Selling a Sewing MachineI look at sewing machine listings online "all the time". Some listings are truly atrocious. Aside from dreaming fools who have a grossly inflated sense of what their machine is really worth, there are plenty of online listings that are very sub-optimal, particularly in the picture department. What follows are pictures from this webpage, pictures found in the wild, as well as a few staged pictures, to illustrate the good and bad...
Summary and additional thoughts Show good, clean, clear, well lit pictures, and a good description, and you'll get far more interest in your machine! Do not insult the public's intelligence by asking $200 for a $25 machine - or even worse, asking $200 for a $25 machine that has been flooded, beat to crap, is broken, missing parts, or is filthy. Take 5 minutes and at least clean up the worst of the crud. If the bottom of the machine is too filthy and/or rusty to show a picture of it, maybe you shouldn't be selling it in the first place and should send it to the metal recyclers instead.
I hate smartphones with a passion, but even I admit that they can often take good to excellent
photographs. Unfortunately, many people with smartphones are idiots when it comes to photography.
The stupid phone actually can be turned sideways, and SHOULD BE for 99% of the pictures taken
with them. Unfortunately, a significant majority of pictures are in portrait mode whether they
should be or not, with results like the above. Bonus points if you never show the entire machine!
In this case, the user had enough brains to turn the phone sideways, unfortunately, the phone
didn't have the brains to reset the picture's origin, so this is the result. Couple that with
someone who doesn't know to - or doesn't know how to - correct this results in nonsense like this.
WTF is this?
Another idiot with a smartphone that has more brains than the operator.
Why are you posting a screen shot of a picture you already have?
Another version of the above that I've seen. Both suffer from the usual
smartphone idiocy of portrait mode. The damn phone does still work sideways!
You couldn't give it a quick wipe down? I've seen FAR worse!
This is the sale picture from when I bought my Toyota TZ-17!
Outstanding! Not only is it entirely too dark to see anything, but bonus points awarded for weird white balance.
Most online selling sites - eBay or otherwise, limit the number of pictures you can
display in a listing. So don't waste your picture space,with something like this:
Nice enough picture...
Another nice enough picture...
Yet another nice picture. Congratulations, you just burned through THEE of your picture allowance
showing the same darn thing! Bonus points awarded if you didn't bother showing anything else,
like the idiot I saw recently who had no less than 4 different pix of the frontside and nothing more!
Really? Having no pictures was sometimes acceptable around Y2K, but that was over 20 years ago!
A nice overview - also shows the control pedal...
...without having to burn another entire picture showing the darn thing.
I see this a LOT!
We REALLY need to see a picture of the bottomside of the control pedal - not!
Bonus points for soft picture...
Selling a machine in a cabinet? Showing it folded down inside should be
the LAST picture you show assuming you have enough allowance to show
one. Otherwise, don't bother. Everybody knows the machine folds down...
Speaking of machines in cabinets, a picture like this with it all closed up
can be nice - IF you have allowance enough for it, but it should NOT be the
first/main/title picture nor should it be the ONLY picture. "Sewing Machine
For Sale" showing nothing but a cabinet is ridiculous - and all too common!
Another Classic: A backside shot as the first/main/title/ONLY picture!
Bonus points for excessive background clutter and partial occultation.
A little bit of background clutter is OK as long as it isn't distracting.
This is a sale listing, not an art project. But too much is too much!
Fantastic! At least it does satisfy the requirement for a "clear fontal picture" and shows it folded into its table at the same time.
Wonderful! An upside down and backwards photo of the backside of this machine! Really?
At least this picture shows that a foot pedal and manual are included, I'll give it that!
You're going to waste an entire picture on a label a random sewing machine shop put on the machine 40 years ago? Really?
This is more like it! Show the FRONT of the machine!!
A good, overall picture of the backside is a must, just
NOT as the first/main/title/only picture of the machine!
On the other hand, the ever popular closeups of the motor are seldom really necessary.
A good, clean picture of the bottom side is appreciated. Even better if you can
show any markings stamped, inked, or cast on the bottom. OTOH, this shouldn't
be the first/main/title/only picture - and yes, I've seen this too!
Showing model numbers, JA or JC numbers, or other information on the front of
the bed lip is much appreciated. JA/JC numbers appear on some Japanese machines
and can be important to collectors of same. The model numbers are particularly
important on Sears and Montgomery Ward machines, they appear in this area. Serial
numbers are generally useless and meaningless UNLESS the machine is a Singer.
Here is an attempt to show all the nice accessories a machine comes with. Not a bad
effort, although the picture *is* overly soft and a sharp eye will detect that these
aren't all for the same machine! Nevertheless, this is really all that needs to be
shown - the foot pedal can also be shown with this - closeups of each part are NOT needed.
Burning an entire picture to show the accessory box is a waste.
For Goddess's sake, please do NOT burn 4 pictures showing all 4 sides of the case!
Show one at most - possibly in the background of the accessories and/or foot pedal
shot. The case is replaceable, repairable, and disposable, show the machine first!
Like a sewing machine table/cabinet - a case picture should NOT be the first/main/title/only one!
DO NOT DO THIS!!! Just don't. Don't store one this way, don't display one
this way, and sure as HELL don't ship one this way! The pedal will severely
damage the paint on the machine's bed, itself, and possibly the pillar too!
Its not always possible to show the machine sewing for a huge variety of reasons,
some of them honorable, some less so. But always a good idea when/if possible!
Showing major defects up front gives the buyer assurance that there isn't any known hidden damage. The wiring is kaput? Fine, a lot of buyers can fix that - just let them know about it. The machine is incomplete, broken, missing parts, rusty, etc? Show it. Potential buyers may have those parts or may need your machine for the good parts it has. Just don't hide stuff, because eBay or whoever WILL be hearing about it, with corresponding damage to your reputation as a seller and/or expensive chargebacks.
Completely disastrous wiring is quite common on old machines. Disclose it, the buyer will thank you.
Packing and shipping a machine is NOT cheap to do right. If done wrong, the machine WILL arrive broken - this is the NUMBER ONE complaint of people who buy sewing machines on line! Check out this page for the correct way to pack one. If you don't want to go to this much trouble and expense to do it right, maybe you shouldn't be selling sewing machines on line; and if the buyer doesn't want to pay the cost to do it right, maybe they shouldn't be buying either!
Speaking of shipping, for Goddess's sake, DO NOT SHIP A MACHINE "EXPIDITED" OR BY PRIORITY MAIL! Priority shipping on a sewing machine is like shipping an elephant by air! There are just better ways to do it. The trend of shipping EVERYTHING priority and cost be damned is one I hate and doing this WILL cost you sales. Period, the end.