Photos on my eBay Auctions: How Do I Add Them?

On another forum I’m involved with, someone’s asked a great question: I want to
sell products on eBay, but I
want to include photographs with my items. How do I do that? What kind of camera
do I need, and what settings should I use?

The first step is to buy a digital camera. You can use a film camera, get the prints
developed and then scan them in, but you can now buy an entry-level digital camera
for the same price as a low-end scanner, and it’s a lot easier to use!

A few example cameras that have a good reputation, from Amazon: A very
inexpensive camera – on sale currently – is the Digital Concepts VGA Camera [http://www.amazon.com/%0D%0Aexec/obidos/tg/detail/-/B0002ZONQU/ref=nosim] (currently $49), and if you want to
get a known brand, as I’d recommend, then you can’t go wrong with the Fujifilm FinePix 1400 (about $70), the Kodak DC215 (about $60), or the slightly more
expensive
Epson PhotoPC 750Z (about $100).

Getting good results from a digital camera isn’t trivial, however, particularly if you’re
trying to take a picture of a book, statue, CD cover or item of clothing. That’s where
it’s nice to be able to take fifty pictures, download them all to your computer, and
pick the best one of the lot. Unlike film photography, this won’t cost you a nickel.
Just time…

A general tip for taking good product shots is to have lots of light. If
you’re in a room with ceiling lights, turn ’em all on. If you have floor lamps, move
them over and point them directly on the item. In addition, use a neutral color
blanket or sheet as a background for the item: you don’t want to distract potential
buyers with your household clutter. Then hold your camera very, very steady
(consider having it on a chair or, ideally, a tripod) and slowly click the button to take
the shot. If your shots are blurry, try moving back a foot or so and taking another
photograph.

Once you’ve taken a product photograph you like (and don’t be discouraged if it
seems hard. There are professional photographers who specialize in product and
catalog photography and it’s quite an art!) then crop it tightly so that the
photograph is about the product and as little else as possible. If you’re using a
blanket as a background, for example, it should only be visible on the edges of the
photograph. Bidders will appreciate a product photo that reveals a lot of detail
about the product and nothing else.

Finally, within your photo editor (Photoshop, Paintshop Pro, Graphic Converter,
iPhoto, whatever), make sure that the final image resolution is 75dpi, not 300dpi,
then resize the image down to a maximum width of 400 pixels and a maximum
height of 300 pixels: and do it with “keep image proportions” enabled so that you
don’t distort the photo. Save it as a JPEG, not a GIF, since it will keep the
nuances of color much better.

Great. Now you have a photo ready to upload to eBay with your next auction! When
you’re entering the auction information, you’ll get to a step where it offers you the
chance to add a photograph, and that’s what you want to do. Click on “upload
photo” and pick your saved image, then it’ll automatically be sent to the eBay
servers along with your other auction information, and you’ll be well on your way to
becoming a true Powerseller!

When I add photographs to my eBay auctions, I use a rather more expensive
(about $2000) camera setup, a Nikon D100 digital with studio lighting and similar
gear. You can see some of my photographic work at Colorado Portraits.

Top 7 Free Photo Editing Software Programs For Windows

Many of these free photo editing programs aren’t lousy or lacking in features. Some of them are industrial grade (e.g. GIMP) and some are geared towards simple, online photo edits (e.g. Fatpaint). In this article, I’ll introduce you to seven of the best photo editing software programs for Windows.

1. The GIMP
The GIMP is a great free, open-source image editor that brings high-end photo editing to users for free. The interface is a bit complex to pick up, but it is very powerful. If you’ve used Adobe Photoshop before, you’ll find many of its functions available in the GIMP. For a free piece of software, it has an amazing repertoire of functions.

2. Fotoflexer
Fotoflexer is a web-based photo editing application that has casual and prosumer appeal. If you’re a novice, you’ll be able to go in, do some simple edits and be done. If you’re a more advanced user – you’ll be spoilt for choice in terms of what this tool can do. We’re talking about blurring, comic, retro, animatinos, distortions and even layer support – all done online with your photo.

