Whether you are taking a picture of your item for sale with a pro grade camera or a simple digital camera you can use a well composed photo to help your item sell faster.
Composition, or the subject matter of your photo, is made up of five elements. Knowing how to manipulate or make the most of naturally-occurring elements can take your classified from “so so” to “so sold!”
In photography, a good eye can spot patterns that will make a good photo. The pattern can be continuous or broken (the photo is interesting because the pattern is carried on e.g. bottles standing in a row or because the pattern is broken e.g. a blue marble in a sea of white marbles)
An interesting shot of a continued pattern is created by filling the whole frame with the objects to make it seem as if the pattern goes on for eternity.
An interrupted pattern may occur naturally or be created by yourself. Experiment with the focus in such photos and also with the interruption, which may be in the form of color, texture or shape.
Experimenting with symmetry is an option worth investigating. Some photographers like to take the same shot twice, one with symmetry as the main aim and the other where the picture is asymmetrical.
The rule of thirds plays an important part here. This basic rule involves mentally dividing the picture into 3 rows of 9 boxes to form a tic-tac-toe grid. Points of interest in the photo should fall along the lines or their intersections. You can get striking results by following the example of professional photographers.
Texture is created in photography by making the most of the way light hits objects in the photo. The best light for photography is considered to be the golden light present at dawn and dusk. The light hits objects at a low angle and has a certain soft quality to it. This is the light to use for a dramatic photo of a farm or estate.
However, when taking product photos use harsh midday light to give high visibility. Be careful of the shadows this light casts on and around objects. Sidelight and uplight can give a similar result and create interest. (See Taking Photos That Sell: Lighting.)
Depth of Field
Depth of field is the distance between the nearest and farthest objects in a photo. It can change the context of a photo in this way: shallow depth of field will make an object the centre of focus and isolate it from the background or foreground. A larger depth of field will reveal the surroundings of the object and place it in context. ( See Taking Photos That Sell: Focus and Isolation.)
In portrait photography shallow depth of field is used to focus attention on the person in the photo and do away with distractions in the background. The depth of field can be manipulated by the positioning of the subject in the photo, by using the right setting on your camera and by changing the setting of the aperture (normally to large setting for a shallow depth of field).
Lines can draw the eye to important points in the photo, usually into the far distance. Lines in a shot can be horizontal, vertical, diagonal or converging, with each having a different impact on the result. Seeing these lines and making the most of them will create interest in what could be an otherwise plain photo.
Common lines are the edge of the street or sidewalk. You can use lines to your advantage with photos of vehicles by taving the picture at a 3/4 angle – not directly in front, not a complete side shot.
When photographing homes for sale, power lines are a distraction. Avoid them by changing your position or angle.
For a range of results experiment with: positioning, the point of convergence of the lines, point of interest at the convergence, and a wide angle lens.