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  • Alex Durant

6 Easy Tips for Outstanding Auction Photography


In online sales, images you use can make or break you. 


There are six things we advise at Durant Consulting, Inc., that will help you take amazing photos for your next online auction that can help land your next important buyer or donor. These tips can be easiest with current technology, but can also be achieved with a little work and any camera you have on hand. 


Carve Out Enough Time (or Delegate the Task Entirely) 

Getting great photography takes time and a little creativity. Photos that are all snapped in a rush, in our experience, typically don’t sell as well when it comes to auction day. Make sure to set aside more than enough time to take amazing photos. 


If you have someone on staff who is creative and already has a great eye for photography, consider asking them to take on the photo shoot. That might mean the professional nature photographer on your board or your selfie-happy intern. 


Give Each Item a Thorough Inspection Before Photographing

Make sure each auction item is clean and looks good before your photo shoot. Items that are clean and cared for usually fetch a higher price in online auctions. If you need to swipe an item with a duster before taking a photo, do it! If you decide an item needs a full clean, be careful of any cleaning products on sensitive items as not to damage or tarnish items before the auction.


If any of your items have nicks, cracks or small imperfections document those so buyers don’t get caught unawares and try to back out of their bids. Documenting these imperfections with common items like a coin is a great way to show scale and size of any problem areas on the item.


Style, Style, Style

An overlooked tip in online sales is often styling, as simple as it is. If you have at least one styled photo for an object, it can help a prospective bidder think about that item in their space. And styling doesn’t have to be complicated, and shouldn’t! 


If you have a vase, stick a few flowers (fake from your office drawer or real from the curb) in the vase and add one of those photos to the lineup for that vase. If it’s a piece of furniture, add an appropriate decor item and snap a few pictures. 


Just be sure to thoroughly document what the item listing includes for each piece if the stylized image includes more than one object (i.e. a table styled with a vase).


Let the Light In

If you’re trying to photograph pieces to sell online, the first thing you want to think about is the amount of light in the space that you’re taking pictures. Natural, well-lit photos are the goal for any images that need to be shown online. 


This could be as easy as placing the auction items next to an open window. If your space is dark or unevenly lit, don’t be afraid to set up a small table or surface outside and take pictures outdoors.


Get THE Shot, Not Just Any Shot

Part of selling online is that your photos have to look nice and that’s usually achieved by taking more photos of the items than you need and being able to pick the best photos for each listing. This is not a time for a “one and done” mentality if you want to make the most money for each item that you can. 


Try different angles for each image. Maybe take a few where you can see the entire item and then, if there’s an interesting detail or pattern, take close up shots that give bidders an idea of unique elements of each piece. 


Editing Photos

If you, or your photographer, has the ability to edit images after the photoshoot we can’t recommend this practice enough. We advocate for light editing that will help your photography be consistent across the entire auction. Things like light level adjustment for all images to help colors feel realistic and vivid is a great example. Light editing that helps make images feel cohesive can give an online auction a high-class, expensive feeling that makes buyers and donors sit up and take notice.

Wishing you the best of luck on your auction endeavors!  If you are feeling overwhelmed, Durant Consulting, Inc. offers many Auction Solutions to assist you along the way or to manage your auction completely.