eBay Images: Requirements & Best Practices to Increase Sales

ebay images
Mar 31, 2019

Everyone who sells on eBay will tell you that a good listing will go a long way, and they are right. However, besides a good listing description, your chosen images play a vital part in making those sales. Thus, it’s important to recognise which kinds of pictures work and which don’t.

Quantity and quality of the eBay images are essential. The extra investment in time that is required to plan and shoot great images will bring fewer questions from potential buyers and of course, more sales.

Let's take a look at some examples of listings with good and bad images, taken from ChannelReply.

Good eBay photo:

good ebay image

Bad eBay photo:

bad ebay image

Do you see the difference in the quality of those listings? Not only is it hard to actually see the product in the latter but it's cluttered and simply unpleasant to the eye. Background removal,  image editing and a clear view of your product (all of it) is a great way to start.

Here are eBay image requirements

  • You cannot list an item without at least one photo.
  • You can post up to 12 pictures per listing.
  • An image must be greater than 500 pixels on the longest side.

For complete details, you can read eBay image policy.

In the early days of eBay, there was a limit of 6 pictures in a listing. Unless you were willing to pay for the additional images, your odds of selling an item were limited. Some third-party listing tools would allow you to upload more than 6 and you would save money on eBay fees.

In 2012 eBay expanded it to 12 pictures per listing (automotive listings allow up to 24 images now.) Essentially, by increasing the number of photos you include in your listings increases the chances of purchase because buyers can’t touch or feel your items - pictures is all they’ve got. Give the potential buyer a 360-degree view of what you are selling!

However, always keep QUALITY in mind - don’t clutter your listings with many of the same images. I’ll talk more about that later in this post.

6 things to AVOID in your eBay photo:

  • Including photos that don't accurately represent the item.
  • No placeholder images used to convey messages, such as no image available, or out of stock, or other marketing messages
  • Stock photos for used, damaged or defective items
  • Adding borders to your photos
  • Adding additional text, artwork, or marketing to photos
  • Watermarks of any type, including those used for ownership attribution

Note: There have been some changes regarding stock photos. If your item is brand new, there is a UPC code, and the item is in the eBay product catalog, you can use their stock photos in your listing. It is indeed a time saver.

The World Is Still Flat

Back in 2006 at eBay Live in Las Vegas, there was a session about selling postage stamps. At the beginning of the meeting, the group's main concern was about the market for buying and selling postage stamps at that time. At one point, a question was asked, what is the best way to get the best images into a listing. The answer is to use a flatbed scanner. It is the best way to capture all the details.  

A flatbed scanner is great for anything that is the size of a standard piece of paper or smaller. However, for large-scale items like a movie poster, you can use Google Photo Scan App, which is also free to use. Take some practice scans, play around with it and you’ll create great images in no time.    

So how do you optimize your eBay images to maximize your sales? Here are 4 tips for you:

  • For any item take at least four pictures.
  • For clothes, take at least two with the item hanging and two others with it lying flat on the ground. If it is a known brand, get a picture of the label.
  • Try to capture the collectible items it from all angles. That means at least six pictures. Additionally, if it has a stamp, logo, or brand name on it, make sure to add an image of that too.  
  • If it is in the original box take pictures of the box.

Now, let’s dive into some details...

Firstly, make sure your product is clean. When an item is dusty, it can create a reflection. Use a solid background with a neutral backdrop - white and gray colors work great. Avoid using a flash on your camera or smartphone and try to take pictures in natural light.

Here's a recommended background pallet for your eBay image background:

ebay images background pallet
Source: eBay

Make sure to use the highest resolution possible on your camera or phone. Take pictures from multiple angles to give a complete view of the item. If the item, for example, is an antique collectible take a picture of the serial number or logo. It helps to avoid those additional questions.

Tools for taking great eBay pictures

  • A digital camera with a macro setting for close up pictures
  • There are similar setting if you use your smartphone
  • A photo lightbox - If you want your pictures to look professional you can buy or build one yourself - it's not that expensive. Here’re my lightbox tips, whether you want to buy one or make one yourself: Cheap box for purchase, Build one DIY
  • Plastic display stands - they will help when displaying an item that might not sit level on a flat surface. It gives you a more professional image when posting it on an eBay listing
  • A clothing mannequin, in case you’re selling clothes.

To be a successful eBay seller, you should pay attention to these “small” details. Your listing title and the description needs to be clear and concise. Taking the pictures for your item will take time between taking, editing, and finally uploading them to your listings. But as they say, "a picture is worth a thousand words," so invest some time to take great photos and watch your eBay sales grow.

Want to learn more? Here are some relevant blog posts to continue reading:

Can I Make a Living Selling on eBay?

Selling Made Easy: Creating the Perfect eBay Listing!

How to Get Repeat Buyers Using eBay Product Presentation

About the Author

Neil Shapiro

Neil Shapiro started Neil's Hot Deals in 2006 because his parents were retiring and they had stuff they did not want. Now, spends his weekends at the thrift stores finding new items to sell. Fun facts: Neil is an avid drinker of unsweetened ice tea, bucket list travel destinations: Australia, Israel, and Alaska.

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