I've been an eBay seller for 10+ years. I've listed 6,000+ auctions. My auctions have anywhere between one and twenty photos each. So over the past 10 years, I've shot at least 10,000 photos. And to this day, I have never, ever shot one photo that came out the way I wanted it to. I'm using a pretty basic setup. Canon A95 digital camera. ISO 50. A piece of white(ish) newsprint as a backdrop. A couple of Reveal 100-watt bulbs in S-V reflectors, softened with vellum. Camera is set to full manual, incandescent white balance, usually macro focus, always on a tripod. Shutter released with 10-second self-timer. Images cropped, resized and sharpened in PhotoDeluxe. And the results, as you can see in the examples below, below, are sub-par at best. I do have a skylight above my photo backdrop (it's the only spot in the house where I can set up, unfortunately). Sometimes that casts a bluish hue tint on the photos, but I try to use a big piece of cardboard as a bogo to block the daylight. And most of my problems don't have much to do with a bluish tint. There's always a problem. Underexposed. Overexposed. Distorted corners on square objects. White background is too dark. Or tinted red. Poor detail. Out of focus. I've spent hours and hours and hours trying to get it right. Different backdrops: smooth white paper, bedsheets, cardboard. Different lighting: daylight, 500w photo-flood bulbs. I've asked local professional photographers, received and followed some great advice. But no matter what I do, the photos are always bad. When I say "bad", I don't mean "terrible". For eBay, they're passable. But I want them to look professional. Legitimate. Instead of just "this guy was trying to make his photos look good, but he missed the mark." So what do I need to do to actually take a good photo? I don't need super-duper studio shots that are going to be enlarged on a billboard or used in a Clinique ad, but I'd like my images to look professional. Do I need a DSLR? A 50mm lens? A light meter? A pure white backdrop? A strobe setup? Umbrellas? Reflectors? 4 years of photo school? Is it impossible to get professional results with amateur gear? I'd appreciate any meaningful advice anyone can offer. (Please, no "those photos look fine to me" or vague "I shoot with an A95 and my photos come out great!" replies. Useful input only please!) Here are a few recent examples, with my notes about what I think is wrong with the photo: Old reverb unit. Background came out reddish, instead of white. Right-side edges of unit are distorted. Detail isn't particularly sharp. I shoot photos of a lot of this type of stuff, with the same lousy results. Mini whiskey bottles. Background came out reddish (ignore the tear in the paper!). Perspective is distorted from front to back. Detail is sharp, but only because I used the sharpen feature in PhotoDeluxe. Old LP record. LP is overexposed, but "white" background came out reddish and underexposed. Snare drum. Background tinted red when it should be white or slightly off-white. Perspective somewhat distorted. Old loudspeakers. Overexposed. Background tinted, and not white. Edges of cabinets distorted. I spent a LONG time trying to get this photo framed and exposed properly, and I missed the mark by a mile. Old electronic quarterback game. Background underexposed with a reddish tint. Detail over-sharp due to PhotoDeluxe sharpening tool. 3 RC cars. Background totally tinted red.