tips - photographs

Tips - Photographs


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AuctionCavern  >  Auction Tips  >  Photographs


Auction Photograph Tips

They say that a picture tells a thousand words - and adding a photograph when listing your item is a very effective (some might say essential) part of getting your sales message across to eBay prospects.

Taking the Photograph

There are three main ways that you can prepare a photograph:
  1. You can take a picture with a digital camera attached to your computer.

  2. You can take a picture with a film camera, and then use Scanner to get the picture into your computer.

  3. For relatively flat items (for example; stamps and some jewelry), you may be able to place them directly on to the Scanner's surface.

Photographic Tips

Here are some tips for better pictures:
  • Make sure your item is well-lit.

  • Avoid cluttered pictures with extraneous detail or other items in the image. Remember the purpose of the picture is to show bidders your item, so they know what they're bidding for.

  • White backgrounds can sometimes spoil pictures, because there is too much contrast. You may wish to consider taking a picture of your item against a backdrop or colored-card.

File Formats

When you get your picture into the computer you should choose JPEG or GIF as the file format:
  • JPEG is generally better for photographs, as it allows more colors, (and hence a better picture).

    Some JPEG compatible software, may give you an option to vary the "Quality" of the image. The better the Quality, the better the picture will come out, but the larger the file will be. Be warned that Low Quality settings may result in your image being distorted.

  • GIF allows less colors than JPEG, and because of this picture in GIF format may sometimes odd. We recommend that you avoid using GIF unless it's the only choice that your software allows.

Image Sizes and Editing

When you get your image into the computer, you will want to make sure it comes out at your intended size in people's web browsers.

Computer images are measured in "pixels" which are dots on a computer screen. For example, many Windows computers have a screen which is 800 pixels by 600 pixels.

However, when you take a picture with a scanner or digital camera, very often you will be asked to choose the size of the image in inches (or centimeters) and the "resolution" (measured in DPI - Dots Per Inch). You can convert this to pixels by multiplying the image size in inches by the resolution DPI.

If you want your photograph to appear larger or smaller on the computer screen, you could experiment with different resolution DPIs. A lower resolution will result in a smaller picture on screen, and a higher resolution will result in a larger picture on screen.

If after, experimenting with different resolutions, you still can't make the image the correct size on screen, you could use good quality Photo Editing Software to modify the image:
  • Most Photo Editing programs have an option called "Trim" or "Crop" which allows you to cut the edges (hopefully just containing the background!) off images.

  • Most Photo Editing programs also have an option called "Scale" or "Resize" which will stretch or shrink the image to a larger or smaller size:

    • You should try to avoid stretching images, as this can cause lots of distortion. Instead, if you need a larger image, retake your photograph at a higher resolution.

    • It's okay to shrink images, provided you have a good quality Photo Editing program - but poor quality programs can distort images even when shrinking an image. If you do shrink an image, be sure to shrink it by the same proportion in both the horizontal and vertical dimensions.

Putting Images In Your Listings

Once you have prepared your photograph and got it into your computer, you're now ready to add it your auction listing.

There's two ways to do it:
  1. You can use eBay Picture Services:

    eBay can keep and display your pictures for the duration of your listing.

    At the time of writing using eBay Picture Services is free provided you only need 1 picture, and none of the enhanced options (slideshows, supersized pictures, etc.)

  2. You can host your picture elsewhere:

    The Sell Your Item form has a field where you can enter the Web Address (URL) of a picture stored on the web.

    For example, you might enter something like:

    If you have your own web host (which you could also use to store your own web site), you could use that.

    Alternatively, there are a services which will host pictures for you, such as
    For more free graphics tips, please visit


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