Increasing eBay Sales through Quality PhotographyMonday, March 18, 2013 - Posted by ProMaster
Selling online has become an important source of revenue for many small businesses and individuals. eBay offers the opportunity to purchase everything from children's clothes to designer goods and even automobiles. It's truly a buyer's marketplace, and in this economy, people are looking for the best value. As a seller, there are numerous opportunities to earn sales and create repeat business opportunities. It's time to pull out your secret weapon - high quality photography.
Color Accuracy Matters
When it comes to making purchasing decisions, online buyers can be very particular about the color of the item they're purchasing. For example, teal and cobalt are two distinct colors and whatever is represented is what the customer is expecting to receive. When shooting photos of your sale item, make sure to take this into account and ensure your photos show an accurate color representation. Buyer dissatisfaction can cause loss of sales and possibly a negative strike against your seller feedback.
One of the fantastic aspects of digital photography is the fact that we can cover or mask almost any imperfection, whether it's retouching blemishes on a person's face or removing light poles from what would otherwise be a perfect landscape image. However, when it comes to selling products online, trying to cover imperfections can lead to customer dissatisfaction.
If you're selling a product that has a paint chip, smudge or other damage, however minor, it's important to accurately photograph it and note it in the sales copy. By doing this, it shows the buyer that you are particular and up front about what you're selling. This helps instill confidence in you as a seller. Also, the buyer is fully aware of the item. An informed buyer is a satisfied buyer.
Showcase Your Skills
Many eBay sellers post photos that are mediocre with copy to match. Leveraging your skills as a photographer is what will separate you from the competition. Your ability to highlight a product's selling features and shooting from close and interesting angles using current lighting techniques will draw bidders and buyers to your auction, even if 20 other similar or exact items are for sale. Quality photography draws the buyer in and sets your auction apart from the rest.
Be Careful with Copyrighted Photography
If you are selling an item and are not considered an authorized reseller, don't use manufacturer's product shots for your auction. Many companies are cracking down on this practice so it's important to only use your own original images when placing an item for sale. eBay has pulled seller's listings for this practice and has increased this practice over the last year. If you are a Nikon authorized retailer and are using Nikon's approved product shots, that's fine. Otherwise, stick to your own photography and make your listing shine with your shooting skills.
Shoot Like a Pro
You don't need your own studio to create product shots but a tabletop shooting tent can make this process much easier. This is particularly important when shooting reflective items or challenging products. The ProMaster Tabletop Light Cube Kit is ideal for shooting many standard-sized items. This professional tool can aid in product photography and provide consistent images and offers different backgrounds to contrast a wide variety of subjects. Learn more here: http://www.ProMaster.com/Studio
Best Ways to Bounce Your FlashThursday, February 14, 2013 - Posted by ProMaster
There are few things that can ruin an image as blatantly as harsh lighting, but fortunately, there are ways to soften your light source in such a way that it works to your advantage. Learning how to bounce your flash can combat unflattering shadows and create a softer effect overall. This technique can be used both indoors and outside and is practical in a variety of situations.
Solid Surface Shooting
When it comes to bouncing your flash, using a nearby wall or ceiling are the two most common choices for this technique. By adjusting your camera's flash to point at a nearby light-colored surface rather than your subject, the light will bounce off the wall and reflect in a diffused capacity on your subject. The resulting lighting will be softer and far more flattering than if you were to point your light source directly at your subject.
If you'd prefer to use the ceiling, adjust your flash to point upward but angle it slightly so that is falls atop your subject rather than directly above you and the camera. The goal is to have the light fall toward the subject. If you find yourself shooting in a location with particularly high ceilings, consider shooting off a side wall instead. It may require adjusting your subject slightly, but experimentation is part of the fun! Light is a fascinating tool to manipulate and learning how to adapt it to your needs is key in photography.
How do you bounce your flash outdoors? Thinking outside the box helps. You can use a nearby white wall, a large white poster board or even someone wearing a white t-shirt (yes, people have done this with success!). The key is to be close enough to your bounce prop that it can both diffuse the light and still be useful in your composition. Again, adjust a bit here and there to strike the perfect balance.
Bouncing with a Point and Shoot
While bouncing your flash is a technique most commonly used with DSLR cameras, you can also apply it with some point and shoot models. While the range will be more limited as the flash canâ€™t be rotated to such an extensive degree, you can manipulate the flash by placing your finger underneath the flash and slightly nudging it upward. In many cases, it's just enough to get the job done. Still, it requires a steady hand and a bit of finesse.
In a pinch, you can also use a tissue to cover the flash and diffuse the light from the outset. It's another quick fix, and successful photographers know that thinking creatively to solve problems is critical in creating the effect they desire.
