How to Photograph Hi-Fi Audio Equipment

People buy things that make sound on Reverb: guitars, amps, drums, horns, turntables, records...the list goes on. Most people do it without hearing the thing they’re buying first. All they have are photos.

This makes the quality of your photos a huge factor in whether your item sells or not. This is especially true for hi-fi equipment, with its buttons and jacks and displays. Here are some tips to keep your photos as clear and defined as the sound your equipment makes.

Lighting

  • Use natural daylight if you can. Areas that are bathed in natural light—rather than rooms with a few rays of sunshine poking in—work best. Early afternoon in a room full of windows is a good bet.

  • If you can’t use daylight, setting up a two- or three-light system with lamps can work to create a professional effect. Try to position one or two lights in front, shining from the left and right at an angle so the beams converge in the middle of the object. Then position one light behind the object.

Shot using only natural daylight.
Shot using two lights.

Framing

  • Use a simple, clean background. A white or solid color sheet hung behind the object (without folds or wrinkles) works great. Solid color butcher paper or canvas works, too. Place the hardware on a clean shelf with no other distracting objects in the background. You want the eye to be drawn to the item you’re selling, nothing else.

  • Square crop. Reverb will square crop your images if you don’t, since listings are presented as square images on the site and app. If you take the picture using the “Square” setting on your phone to begin with, you have more control of how your photo will come across and won’t risk anything getting cut out.

Bright, clean, and cropped properly.
Dark, distracting, and poorly cropped.

What to Photograph

  • Lead with the faceplate. Showing the front of your unit first tells potential buyers a lot: the make, model, features, and condition.

  • Include at least one photo of the back of the unit. This tells buyers what inputs, outputs, and channels your unit has.

  • If the unit has a display that is only visible when the unit is on, be sure to take a photo with the unit turned on.

  • Be sure to photograph any damage or non-original parts up close. You can even add a circle around the area or arrow pointing to the damage so it’s abundantly clear to prospective buyers. Better to be totally transparent up front and save yourself the headache of a return later on.

Include photos of the back as well as several close-up shots.
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