How to photograph for online consignment sales

May 7, 2019

Online consignment sales are becoming big business

Whether it’s the slightly busy thredUP or the more sophisticated The RealReal, online consignment sales are growing. In fact, the US Census Bureau reported that “E-commerce sales made up around 10 percent of total U.S. retail sales in the third quarter of 2018.” Consumers shop online for a variety of reasons. Speed of sale, shipping rates and difficulty getting to the actual store are all top reasons. If you’re currently selling online, make your items look their best. Here’s how.

1.) Use your camera phone

Online consignment sales can be done using your cell phone for photos

Camera phones take incredibly beautiful photos. I recently visited the MO Botanical Gardens in St. Louis and couldn’t believe the quality of photos I took with my Samsung Galaxy S9. According to Oberlo, make sure your phone’s lense is clean before taking your first photos. Use a microfiber cloth to thoroughly wipe it down. Turn off your phone’s flash and don’t use the zoom feature. Crop your finished photos instead. For $20, Amazon even offers a number of lenses that can be used on almost any cell phone.

2.) Keep it steady

For quality and consistency, use a tripod for taking pictures. Once again, Amazon, has a great cell phone tripod for under $20. This phone tripod comes with a wireless remote for distance shots or filming. By using a tripod, you can also turn on the HDR (High Dynamic Range) feature for crisper photos too.

3.) The importance of lighting

Natural light vs. artificial light can make a tremendous difference in the look and feel of your photography. My updated blog post, 10 merchandise photography tips to sell more online, shows the difference between hard light and soft light. Obviously, natural light (sunlight) is the least expensive. However, it’s also the most limiting. The time of day, the position of your store windows and the weather can all affect the outcome.

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4.) Your backdrop

Almost everyone recommends a plain white backdrop for your online photos. A white background removes distraction, highlights your merchandise and is usually very “light friendly.” Use what’s known as the “Infinity Curve,” a clean white sheet of paper or cloth that gently bends to eliminate a horizon.

5.) Change the focus

Even my little Samsung Gallery has a variety of focus settings. Once my photos are taken, I can still adjust the background for “near focus,” “far focus” and “pan focus.” Often, the only thing you need to do is tap on the area of your photo that you want to be in focus.

6.) The number of photos

The number of photos expected by age for online consignment sales

As you can see by the graph, consumers today want to see more than 1 or 2 photos of an item. According to Salsify, online shoppers now expect anywhere from 5 to 8 images and/or 2 -5 videos of products. Salsify states, “…nearly 70% of consumers chose a lack of product information as a reason they’ve left a page on a retail site.” Consumers are savvy. By giving them as much information as possible, your chances are better that you’ll make the sale. Nike traditionally posts about 7 images of individual sneakers, along with additional user-generated photos. Read Customer content is the best way to promote yourself to learn about user-generated content.

Make taking and uploading photos a breeze

SimpleConsign's photo app makes adding photos to your site a breeze

SimpleConsign web based consignment software has our very own integrated photo app. Taking photos and posting them for online sales is incredibly easy.

  • Select photos from your phone’s gallery and instantly upload 1 or more to SimpleConsign.
  • Choose the primary image using your phone.
  • Keep working while photos upload in the background.
  • Pair your device using a QR code (available in SimpleConsign settings).
  • The item list now shows the consignor’s ID.
  • Compatible with iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch and Android.
  • Images optimized for both desktop and mobile.

If you’re interested in learning more, just email Titus at titus@traxia.com. He’ll let you try it for free!

Deb McGonagle

I have been a writer for various forms of marketing for over 40 years. I've written my share of radio and TV scripts, magazine and newspaper ads as well as direct mail brochures and newsletters. Currently, as the Marketing Director for Traxia, home of SimpleConsign software, I've moved into blog posts, eBooks and website text. It's been an ever changing and ever challenging journey but I've loved it all along the way.