How To Take Pictures Of Clothes To Sell (Best Ways)

by Nikki Davidson

You’ve heard that a picture is worth a thousand words. In secondhand clothing resale, pictures are worth thousands of dollars. 

If you’re starting on eBay or Poshmark, you want to know how to take pictures of clothes to sell. The process is not complicated as it seems, but even experienced resellers make mistakes that can cost them.

The secret to quick sales isn’t building a DIY backdrop for clothing photography. The truth is, you don’t even need a fancy setup. 

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Credit: Sew Much 2 Wear

How can I take pictures of clothes to sell at home?

You don’t have to be blessed with photogenic genes and a flair for photography to sell clothes on eBay or other online marketplaces. 

Most secondhand shoppers know what they want to purchase and search for it secondhand to get a deal. Maybe it’s a pair of leggings they already own but in different colors or sizes. 

As an individual seller, your photos need to convince them that the piece you have in your possession is in good condition and is authentic, whether you’re shipping your clothes or selling locally.

According to research by Boston Consulting Group, fears of counterfeit or poor-quality goods may deter people from buying secondhand, as an estimated 80% of consumers have handled fake or falsified goods with or without their knowledge. 

You’ve got to prove customers can trust you. It’s easier than it seems if you know how to take pictures of clothes to sell with iPhone. 

Natural light from a window is free and often better than an expensive light kit. A blank wall or clean tabletop can be less distracting than a styled but busy backdrop or flat lay. 

Tactic for Success

Timing is everything. Take indoor pictures at midday, when the sun is high in the sky and casts minimal shadows inside. If you’re taking pictures outside, do it an hour before sunset or the first hour before sunrise to avoid overexposed images.

How can I sell my clothes with pictures on my phone?

The greatest tool to sell your clothes online is probably already in your hands. Unless you haven’t upgraded it in 10 years, a smartphone camera is all you need to take amazing product photos. 

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Credit: Sew Much 2 Wear

You may need to tinker with some settings if you’re photographing white or black items, but generally, these cameras require no manual adjustments and quickly take true-to-life snapshots of clothing. 

The most important thing to remember when using your phone as a camera is to switch over to the correct aspect ratio. 

Platforms like Poshmark publish photos in a 1:1 square format, whereas your phone automatically takes pictures in a rectangle format. 

You can even post photos on local online marketplaces to advertise clothes that you’re selling at a garage sell. Check out these tips for a successful garage sale.

Shoot in the correct mode to avoid cutting parts of your image off. You can find a step-by-step tutorial in this clothing photo hacks video. 

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How do you take flat lay pictures of clothes?

Flat lays can be as simple as putting a pair of shorts on top of a plain background on the floor or tabletop and snapping photos from above, or it can be as extensive as styling an entire outfit with accessories. 

To determine which strategy is best for you, consider your audience and what clothing items you are reselling for a profit

If you have a following on social media or want to create brand appeal, it may be worth your efforts to curate a styled flat lay, as your customers are buying into your style expertise and outfit inspirations.

However, if you’re simply going to upload the photos to a reselling platform and don’t have an established following, there’s no need for extra styling. 

Introducing additional pieces into the image can confuse some customers, who start to question what exactly they’re buying. 

Trend on the Rise

Social media is a powerful tool for clothing sales. According to the social media software company Sprout Social, 98% of consumers planned to make at least one purchase directly from social media in 2022. If you have a social media following, try posting your clothing pictures directly to your profile with a link to purchase.

How To Take Pictures Of Clothes Without A Mannequin

Mannequins come in handy to show how clothing lies on the human body. But, believe it or not, they can hurt an e-commerce business. 

It takes considerable effort to get each piece on the dress form properly, and if you’re selling more than one size of clothing, you’ll need multiple mannequins or dress forms. 

There are more manageable and affordable ways to display clothes for quick sales.

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Credit: Sew Much 2 Wear

Ways To Display Clothes Without a Mannequin: 

  • Design Flat Lays – Lay clothing flat on a neutral surface. 
  • Hang on a Hanger – Fasten a command strip to the wall to hang against a blank backdrop. 
  • Find a Model – Put the clothes on yourself or a friend and take photos. 
  • Request Copyright Permission – Certain sustainable fashion brands sometimes permit their customers to reuse stock photos when reselling. 

Tactic for Success

Free and paid smartphone apps are available that will remove the background of a photo and replace it with different colors or images, like a blank canvas or brick wall. The apps work best with well-lit images taken on a neutral surface. See one of these free apps in action in this clothing hacks video.

What can I use as a backdrop for photography?

You can find a suitable clothing backdrop almost anywhere. Don’t make the mistake of taking photos with a cluttered background, dirty floor or crumpled bed sheets.

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Credit: Sew Much 2 Wear

You want potential buyers to know you are clean and responsible, and there are several free or low-cost ways to do this. 

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6 Underrated Photo Backdrops:

  • Large Poster Board – The perfect blank canvas for flat lays and shoe photos.
  • Neutral Sheets – Lay them over a table or desk, or hang them against a wall. 
  • Faux Fur Rug – The lush texture can add interest and a touch of glamor. 
  • Brick Wall – The neutral background can elicit a boutique or artsy vibe. 
  • Hardwood Floors – Clean floors with a slight grain can add dimension.
  • Marble Countertops – The soft lines add a touch of luxury to jewelry photos. 

Trend on the Rise

Platforms like Amazon, Google, Poshmark and Pinterest have each launched live-streaming eCommerce capabilities. According to research, live-stream selling will boom in America in the coming years as it’s currently a $480 billion industry in China. Find a neutral background and try showing off your clothing in a live video to see if you can increase sales.

Wrapping Up

Don’t try to hide flaws or damage when taking pictures, as the platforms have rules against this conduct, and you’ll likely receive a negative review or get a return request. 

The best way to take photos to sell clothes online is, to be honest, transparent and straightforward. 

About the Author

Photo of author
Nikki Davidson is a freelance TV and print journalist who covers finance and real estate news for media outlets across the country. She's also a chronic side-hustler and YouTuber who creates videos about reselling clothing online (Channel Name: Sew Much 2 Wear).