eBay's Gallery upgrade 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 JPEG file format.
- The photo is resized so that the larger dimension is 96 pixels.
- The photo is padded with white space to make it a square 96x96 pixels.
- The image file is hosted on eBay's server, making it accessible at http://thumbs.ebay.com/pict/3135403486.jpg, where 3135403486 is the item number.
The closer your photo is to the final size of 96x96, 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 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 1 shows a few examples of Gallery photos, both good and bad.
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.
Figure 1: The bad Gallery photos are shown on the first row, with their good counterparts shown immediately beneath them on the second row.
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 2 shows a well-drawn selection rectangle around an object--before cropping--in Adobe Photoshop.
Figure 2: 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 96x96 pixels. When you're done, save it as a JPEG file.
Finally, you'll need to host the photo on a Web server. 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.