3. Paint.Net
Paint.Net has been around for some time and boasts an easy-to-use interface and a huge array of effects. If you don’t need to use the full power of Photoshop and simply want a quick and dirty tool, Paint.Net is a good bet.

4. Picasa 3.5
Owned by Google, Picasa is a very pretty and top notch photo editing program. You need to install a desktop client in order to use it. However, it’s interface is very clean and has cool tools like geo-tagging, great sharing support, web albums and name tags. Picasa gets my vote as one of the best in this list – it’s a terrific, easy, and free way to edit and organize your images.

5. Picnik
Picnick is another photo editing tool that is web-based and has been around for some time. It’s quite powerful in the photo editing options it offers – although it’s not as full-featured as Fotoflexer, in my opinion.

6. Windows Live Photo Gallery 2011
Microsoft has jumped on the photo editing bandwagon too – with Windows Live Photo Gallery 2011. It gives you face recognition and retouching capabilities and is in fact a very good alternative to Google Picasa or Apple iPhoto.

7. Fatpaint
Fatpaint is an online and free, graphic design software and photo editor. It’s one of the newer tools in this list – you can create page layouts, paint and draw vector images, logos and illustrations very easily.

Conclusion
As you can see, there are many choices available when you’re picking a good photo editing software program for your Windows machine. What I’ve shown you are 7 of the best and free tools available out there. Be sure to check them out. For more serious work, you’d of course want to use a commercial package like Adobe Photoshop Elements or Corel PaintShop Pro X4.

Until next time, happy photo editing!

How to Learn the Elements of Airbrushing Techniques

Have you ever wondered how those pictures & photographs you see in the print & TV media look fantastic? Ever thought to yourself “I wish my photos looked half as good as that?”

Most if not all of those images you’ve seen will have been ‘airbrushed’ to some degree & in some cases, extremely!.

The term ‘airbrushing’ really means ‘digital enhancement’. This is done using much available software such as Adobe Photoshop, Photoshop Elements, Paintshop Pro & many many others. This software is truly amazing & mind blowing at what they can do.

You see, almost any camera, digital that is, cannot produce images like those seen in the media ‘straight out of the can’, so to speak. It is a common fact that the sensor in a digital camera has a much reduced ‘dynamic range’ to that of the human eye. The images captured by the camera will lack contrast, brightness, colour saturation, sharpness etc…the list goes on. It is the correction of these issues that forms part of the ‘airbrushing’ process. Only using the very expensive, top of the range cameras will you get anywhere close & even then the captured images will more than likely still need enhancing. Whilst the images straight from the camera are perfectly acceptable without being ‘tampered’ with, when you’ve seen what this software can actually do for you, you won’t want to stop. In fact it is almost guaranteed that once you start you will go & pick all your existing favourite pics/ photos & ‘DO THE MAGIC’ on those….it really gets quite addictive!!

You can use this software as much or as little as you need. The majority of people use it to just improve their photos mainly but find it superb for pretty much any sort of graphics based projects should the need arise. It must be said as well that you will eventually find your own ‘comfort zone’ with the software & it is important that you are not frightened off by the huge array of tools. To be fair, it can be bewildering to begin with but you soon realize that you’ll only be using a dozen or so tools that will fulfill most of your needs. You can do an awful lot of reading on how to learn Photoshop but one of most useful tutorials & advice is contained in online ‘training videos’. It is so gratifying looking at an ‘enhanced’ photo that you’ve rescued from the ‘delete’ button. Sometimes it beggars belief that an otherwise dull looking photo can look so fantastic with a dozen or so clicks of the mouse.

With good software you can produce truly wonderful & amazing pictures….just like the ones you’ve seen in the media. All you have to do is learn.