Pictures: 14 tips for higher returns

Pictures are a major part of a lot’s description at Catawiki. Viewers review the images in detail before even considering placing a bid. As a result, good pictures lead to higher returns. Additionally, good quality images help to prevent buyer dissatisfaction. Please have a look at our list of fourteen tips, designed to help you create the perfect visual accompaniment to your item(s).

1.   Use proper lighting

Daylight helps enhance an item’s details. Lamp light obscures an item’s true colours, and flash photography can cause shading and, thus, an unattractive finish.

2.   Steady your camera

Move your camera, and your images lose focus. Use a tripod or use some other means of securing your camera when taking pictures.

3.   Only depict the item(s) you’re selling

Other items can distract potential bidders, detract from what’s on offer, or even cause confusion as to what is included. Any other items depicted should be as neutral as possible.

4.   Use a neutral background

A neutral, uniform background helps your lot stand out. Consider using a sheet or a (large) piece of cardboard/paper.

5.   Take pictures from all sides

Bidders are interested in seeing as many details as possible. Therefore, you should always include images of the back, bottom, top, and sides. For paintings: use a picture without the frame for your main image!

6.   Make sure your items are presentable and clean

To present your lot in the best light, it is worth cleaning it properly before taking pictures.

7.   Use neutral points of reference

For items of unusual or irregular dimensions, please include a reference of scale within the photo with something like a measuring tape. Please make sure the reference doesn’t detract/distract from what is on offer.

8.   Accurately reflect the condition

Signs of wear and tear or (minor) damage must be mentioned in the description, as well as very clearly depicted. This gives bidders transparency into an item’s condition and possibility of restoration/repair.

9.   Pick your camera carefully

A digital camera is far better than a smartphone camera when taking close-up photos.

10.   Your best picture is your calling card

The first image in your series of pictures will be used as the main picture, visible from the auction page. This is the picture used for gaining attention so make sure to show your item from its best angle.

11.   Leave nothing out

If your lot consists of more than one item, do make sure to add at least one image showing an overview of the entire lot. This should include any manuals or certificates!

12.   Avoid self-portraits

Be aware when taking pictures of items with reflective surfaces, or reflective backgrounds.

13.   Do not adjust for colour

Processing your pictures digitally should be limited to tilting the angle, and cropping the edges. Never adjust for colour.

14.   Represent relevant details

Bidders pay very close attention to (hall)marks and stamps, serial numbers, signatures/autographs, markings, labels, tags, etc. Include images of any such defining features.