Ready for our next topic? Here’s #5…

A Picture Is Worth 1,000 opinionated words…

You know that old phrase, a picture is worth a
thousand words, right?

Well, in online selling, it’s a bit more
complicated than that.

See, it’s definitely true that a very good
picture conveys a whole bunch of important
things about you, and your item. Including,

1. That you are a professional at what you
are doing.

2. That the item is fantastic, because a
fantastic picture helps show off the good
qualities of the item.

3. That you have a commitment to high
quality, in both your photography, and
your sewing.

Are these traits important to convey? Of
course, right?

But it’s even more important than that to
use good pictures.

Have you ever heard of the Halo Principle?
It is an error in judgement that we all make.
We generalize. And if we see some element of
a ‘thing’ that is really amazing, we tend to
think the whole thing will be amazing. We
place a halo on that item, and despite
information to the contrary – in our eyes,
it’s amazing. Your customers do this each and
every day – and they do it when looking at
your products, and your business.

Of course, they won’t tell you this, it’s all
unspoken. It’s just part of your overall
‘good work’. So it’s easy to lump every part
of your selling together and say, “I’m good at
this”. And not realize the critical part
photography plays.

But there is another side of the coin. The dark

What are the results of using bad photography in
your listing? Well, here are a few:

1. Customers think you’re an amatuer.

2. Customers think you have low standards of

3. Customers think you have a dirty house, and
that you probably smoke, or have 72 cats
wandering around in your sewing room. And they’re
allergic of course, so if they buy your item
they’ll probably have to go to the emergency room.
While there they could get a super germ infection
and die – all because they decided to take a
chance and buy your outfit.

Are they interested in any of that?

NO WAY! Too risky.

See where I’m going with this?

The generalizations go the other way too. People
tend to demonize, or disrespect a seller unfairly,
based on just a few small issues or elements,
photography is definitely one of them.

So what should you do if you fear your pictures
aren’t up to the level of quality that your
customers will respect?

It’s pretty simple. You need to invest in a good

I know, I know, you’re trying to make money, not
spend it, right? But in this case, you really
cannot afford to operate without a good camera.
Trust us.

We outline our specific recommendation for which
camera to purchase on the partners site. Look
under the ‘photography’ section on both the
partner content tab, and premium partner content

The short answer is – you need a Digital SLR,
with a specific type of lens, called a portrait
lens. Not a point and shoot camera. If you’re
struggling with the quality of your pictures,
and you’re using a point and shoot camera. You
probably think you just don’t know how to use it.
The truth is – the lens used in a point and shoot
camera will not do the kind of pictures that you
need to sell online.

Bottomline – A picture really is worth a thousand
opinionated words. Make sure they are great.

Now go take a good picture,

Jason & Cinnamon

7 Comments on The Start-Up Success Guide, #5

  1. Hi Jason, Just a note to point out a digital SLR camera even at beginners level is $600-$700. A used one does not have the dust control. Also the portrait lens is anywhere between $100-$300. As a business science degree graduate- remember the risks v.s. costs. You are a vice-president with an excellent income. You do not need to sales pitch ideas to people trying to sell. Present in a practical low cost way. Need to remember some of the partners are at stay-at-home moms with more limited resources. Am a stay- at -home for different reasons. Also have limited income. Please present more practical advice. A point and shoot can do close-ups.

  2. Hi Lynn,

    We’ve used a DSLR with dust control previously, and we currently use a 9 year old DSLR without dust control. You don’t need. it. Here is a link to an Ebay search for sold Canon 300D’s, the camera we use. They are selling for between $100-$200.

    And, here is a link to a 50mm portrait lens for the Canon, it starts at $119.

  3. I currently use a point and shoot HP Photosmart R847. It takes good pictures most of the time close up and regular pictures. I am saving to get a DLSR Canon like the one you are recommending Jason and Cinnamon, and the 50mm lens. I am not that great at taking pictures but most of my close up pictures are good they just arent great. I want all of my pictures to be the very best they can be. I know the better the picture the more likely your item will sell for lots of $$$$$$. Whatever you put into your business you will get out of it.

  4. There are lots of prosumer cameras out there too–a good, affordable in between step (I currently use a Sony F828). Also, good lighting–I see lots of too dark photos out there. The other thing I see that’s just horrible in photos is the “scene”–crumpled sheets, cluttered background, etc. Make it neat and clean, give it good light, maybe even have a diorama background, and you can do a lot to help your photos until you can get that more expensive camera.

  5. On the subject of pictures, my sister and I have both been utterly amazed at the realistic pictures you and Jason take of your “models” Cinnamon! They’re posed just like models in magazines, and wow, does that make their outfits look attractive!! Thanks for all your wonderful creativity!

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