Many reviews are available which assist us in determining if a postcard is a Real Photo Postcard also commonly abbreviated as RPPC or RP. If you have a large lot to sort and pick out the Real Photo Postcards, you can simply separate the RPPC by looking at the shiny surface normally seen on photographs and by the tell-tale silvering which is normally seen on the surface of vintage real photo postcards. However to definitely confirm that it is truly a RPPC, the simplest way is to use a 10x magnifying lens to view the postcard, which should show a solid view, and total absence of little dots. If it is a printed postcard then you will see distinctive little dots under magnification.
An important point to remember as an online seller of postcards, is that when you list a postcard for sale on Ebay, with the title having words such as RPPC or RP or Real Photo Postcard, the buyers will always have a certain degree of uncertainity about it truly being a Real Photo Postcard since they have no way of confirming the same. That is why it is very important to always include a close up magnified photographic image of the RPPC, along with a photograph of the complete postcard, so that the buyers can themselves look for the complete absence of little dots, and be convinced that it is truly a RPPC. I use a Canon SD series 7..1 MP compact digital camera to take photos and also to capture a magnified image of the Photo Postcard, since it is very easy, convenient and fast compared to using a scanner. You can use almost any of the compact point and shoot digital camera's available in the market, which have a macro mode available on them.
Macro mode is a function available on most digital cameras. This function allows us to take close up (between 2-10cm) photographs of objects (such as postcards, postage stamps, etc) and to obtain a magnified image of the object, if you keep the distance between the object and the camera lens around 2-3cm. I always use the camera set to manual and further select the macro mode, for photography of postcards. To use the macro mode in your digital camera, switch the mode to manual mode, and subsequently select the macro mode (flower icon) or you can directly select macro mode in other cameras. To get a sharp and clear magnified image comparable to looking under a 10x magnifying lens, it is important to keep a steady hand and to hold your camera as parallel as possible to the object your are photographing, so as to avoid any unfocused areas.
Natural lighting (daylight) is best for taking photographs of postcards, and you can do so in the patio of the house, or near a window. Never use flash and avoid using artificial lighting for taking photos of RPPC and other postcards. For taking photographs of RPPC always do so under more diffused light (for example in your patio under the roof), since if you have the open sky or any other direct light source above, the RPPC will reflect light and will appear as a shiny blob. A simple black (or other color) stock paper should suffice for the background. I use a 7.1 MP Digital Camera, with settings on Superfine & M1 mode so as to get 2592 pixels wide x 1944 pixels high, which gives a very nice image of the postcard after being resized & compressed by Ebay Basic Uploader to Ebay's standard size. Keep in mind that eBay picture hosting services can handle images upto 7 MB. If you use a 1.0 GB SD card in your camera using the before mentioned settings, you will be able to get about 520 - 540 photographs before the sd card gets full, using this setting, i.e. a photo file size of about 1.9 MB. Also try to use your camera's AWB (Auto White Balance) Setting for getting a more true color of the object being photographed, irrespective of the light source that you are using. It is a nice idea to group together postcards to be photographed by country if selling International postcards or by State if selling U.S. postcards. Lay the postcard flat on a small surface area desk, preferably one with wheels or you can make use of a dolly underneath, so that you can move it around to enable you to adjust the natural light source to be in front of you, to avoid your shadow and that of the camera falling on the postcard. The desk should have an appropriate height which would allow you to take pictures without having to bend down (source of lower back and shoulder pain). Hold the camera parallel to the postcard at a distance that allows you to get the entire postcard in the picture frame, without getting any excessive background and start clicking pictures. It is a good idea to take at least around 500 pictures at one go (takes about an hour, and utilizes the entire storage capacity of a 1 GB SD Card). Download the pictures to a file on the picture folder of your computer. You can start by naming each new group of downloaded pictures with an alphabet such as A, B, C and later on AA, AB, AC and so on. If you are using the default picture number provided by the camera for each individual postcard, you should be aware that the camera will automatically revert back to #1 after taking 9,999 photographs. The same rule of photography of RPPC also applies to photochrome era (1939-to present day) postcards, since they too have a reflective surface.
Postcard sellers are strongly recommend to also post photographs of the reverse of the postcard, as it could have many other interesting facts such as a message to or from a famous person, postage stamp, postmarks (such as Doane's, Barrel Duplex, Machine Cancels, Fancy Cancels), postal / military history, auxiliary / ancillary markings which could greatly increases the value of the postcard. You should aquaint yourself with some basic facts about postmarks such as R.P.O. (Railway Post Office), D.P.O. (Dead Post Office), R.F.D. (Rural Free Delivery) and military usage such as Censored, A.P.O. (Army Post Office), F.P.O. (Field Post Office), A.E.F. (American Expeditionary Forces), markings. Postage stamps affixed on the reverse can be quickly studied for expensive coil varieties or rare perforations by using a Perforation Gauge (An ordinary postcard which had a 1c U.S.A. stamp with a Shermack Type III perforation sold for $75 in one of my auctions which had a very low starting price). In fact I have sold many ordinary postcards in auctions at high prices being paid for the stamp variety or postmark on the postcard. Always include the details of the postal history in the title along with the details of the postcard in brief. I never use any photo editing software to try and enhance the look of the postcard, as it masks the true details and also hides the true condition of the postcard by masking creases or ageing coloration. It always pays to be completely honest, so present the photograph of the postcard as close as possible to what it actually looks in reality. It is very important to honestly mention about any creases, bumps, or tears if present on the postcard in your written description of its condition. I alway look at the condition of the postcard critically as a buyer would after receiving it, and write about its condition from the buyers perspective.
View some close up images of Real Photo Postcards posted in my EBAY STORE taken using a compact digital camera using the macro mode. You can use the keywords RPPC or RP to search. You can also look up postcards with interesting postmarks and postal history by searching with the keyword postmark, doane, cds (circular date stamp), censor or RPO.