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Expert tips: how to create the best images for your ads

It is well known that selling items online is more effective when paired with photographs, but a badly staged photograph can also deter a buyer. Here we share our expert tips for creating the best images for your ads.

Great images will draw more people to your ad, so your item will sell faster. As a bonus, if we like the photos we see, we may surprise you with a free AdBooster upgrade!


Selecting a camera

Camera phones or point and shoot cameras are both capable of doing an excellent job. You do not need to be a professional, use what you already have. Using your camera phone makes it faster to upload the images through our mobile site.

Creating a backdrop

To get started, clear a space or corner for a backdrop that will simplify your photo and avoid unnecessary clutter. You’ll need a backdrop that’s white, neutral, or contrasting. Use a crease-free bed sheet or a plain undecorated blanket. Setting up against a couch or chair is another great option if your items aren’t too large. You can also use craft or poster paper and if you have rolls of wrapping paper, use the unprinted backsides for a simple backdrop. Tape paper to a wall and push a desk up against it. Drape the paper down onto the table to make a seamless smooth backdrop.

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Ensure your photo is clear with good lighting. The best lighting for many products is diffused lighting, which gives a flattering light without creating harsh shadows. You can’t control the weather, so it is much easier to take your photos indoors. Either set your placement up by a window or use fluorescent lighting to create a nice even and diffused light. If you don’t have that, a simple bright floor lamp that is aimed up to the ceiling is the next best thing.

Soften your camera flash

Most cameras have built-in flashes, but they are small and often put out very harsh unflattering light. With a simple household item in front of the flash, it turns that into a beautiful soft light. We recommend an empty milk container, but experiment with different items as well. Use a foam plate in front of a flash and see what kind of effect you get or simply just take a postcard sized piece of white card-stock and put it in front of the flash, aiming it to a white ceiling. With a camera phone, use a floor lamp before considering the built-in flash on it. All sorts of items create different lighting effects so explore if you have the time.



For the larger items

For larger items, remove any background clutter, but consider adding other subtle and eye catching items. For example, rather than taking a photo of a plain and weathered BBQ, use the surroundings you have. Get an angle shot with flowers in the background as this little bit of colour will liven up your BBQ. If you are trying to sell a car, drive to the park or beach to get that beautiful photo – it works! car on grass3

Think perspective

If your space allows for it, always photograph from the furthest distance away and use the zoom in your camera. The reason for this is to ensure that your perspective stays true to the object.

Get the sizing correct

Ensure your photos are the right size, and don’t crop off the edges of your item. We recommend a square format, 800px x 800px or 5MB, our sites can take up to 20MB. On our sites you can edit photos after they are uploaded. This includes rotating and cropping photos, just click on the pen icon to edit.

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edit photo2Use multiple photos

Include more than one photo in your ad. Our sites allow up to eight photos per ad so make the most of it! Capture all angles: front, back and sides. Zoom in and take close ups of important details. If it’s a rental suite, we want to see all rooms! As a bonus you will receive less questions when you show more of the item.

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Add a description

Make the most of your description. Be authentic, be funny, be real. A short story will enhance your ad. For example, on our Victoria website, a dishwasher was listed for a monthly fee, and it came with a free house! This quirky rental suite ad gained a lot of attention and it was backed up with great photos.


Make sure your item is clean to ensure it is the star of your photo, a little soap and warm water will do the trick.

With these simple considerations, it shouldn’t require a big or elaborate set-up to create great results. Whether you use a camera phone or a more advanced camera, the bottom line is to keep your set-up simple, use a backdrop, control your lighting, and compose from a distance. A warm thank you to Terrance Lam for helping us pull together these fantastic tips.

Now, you can make your next ad stand out with a few beautiful photos. We are on the lookout for great ads, if we like what we see we may give you a free AdBooster!



Chatter from the UsedHQ. We're the number one Canadian online classifieds, passionate about keeping items out of landfills, preserving unique curiosities, crafting, upcycling, anything vintage and SAVING MONEY!

One Response to “Expert tips: how to create the best images for your ads”

Judy Gwynn-Williams

These are great tips, easy to follow. Thanks for this Terance Lam.


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