Review: eBay Photos That Sell ...

A handbook of real-world application, practical instruction and budget (June 20th, 2005)

MacNN Rating:


Product Manufacturer: Sybex, Inc.

Price: $29.99 US

The Good

  • Easy to understand, short and concise.

The Bad

  • Long title. Doesn\'t cover compressing product images well.

eBay is probably the world's most recognized online marketplace and thousands of people reportedly make their living on eBay. Due to eBay's astounding success, a number of book titles are published every year to help those who share today's digital dream of ultimate freedom. eBay Photos that Sell: Taking Great Product Shots for eBay and Beyond is a stunningly rich and focused instruction manual worthy of inclusion in product photography classes.

Easy to Read, Easy to Do

Some instructional books are difficult to finish. They are too conversational, wordy, and long, but not eBay Photos that Sell. Dan Gookin and Robert Birnbach are capable authors and they dispense their knowledge succinctly and clearly. The 172-page book can be read in a single sitting. Spiced throughout are small nuggets of humor, clear evidence that the authors enjoyed themselves while writing this book.

eBay Photos that Sell is a classic step-by-step textbook example. The book offers a simple recipe for taking good product shots, lists tools and equipment needed for similar results, shows how to apply the recipe's techniques, and finally leads readers through preparing their photos for publishing online. The authors even go one step further and recommend storage and archiving procedures. Though the basic photo editing techniques are for Adobe Photoshop Elements 3, the authors note that other photo-editing applications offer the same features and capabilities. Like all great instructional aids, eBay Photos that Sell is liberally sprinkled with diagrams, photographs and screenshots to clearly illustrate and explain photo studio setups, equipment placement, software commands, and results of different techniques. Though conversational in tone, the book gets right to the point.


Gookin and Birnbach, wisely recommend inexpensive equipment and software. The most expensive purchase they recommend is a 5 -megapixel camera. All the other equipment, such as tripods, clamps, clothespins, and, lamps, are items that can be found in most homes or purchased for just a few bucks!

No One Is Perfect

As clear, easy to understand and effective as eBay Photos that Sell is, I am surprised that the authors overlooked the best method for exporting images for use on the web. Adobe Photoshop Elements v 1.0 and above has this feature in which you select Save for Web... to save web images instead of selecting Save As.... This method provides a real-time preview of the image, as it will be saved. The method for saving JPEGs recommended in this book doesn't provide a preview. With a preview, users can choose the best compression setting in comparison to image quality to reduce the bandwidth and disk space taken up by the image. The smaller the file size, the better.

Buy This Book If You Take Product Photographs

eBay Photos that Sell: Taking Great Product Shots for eBay and Beyond is as close to perfect a book as I've seen on product photography for beginners. Good product photography helps products sell - you did know that good product photography is a power seller secret, right? I recently reviewed eBay Power Seller Secrets by Debra and Brad Schepp, and their chapter about product photography is long-winded and narrow, when compared to the information in this book. eBay Photos that Sell is a handbook of real-world application, practical instruction and budget-minded recommendations for anyone selling online. Any college-level product photography class taught using this as the textbook would be an exciting class.

Edited by Ilene Hoffman, Reviews Editor

by by Mike Swope


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