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The Pictures

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Pictures at a Glance

Just about any auction can use at least one picture. On the most obvious level, pictures enable potential buyers to see what you’re selling. That may not be important if you’re selling something whose appearance doesn’t matter all that much—computer cables, for example. But it’s critical for collectibles, clothes, artwork, furniture, and so much more. Your listing description may say, “Very cute poodle ashtray,” but a photo will say it even better.

Pictures can also show flaws, wear and tear, and other traits that affect an item’s value. The phrase “a few minor scratches” means one thing to Oscar Madison and quite another to Felix Unger. But a close-up photo of those scratches will tell the Odd Couple everything they need to know.

Finally, pictures have an important psychological benefit: they provide a measure of reassurance to potential bidders that your item really does exist. That reassurance can be important on eBay, where bidders are almost always buying from strangers.

Adding pictures to your listing is a fairly straightforward process. But getting the pictures is another matter. Should you take a digital photo? Or should you use a scanner? How many pictures should your listing have? And what should you do to show your item at its best?

We’ll answer these questions and many more in this chapter. Let’s start by looking at the big, well, picture.

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