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Dealing with eBay’s New Photo Requirements


Dealing with eBay’s New Photo Requirements

published on 21.05.2013 in Blog by

It’s no secret….for online shoppers, images sell. And since eBay likes when things sell, starting on July 1st, they’ll be enforcing new photo requirements that are intended to improve picture quality and overall usability for buyers.

In this post, we’re going to go over what’s changing with their picture policy, and also discuss how conforming to eBay’s new rules can help out eCommerce sellers in other areas as well.

Overview of eBay’s New Picture Requirements

There are a few things changing with eBay’s picture requirements, including image size, borders, watermarks and text. Let’s cover them one by one.

Image Size

On July 1st, all product images on eBay will have to be bigger. More specifically, they’ll have to be at least 500 pixels on the longest side.

While bigger images do sell better (and eBay has data to back this up), this can be a big issue for some sellers, especially those that sell hundreds or thousands of items and don’t want to simply resize smaller photos, as that will dilute quality and could have the opposite impact….which would be fewer conversions.

If you’re in this boat, a couple possible strategies include checking with your manufacturer to see if they can supply larger images. If not, or if you only sell used items, you can start with your more popular items and work your way down your catalog with new photography. You can also consult with a graphic designer to see what they may be able to do with your existing photos.


When the new rules go into effect, eBay sellers will no longer be able to have borders on any images. eBay says the only exception to this is if you have a “natural” border that results from photographing on a neutral background. So, sorry sellers, unfortunately no more branding with borders.

Text & Artwork

There’s also no more text or artwork allowed on eBay images. Occasionally sellers would use text or artwork as a way to further brand their business or call out some type of deal, such as free shipping on that product. eBay says anything you have to say about your products should be said in the title, subtitle or description.


eBay sellers can continue to convey ownership with watermarks after July 1st, but they can’t cover up the image, they can’t contain any marketing messages or links, and they can’t be more than 5% of the total image area while remaining faint….meaning an opacity of no more than 50%.

No Pictures = No Listings

You can no longer have eBay listings without at least one photo. If you’re selling something that can’t be easily photographed or isn’t actually a physical product, like a vacation getaway, eBay actually suggests that you browse the web to find a photo that is representative of what you’re selling…..but beware of copyrighted images!

Stock Photos

Selling used items? If so, say goodbye to using stock photos. Starting July 1st, if you sell anything that is used and it is not a book, movie, music or video game, you can no longer use stock imagery and you’ll have to get an actual photo of the product.

Going Beyond eBay

So….I think needless to say….there are a whole bunch of eBay sellers that aren’t entirely thrilled with these new requirements, and for good reason. Many sellers are doing just fine with the way things are now, and some will have to invest a good chunk of time and/or money to conform to these new rules.

However, since I’m a “glass half full” kind of guy, I wanted to take a moment to look on the bright side of all this. As I mentioned earlier, images sell, and as more computer and mobile displays become high resolution, they’re getting even more important. eBay isn’t the only one taking notice. Google recently updated its Product Feed Specifications to recommend that merchants with Google Shopping feeds update their product images to be at least 800 pixels in height and width.

So, getting back to the bright side, if you are working with smaller product images right now, the nice thing about updating them is that hopefully it will also allow you to make improvements within other marketplaces, on your website, as well as in other marketing channels.

Look to Your Fulfillment Provider for Help

Many eBay sellers outsource their order fulfillment. Here at eFulfillment Service, we provide eBay fulfillment services to many, many merchants around the world. For those merchants, because we offer digital product photography as an add-on service, we’re able to make their lives even easier by pulling inventory from storage, photographing their products, and then restocking them.

If you’re an eBay seller that outsources order fulfillment, check with your service provider to see if they may be able to help. Or, if you’re looking for more of a turnkey solution with your order fulfillment, let us know, we’d love to see if we’re a good fit to fill your eBay and other orders.

