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Tue Sept 25 2012 12:45:37

eBay Photo Sharing: How Many Pictures Are Ideal?

By: Julia Wilkinson

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EBay announced on Sept. 24 that sellers can now share photos via "My Messages." When you reply to an email in "My Messages," you'll see an "Attach Photos" button above the text box, and photos must comply with eBay's requirements. As Ina wrote in this piece, each photo file must be a minimum of 500 pixels for the longest side (1600 pixels recommended), and can be no larger than 5MB. (Sellers can send up to five images per listing through the My eBay messaging system, and the files must be JPG, BMP, GIF, PNG or TIF format).

This got me wondering about how many photos are ideal for an eBay listing, and whether many eBay shoppers find the need to ask for more photos from a seller.

I haven't had a lot of problems when shopping eBay in terms of seeing what I'd like to see, but the other day I noticed several listings that had only one photo of the complete item, a dress. Ideally, I like to see a close-up of the fabric, the tag if possible, and a back as well as a front view. (eBay allows sellers to host 12 free photos per listing, and it said its new photo-sharing feature would not count against those limits).

I don't think 12 pictures are usually needed, but when I list, I try to provide at least a couple views of the whole item, both front and back, and a few close-ups so prospective buyers can see details.

I don't get many requests for more images, but occasionally with rare items or collectibles, such as first edition books, buyers want to see a lot of close-ups. For those situations, I may be using eBay's new "My Messages" photo-sharing feature.

How many photos do you think is ideal for a listing, and how many do you usually provide? Do you get many requests for more images, and do you think the new "My Messages" feature will be helpful for that? Post a comment here!




Comments (13) | Permalink

Readers Comments

eBay Photo Sharing: How Many Pictures Are Ideal?   eBay Photo Sharing: How Many Pictures Are Ideal?

by: TeddyElectron This user has validated their user name.

Tue Sep 25 13:25:43 2012

For once I think this is a great idea that ebay has implemented. I may use this option even if a prospective buyer doesn't ask for photos when asking a question. Would also be nice if ebay allowed ms-doc and pdf files in case a buyer wanted additional information on a product.

eBay Photo Sharing: How Many Pictures Are Ideal?   eBay Photo Sharing: How Many Pictures Are Ideal?

This user has validated their user name. by: East Coast Toy Soldier Show
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Tue Sep 25 13:47:16 2012

The amount of pictures required for a listing depends on the subject of the listing but, for static items,  four pictures are usually enough. Ebay should put more emphasis on sellers including better, thorough and accurate descriptions.  What I've been noticing lately is photo overkill on some listings.  I rarely, if ever, get requests for more pictures.  I also think that eBay has a hidden reason for offering to include pictures in Messages and that is to keep both Sellers and Buyers in the eBay system, instead of both  users privately emailing photos and perhaps agreeing to end an auction early, therefore depriving eBay of  fees.

eBay Photo Sharing: How Many Pictures Are Ideal?   eBay Photo Sharing: How Many Pictures Are Ideal?

by: TeddyElectron This user has validated their user name.

Tue Sep 25 13:49:52 2012

In response to the second part... Yes it depends on the item. Sometimes one photo is good, sometimes you have to load up the listing. Something I do for new items is adding a photo or two of the actual box or packaging even when using stock photos of an item to show that it is real. For my less-than-perfect item listings I have begun adding a slide in the photos I made that says ''Please read item description to avoid surprises'' because some folks bid on items without reading the description. Photos don't always say a thousand words.

eBay Photo Sharing: How Many Pictures Are Ideal?   eBay Photo Sharing: How Many Pictures Are Ideal?

This user has validated their user name. by: Basset

Tue Sep 25 14:37:55 2012

AND - a close up of anything that can be considered a flaw. A must on clothing:

For example, a small minor spot or small fabric flaw. Add a pin or coin reference point so viewer can get an idea of the size of the flaw.

If you don't add a reference point, you can actually make the flaw or spot look larger or worse than it really is!

I do occasionally get questions about items calling for additional photos like how two of my items look together. In the past I've had to ask the person for an email address but warn them it may be removed by eBay, which was kind of awkward IMO. Now, it will be nice to be able to use Messages.    

eBay Photo Sharing: How Many Pictures Are Ideal?   eBay Photo Sharing: How Many Pictures Are Ideal?

This user has validated their user name. by: Ming the Merciless

Tue Sep 25 20:48:20 2012

I have little patience when my items are photograpghed from all relevant angles when some overly demanding buyer wants still more.

The fact is that these same ebay spoiled babies buy things from catalogs where there is usually only one photo.

These people don't call the catalog company's customer service center and demand more photos nor do they demand to receive the exact item photographed in the catalog?

I believe and giv e good customer service. If were lame brain enough to give my user ID here, you could my feedback which frequently praises the customer service the buyer received.

However, that segment of buyers ebafia created that demands, whines, and plays gotcha needs to be taught a few lessons.

Don't cater to them!

Et tu, Griff?

eBay Photo Sharing: How Many Pictures Are Ideal?   eBay Photo Sharing: How Many Pictures Are Ideal?

by: Just My Humble View This user has validated their user name.

Wed Sep 26 09:24:31 2012

The number of photos definitely depends on the item. Most used items benefit from several angles, close-up shots of areas that are often damaged - to show that my item is NOT flawed in any way.  Any detail should have a close-up photo to avoid the email requests. I try to include all those photos in the original listing so that it is not necessary to take the time to pull the item, photograph the area and respond to a question. More photos save time in the long run.

Anything a customer would check when in a brick and mortar store should be shown in the listing photos.

