixel camera on your phone might sound great, but the sensor is only as good as the light provided. Many phone cameras have poor sensors and thus are rubbish in low light – they’re getting better, but it would still be best practice to take your photos in bright natural light than low or artificial light.
And if you own a DSLR then USE IT!! It really can make the difference.