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48 Responses to “Dealing with eBay’s New Photo Requirements”
  1. Moyia Y. Zamorra says:

    Alot of pictures I have used for many years because I sell most of the same items will no longer comply with eBay’s new picture requirements. I use a scanner for 90% of my small jewelry items. This will be a huge pain for me. My pictures are good and this sucks!

    • David says:

      Sucks royal style, eBay are so bloody pedantic, what a load of crap.
      They should help their sellers a dam site more than they do, everything is in the buyers favour these days, and the seller is always wrong.

    • Jay says:

      Ha, scanning jewelry, thats much easier than me, how am i going to “scan” a live fish? my iphone 3gs takes decent photos but i can’t upload it because “photo size is not 500p”.

  2. Annette Hellingrath says:

    I have just spent another hour and a half with some ebay supervisor trying to sort out this new photo requirement. I have been told many different things by many different customer service reps since June 1st and I am still getting the yellow flag no matter what size I make my photos. I was told on the 23rd that all my photos have to be 800 x 800. Earlier that day I was told they had to be 1600 x 1600. I laughed then. I was on the phone with ebay supervisors more than three hours that day with and I still don’t have an answer as to how to get my photos up to ebay code. I have already ended a lot of my listings out of frustration. I was told by one of these people that if my photos were not up to code that my compliance rating would go down. THEN TELL ME HOW TO COMPLY! EBAY EMPLOYEES DON’T HAVE A CLUE! What’s the point of lowering my rating when on July 1st my ads will be ended by ebay anyway. I was going to list 950 DVDs this weekend – not anymore with the hell that this photo compliance joke is! As is typical of ebay nobody thought this through. I’m all for good photographs but 500 by 500? Amazon is happy with 160 x 160. And did anyone consider that photographs are not square? That book covers and DVD covers are not square?

    • Cyndi H. says:

      I just called an eBay rep to ask to check my listings to make sure they were ok, he kept putting me on hold and every five minutes he would come back on and say ” just so you know that as of July 1 if they aren’t in compliance they will be removed”. I finally said I know that is why I am calling to see if they are ok. He then said he really didn’t know and was trying to figure out the math on the size with a pen and paper….WHAT!! I have been selling on eBay for years, have made them a ton of money, and have 100 percent feedback………really this is just so upsetting.

      • chrissy says:

        What a joke I ve tried everything and it won t let me upload …..back to months of not selling on ebay then AGAIN….why do they mess with it.My photo s are off a sony mobile and excellent in taking pictures ….what IS THE PROBLEM NOW EBAY

    • I’m done with eBay. I can’t post my photos. Too much wasted time.

  3. Steve Bulger says:

    Thank you for the comments. I know a lot of eBay sellers are frustrated by these new rules, and, like you said, Annette, it seems some of this could have been thought through a little better. And there’s nothing more frustrating than when you hear different things from different people at the same company!

  4. karen says:

    Every time I have called ebay on one issue or another, the support person has always complimented me on my very fine images/pictures. What a joke. Now all my pictures are not at a high enough pixel level. Yet, I have been an honest (albeit) small, and fairly successful seller for 13 years. I have checked MANY photos in other sellers’ listings and I haven’t seen ONE that met the requirements. Will ebay eliminate ALL of the picture violations? Ebay will die that day (maybe that will be okay). I truly don’t know where this new rule came from and sorry, Steve, your suggestions didn’t help me at all. I take my own pictures, own my stock and do my best. I think they want me to buy a new camera and I don’t want to do that. My pictures are quite good– precise, accurate and crisp-but they aren’t 500 pixels. I feel like ebay is continuing to slowly push out the small sellers like me with ridiculous requirements.

  5. michigandvd says:

    I sell used DVDS. I have about 4000+/- at any given time. %99 of customers are fine with a disc, case and artwork that plays. Exceptions for rare oop titles. after fees, I’m lucky to make $1 per DVD. to have to manually upload over 1000 pictures a month just killed me. I do use ebay stock photos, but currently about half of the photos are no longer included in the catalog and even some of the ESP are still getting flagged. Ebay can’t even keep up with their own requirement.

