Hack 64 Create a Good Gallery Photo


Prepare your gallery photos to use the postage stamp-sized area to its fullest potential.

The Gallery upgrade, described in [Hack #36], places a photo next to your item in search results and category listings. All that's required (aside from the small fee) is that you provide a Gallery photo.

When your listing goes live, eBay automatically processes the photo by performing the following tasks:

  • The image file is converted to the JPG file format.

  • The photo is resized so that the larger dimension is 96 pixels.

  • The photo is padded with whitespace to make it a square 96 x 96 pixels.

  • The image file is hosted on eBay's server, making it accessible at:


    where 3135403486 is the item number.

The closer your photo is to the final size of 96 x 96, the less of a hatchet job eBay's servers will have to do, and the better your gallery photo will look.

The best auction photo (described in [Hack #55]) will not necessarily be the best gallery photo, so you'll most likely want to prepare two different images.

For starters, your gallery photo must be square and without any superfluous background or borders. Figure 5-14 shows a few examples of gallery photos, both good and bad.

Figure 5-14. Gallery photo examples; the bad ones are shown on the first row, with their good counterparts shown immediately beneath them on the second row

The easiest way to create a good square image is to use the rectangular selection tool of your image editor software and specify a 1:1 aspect ratio. Then, simply draw a box around your image, and the software will automatically impose a square shape.

It's likely that your photo will not fit perfectly into the square shape. In this case, it's better to slightly crop your object than to leave extra space around it. This way, the resulting object will be bigger and will look like it's trying to break out of the bounding box.

Figure 5-15 shows a well-drawn selection rectangle around an object ? before cropping ? in Adobe Photoshop.

Figure 5-15. Your gallery photo will look best if you slightly crop your item, rather than leave blank space around it; specify a 1:1 aspect ratio to ensure a perfectly square shape

When you're happy with the box you've drawn, just crop the image to your selection (Image Crop in Photoshop, or Image Crop to Selection in Paint Shop Pro) and resize the image to 96 x 96 pixels. When you're done, save it as a JPG file.

Finally, you'll need to host the photo on a web server, as described in [Hack #59]. Unfortunately, those using eBay Picture Services will be forced to use their first auction photo as the gallery photo, in which case you probably don't want to make it the size of a postage stamp.