Exposure Compensation Tip: Winter WhitesTuesday, February 05, 2013 - Posted by ProMaster
The proper exposure can make or break an image so a general understanding of exposure, along with how to override your camera's exposure settings, can help you garner the proper balance of light. Today's cameras have sophisticated exposure technology but there are times, such as shooting in snowy scenes, which can trick your camera's exposure settings.
Your camera's exposure meter interprets the scene as a mid-grey (or what's known as 18% greyscale), so a landscape with snow may throw your camera's interpretation off to an extent. Your camera may 'see' the scene as a grey image with bright light cast through, so adjusting your exposure compensation by +1 or possibly even +2 should be enough to properly expose the image. Photographing the same scene and adjusting the EC once or twice for comparison is an excellent exercise in understanding how your camera 'sees' what you see and what to do when you two aren't eye to eye.
Tips for Terrific Holiday Light PhotographyWednesday, November 28, 2012 - Posted by ProMaster
Photographing holiday lights can seem intimidating, but all you really need is a quality point and shoot camera and a bit of insight as to how to ensure the decorations take center stage:
Timing is Key
Some professionals recommend photographing outdoor decorative lighting shortly BEFORE the sun sets. Try to be at your location and ready well in advance. During the dusk period, you'll find a pleasant balance of diminishing ambient light contrasting with the holiday lights, which means you'll be able to include more objects in the background.
Bring Your Tripod
Using a tripod is especially important when photographing holiday lights. A tripod provides stability, something that is particularly critical with low-light photography. It will also keep your image properly framed as the evening light transitions from dusk to darkness. Long exposure images are vulnerable to camera shake, so avoid handheld shooting if at all possible. If you don't have a tripod, find a nearby wall or fence to provide additional support.
Holiday lights use tungsten lighting so you'll want to set your white balance to tungsten as well. Using this setting will provide a nice contrast between the background sky and the lights. With a point and shoot camera, many of today's models have a setting for nighttime shooting. Your flash may fire because it is interpreting that you have a subject that needs to be lit, but unless the decorations are only a few feet away, it won't make much difference. This leads us to our next tip...
Forget the Flash
For holiday lights, it's best to let the decorations take center stage so keep your flash off. A strong DSLR flash can wash out the image and detract from the final result.
A Shot a Minute Sequence
Once you have everything set, begin taking a photograph every minute or so. Your eyes may not register the gradual changes of the setting sun so track the time with your watch or cell phone. Shoot once per minute or so over a 10-15 minute period. You'll see the changes in evening lighting as you scroll though your shots.
Photographing holiday lights will not only help you experiment with low-light photography, it can also be a great way to share your expertise with the younger photographers in your life. If you have a child or young relative that loves to take pictures, why not bring that budding photographer along? Think of it as a mini holiday photo safari!
Is a Hybrid Camera Right for You?Friday, October 26, 2012 - Posted by ProMaster
A hybrid camera, also called a mirrorless camera or a bridge camera, is a relatively new category that strives to blend the sleek profile of a compact point-and-shoot camera with some manual features of today's popular DSLR models. In essence, this category hopes to combine the best of both worlds. Could a hybrid camera be in your future?
A hybrid camera might be just the solution if you're ready to graduate from a point-and-shoot model but aren't quite ready for the expense and commitment of a full-fledged DSLR. Many photographers find hybrid cameras to be an ideal fit for those situations when they want to travel light but still need a high optical zoom and more advanced manual features.
Traditional DSLR cameras use an angled mirror that is positioned between the shutter and the lens. Using a prism, the image is reflected so that it can be viewed through the viewfinder, allowing you to see what you intend to capture. When you press the shutter button, the mirror quickly moves so the image is exposed onto the sensor. Mirrorless models eliminate this component with the image (essentially light) striking the sensor directly and the final result is viewed on an LCD screen instead of a viewfinder.
The benefits of this design are numerous. First, mirrorless models are able to incorporate larger sensors, and the size of a camera's sensor substantially impacts final image quality. Larger sensors offer improved imagery and this is particularly useful in low-light circumstances. A mirrorless camera is also substantially lighter, so more features can be packaged into a compact camera design. Many photographers complain of heavy gear and aren't always willing to tote a DSLR with them to some events they might otherwise wish to shoot. A DSLR can be cumbersome and, in these situations, DSLR cameras aren't used to their full potential if they aren't being used.
However, hybrids have few disadvantages to consider. First, the autofocus speed is slower on these models when compared to today's DSLRs. Also, DSLRs include an optical viewfinder, which shows you EXACTLY what the lens sees, so if an image is blurry, your viewfinder will show this. For situations including sports photography or fast action photography, the DSLR is still the clear winner. DSLR cameras utilize a multi-focus function, and when coupled with the significantly faster AF feature, this category is best suited for action and event photography.
With those exceptions, a hybrid camera may still be the perfect choice if you've outgrown your point-and-shoot and are ready to explore the craft of photography further.