Photographing Stuff For eBay – Non-Consumer Style

by Katy on September 26, 2016 · 16 comments

I started experimenting today with the best way to photograph the $19.99 cornucopia of watches that I picked up at Goodwill. I wanted a piece of black velvet for the backdrop, but didn’t have any on hand. However, I do own a button-down black velour shirt. (If you knew me in person, you’d already be privy to this fact, as I wear it at least a couple times a week!)

Daniel Mink watch

Yup, that’s my shirt on top of a piece of foam core, perched on top of my Ikea laundry rack.

cheap-o backdrop

And that rounded part that’s perfect for staging a watch?

Water bottle.

water bottle

I only spent a few minutes photographing watches using my iPhone5 today, but it’s on my to-do list for Wednesday. I’m looking forward to getting these eBay listings up and going, so I can build the boys’ college fund back up for the next payment.

By using what I had on hand instead of buying new stuff, I avoid supporting over-manufacture of goods. That motto of mine? This would be an example of “Make it do.”

No money spent on the photographs = more money available for tuition/room/board.

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”

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{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

Kim September 27, 2016 at 12:37 am

That’s what we call “MacGyver Mode”. I always like to solve a situation being creative and using what we already have on hand. You’ll often hear me say, I MacGyvered it!! Great job with your staging. Hope you make a lot of $$$ on the watches. Look forward to your follow up posts about it. Yep, you McGyvered it!! Cheers!


gepee September 27, 2016 at 3:11 am

MacGyver Mode – I love that.
I’m not as frugal as Katy and do buy new now and then, but I always try not to buy things at once, but let the decision ripen for some time. And often during that time I get the idea “oh, this or that of the things I already have will work perfectly here” … my subconcious often works better than if I activly consider what I could use.

Good luck with selling the watches, Katy, and I also look forward to follow up posts …. I heard that these tiny watches, especially for women, didn’t sell well nowadays, but I hope you prove me wrong


mel September 27, 2016 at 7:33 pm

Lol! I use the term ‘Mcgyver it’s also… Showing my age…


Amy K. September 27, 2016 at 5:37 am

I have a friend who uses the term: “MomGyver”. Very nice photography set up. I’m an artist, and instead of paying for photos/use a rig, I just set my work on the dining table on a sunny day and climb on a step ladder with my camera. I have pale walls and white floors, so while not a perfect white room setup, it’s adequate. I also take down my display artwork and photograph new pieces hanging in my sitting room, so people can get an idea of how things look in a room. I have to get on the ball and finish updating my website.


Jodie knox September 27, 2016 at 7:08 am

Great thinking Katy, looks like a professional picture too. I have dabbled in Ebay and was wondering how you handle it as far as taxes. Do you save your receipt from goodwill and the post office and show your expenses vs. profit? Is there a certain form to use? I have plenty to sell but don’t want to give myself an IRS problem…not very NCA. Thanks for your help.


Katy September 27, 2016 at 8:14 am

This has been the first year that I’ve done more than a listing or two per year since around 2008. I will declare my income, and this is a good reminder to stay organized.


Robin September 27, 2016 at 12:29 pm

Interesting point. Do you declare income from your other sales? Like those through Craigslist. I’m not sure what the $ threshold is to declare.


JD September 27, 2016 at 10:17 am

I love making do! It gives me a thrill that is far better than the “thrill” of shopping . It looks good and I’m sure it will help sell those watches.


Krystal September 28, 2016 at 10:40 am

I have become a lot better at “making do” thanks to this blog and Zero Waste Home. Constantly improving, but focusing on recipe ingredients I wouldn’t other wise use and cannot buy in bulk is a big focus for me right now!


Nancy September 27, 2016 at 10:41 am

I’ve saved a piece of black velvet fabric for the same reason! Also, just recently discovered that good old rubbing alcohol can be used to cut through accumulated hairspray and general gunk on my watch face and the arms of my eyeglasses! They look like new!


Sharon September 27, 2016 at 3:54 pm

Yes, rubbing alcohol is an excellent solvent. You have to experiment to see what works on each thing, since there are a million different ‘gunks.’


Trish September 27, 2016 at 4:59 pm

so looking forward to hearing how the watches sell. I love the garbage finds blog. Your sons are so fortunate to have a resourceful parent who can keep them out of the college debt saga.


Mrs. Picky Pincher September 28, 2016 at 5:44 am

I love it! Good photos really can make or break a deal, but that doesn’t mean you need a fancy set or camera to take them. With a little bit of planning and thought, you can take pretty decent pics just with a smartphone.


Amelia September 29, 2016 at 3:29 pm

Hi Katy,

I really appreciate your posts about selling items online. I would love to see more! When I downsized all my clothes, books, and kitchen items the hardest part was trying to make any money back from selling them. I got so frustrated that I gave up and donated most of it and put a large chunk in my friend’s garage sale.


Katy September 30, 2016 at 11:03 am

Remember that you can always donate to your local non-profit thrift store and take the deduction. The key is to write down every single thing that you’re donating to maximize this. It may be a delayed financial reward, but it can make a big difference.

This Salvation Army value guide can tell you how much you’re legally allowed to deduct:


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