I HATE listings with only one photo, small photos or dark/distorted ones. I don't bother to ask for additional photos, I simply move on.

eBay Photo Sharing: How Many Pictures Are Ideal?   eBay Photo Sharing: How Many Pictures Are Ideal?

This user has validated their user name. by: Basset

Wed Sep 26 09:29:15 2012

I'm seeing a new view for items today. when you cursor on the photo it zooms to the right screen - only MUCH larger than it did recently. It takes up the entire upper right side. Could this be why they don't want frames?

As an aside:  the info to the right of the photo is rearranged, including showing how many watchers there are for the item. Clearly states which country the item is in. Item number is prominent, with item specifics - all in a better spot.  Seems to be more info at the bottom of the listing, too. AND  I notice the sunshine icon is back today for new listings in search - I've been getting the green drape. At first glance, IMO as both seller & buyer, the changes are positive.  

eBay Photo Sharing: How Many Pictures Are Ideal?   eBay Photo Sharing: How Many Pictures Are Ideal?

by: racecarguy This user has validated their user name.

Wed Sep 26 09:55:43 2012

I always try to give one picture (at least) from each angle, so generally 6 - 10 pics per auction.
I want the Buyer to feel like he can ''virtually'' pick it up.

It takes a lot of time, but I feel it allows me to get more for the same collectible than others, just because the Buyer feels more comfortable that there will be no surprises when they receive it.

eBay Photo Sharing: How Many Pictures Are Ideal?   eBay Photo Sharing: How Many Pictures Are Ideal?

by: comet This user has validated their user name.

Wed Sep 26 10:35:02 2012

I agree with the comment about the catalog views---when LL Bean or Lands End do a photo display they show a view of a model wearing the item---or a static pic of the item on it's own.  I use a "half body" display model for a lot of my clothing items to show what it might look like with a body in it--and do say that some items will look better with a body of the proper size in there or on a body rather than on a hanger

How many times have you seen something on a hanger that looked--meh--but on the proper size and shape body was wonderful?

That said I think MOST people shopping ebay for particular items be they clothing or a trinket are looking for one specific item.  When I advert say a NORTH FACE VEST I pretty much feel that the buyer did not just punch in VEST and hope for the best.  They don't want to wade thru 20000 vests.  They DO however want to see the WOMENS LARGE NORTH FACE FLEECE VEST and therefore I have the idea that they do indeed know what a basic vest from this company looks like.  So I don't have to start "from scratch" here.  Now after that it is up to me to provide relevant pics of the "High Points" which I do---if there are any.  For a bog standard clothing item I don't add a million pics.  For something more rare I will add a front,  back,  interior,  label (if there is one vintage stuff doesn't always HAVE labels!)  and any flaws.  IF after that a potential buyer wants something special they can contact me.  I do sometimes get requests for other voews---sometimes from angles that would never have occured to me.  

If a buyer wants a view that is NOT a common one they can feel free--and I have been requesting buyers emails addys in "fractured form" for HOW long now?  

And yes I do believe that the new photo via Messages is strictly to rein in the off ebay sales resulting from the absurd restrictions of buyer to seller contact info.  I think a LOT of buyers and sellers BOTH hate this and view it as almost a "duty" to get around.

Ebay rolled that out with no forethought and once again it backfired big time.  I rarely was asked to sell "off of ebay" using the old buyer to seller system---not I get it all the time.  Which suits me just fine.  

So--as many pics as are needed to show the high points and the low.  

eBay Photo Sharing: How Many Pictures Are Ideal?   eBay Photo Sharing: How Many Pictures Are Ideal?

This user has validated their user name. by: Al G

Wed Sep 26 17:09:22 2012

On a philosophical note, I feel the number of ideal images is dependent on the seller.

If the seller feels that one is enough, it is ideal.

If the seller feels necessary to provide orthogonal views and a cross-section of the item, it is ideal.

If the buyer thinks the number if images is ideal - it is purchased.

8~)  

eBay Photo Sharing: How Many Pictures Are Ideal?   eBay Photo Sharing: How Many Pictures Are Ideal?

This user has validated their user name. by: Spartacus

Thu Sep 27 10:07:12 2012

I'm with Ming the Merciless.

Several times I had demanding buyers ask for measurements on brand new pinned up RL polo dress shirts.

I looked on Macy's and Dillard's websites and even Ralph Lauren. Same shirts, only size listed, no exact measurements (pit to pit, etc) AND twice the price plus higher shipping.

Immediately added the buyer to my blocked buyers list.

eBay has fostered this behavior of cheap, demanding and problematic buyers. I'm glad I don't sell there anymore because it's about to get even worse now that Google has dumped eBay into the abyss.
 

eBay Photo Sharing: How Many Pictures Are Ideal?   eBay Photo Sharing: How Many Pictures Are Ideal?

by: mylifeisgood This user has validated their user name.

Fri Sep 28 17:30:30 2012

Hard enough to get the buyers to read the descriptions SO it would be almost impossible to get those morons to look at more than one picture.

eBay Photo Sharing: How Many Pictures Are Ideal?   eBay Photo Sharing: How Many Pictures Are Ideal?

by: NXeBaybiz This user has validated their user name.

Mon Oct 1 14:59:45 2012

The part that hasn't been stated yet about this subject:

Photos are no longer suitable just for the buyer's 'benefit' respecting the number necessary to convey item attributes.

They are also now 'required' for the seller's protection.  

One can build a HOUSE with a front, side, and top view.  But to protect one's self against some factually nebulous claim of 'SNAD' - if there aren't 'enough' photos shown, there won't be enough 'evidence' for eBay to 'investigate'.

And even then, it won't matter for a claim 'award' - only (hopefully, but no means more certainly) for the 'appeal' that will have to follow.



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