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How to take pictures for your listing

Choosing your equipment

Digital Camera

  • Digital camera: Lets you take a picture of your item that you can quickly transfer to your computer, edit and upload to eBay. Your digital camera should include instructions on how to transfer pictures to your computer.

Scanner

  • Scanner: Lets you directly create a digital picture of items which are flat and thin such as CD covers, collectible documents, stamps or coins. Scanned pictures are stored directly on your computer, where you can select them for upload to eBay.

  • Film camera and scanner: Take a picture with a film camera, have it developed and then use a scanner to convert your picture into a digital photo. If you don't have a scanner, you can take your printed pictures to a photo retail store or a photocopying shop that can do the scanning for you.

Digital

  • Film-to-digital-photo service: You can often order a digital CD when you get your film developed. You insert the CD in your computer's CD or DVD drive to view or edit your photos. You can then upload the pictures that are stored on the CD to eBay.

Creating a great picture

Things to do

  • Use diffuse natural or artificial lighting to light the entire item thoroughly, without shadows or harsh reflections

  • Try to use a background that contrasts with the item. Ideally, you should use a plain, white backdrop to make your item stand out. For items that are white, it's OK to use a neutral-coloured backdrop to provide some contrast

  • If you can't use a plain backdrop, you should at least avoid background clutter that can distract buyers or confuse them about what you're selling

  • Photograph items at close range and at an angle that provides some noticeable depth

  • Photos should be big enough to show details clearly and fill the whole frame when appropriate

  • Take multiple pictures of your item so buyers can see as much detail as possible, eg take pictures of labels, original packaging and accessories

  • Show scale, eg place a coin or a ruler next to the item to show its size

  • If the item has any flaws, stains, wear and tear, or any other damage, take pictures of those details so buyers know exactly what to expect

  • Consider using a tripod to produce sharper pictures using indoor lighting without flash

  • Set the camera to a medium or higher resolution (for example 1024x768 pixels or larger) to produce good quality photos. This allows you to show bigger pictures in your listing and provides better support for photo editing, if needed, before you upload the photos to eBay

Things not to do

  • Don't copy pictures from another seller, website, retailer, manufacturer or anyone else without their permission

  • If your item is reflective (eg glass on a framed artwork or it has a mirror), don't use the flash on your camera

  • In general, avoid using your camera's flash, or at least use it only to supplement other significant light sources (Review your camera's user's manual to find out how to turn off the flash)

Here are examples of a good picture (left) and a bad picture:

Good

Bad

More photography tips
Get advice from other eBay users who have written their own eBay guides to cameras and photography

Editing your picture

It's sometimes possible to improve pictures with minor adjustments, eg you can crop out background clutter to make your item occupy most of the picture area.

The standard uploader provides commonly-used photo-editing features such as crop, rotate and adjustment of contrast and brightness before you upload. You also can make such adjustments before you list on eBay by using photo-editing software that is usually included with digital cameras and scanners or that can be downloaded or purchased separately from many sources. There are also websites that offer free photo-editing of pictures you upload to them. eBay's Copy web files feature allows you to easily copy pictures you've stored on photo-hosting websites, with the same results as if you had uploaded them directly to eBay from your computer.

Saving your edited picture

If you edit your pictures with separate photo-editing software, it's best to save the results as a JPEG (.jpg) or PNG (.png) file, unless the original picture is a GIF (.gif) file. In that case, save it as a GIF file after editing.

Tip: When saving an edited picture for upload to eBay, use the software’s normal 'Save' command, and not any 'Save for web' command that might also be available. This maintains the quality of your pictures for uploading to eBay.

Tip: When editing, minimise the number of intermediate saves in JPEG format as each successive 'save' reduces the quality of the picture. Also, don't change the default JPEG quality to anything less than 90 on the commonly used 0-99 JPEG quality scale (supported in most photo-editing software).

eBay Quick Tips

How to take better photos - layout and lighting
Watch our video about taking better item photos.

2 minutes

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