    • Garuda says:

      I sell a lot of DVDs/games etc; rather than taking photos yourself just go to Amazon and save their stock image to save yourself a lot of time

  6. Wil says:

    I am a retailer like most others on ebay. I don’t take pictures myself. I get them from the manufacturers. The biggest on my manufacturers don’t have all the images I need in 500+ pixels. Even the one’s they do, I’m having a hard time getting from them. I sell costumes, so I obviously can’t take my own pictures. That would require finding models to show over 2,000 of my products…then who wants to buy the costume after someone wants to wear it?

  7. MARK JAY says:


  8. Dawn says:

    You should be able to change the size of the image using photo editing software rather than taking new pictures. Some software is expensive like Photoshop, but you can get free versions like Gimp http://www.gimp.org/ (dodgy name but it does work!) Although it will take a long time to go through each image if you have a large amount of them it will be quicker than re taking them. There is a walkthrough here: http://docs.gimp.org/en/gimp-tutorial-quickie-scale.html
    Re scaling images can make them a bit blurry, but sometimes you need a quick fix not a perfect one!

  9. marie says:

    I absolutely hate the new requirements I use pictures that are already up on ebay and everytime I go in to check my listing half of them aren’t there! and I pay for a subscription so im being charged even though they keep unlisting or telling me there are errors.

  10. Drakar says:

    How can I report eBayer which still use logos on pictures ( british flag ) – because eBay don’t do anything ???

  11. Sam says:

    I’ve got quite a number of products that are no longer compliant. Whoever decided on this new policy should be shot. This is going to take a lot of time for nothing.

  12. Ryan says:

    I don’t understand why sellers can’t display their logos. Some of the items that we sell we have to compete with 4 or 5 other sellers. Our logo imediately identifies us against our competitors, some of which are fly-by-nighters.

  13. Second-Life says:

    Now I agree that you SHOULD have a photo on your listing, I have never listed without a photo.

    But sorry the new rule is stupid in regards to size.
    I shoot my photos with my DSLR. The images are 5184×3456.
    They upload fine to ebay without any dramas.. but yet when I view my listings the items have been shrunk to 500×333? With no available option to zoom/enlarge the images.

    I contacted eBay and they told me it was because I was resizing my photos to that size? Um no I am taking them, uploading them to my computer from my camera and then uploading them straight onto eBay. No resizing done on my part what so ever. As an avid photographer I am pretty sure I would know if I were editing my images in any way or not.

    So what is the point in uploading large files when they reduce the size to 500px anyway.

  14. dan says:

    this is a total joke, what do they think the zoom button is for, bet they have lost a ton o money cancelling all these auto relist

  15. george says:

    Ebay are such a bunch of Morons, this new picture policy is such nonsence. I quote from ebay “customer love big pictures” yeh some customers would love to get items at 99% discount so does that mean ebay should enforce sellers to give a 99% discount?? Totally could not give a rats ass about sellers, who actaully are the ones that push customers on to the site by offering a wide variety of goods. Totally ruins the experience very time consuming, one of the worst companies out there with regards to ruining there platform, complete morons!

  16. Dan says:

    Ebay clearly wants all sales to compete solely on price. I get that. I very much sympathize with all of you who were caught in the new pixel size requirements and can see where good, honest, serious sellers are getting kicked. I am fortunate not to have that issue since I only started serious selling after the new rules came in so I already had to comply on 95% of my pictures from the first time they were listed.
    What I really deplore is the fact that you can’t dress your pictures up in any way. I do agree with not having logos or other text or images that direct a buyer away from eBay. However, I really don’t like the restriction on no borders, no enhancements to the picture, etc. I wanted to use a simple thin shadow outline around my pictures as well as a textured background to give the pics a little zip. Can’t do that, per eBay. ‘We encourage you to have really good pictures’, they say, but you can’t make them look better by dressing them up. I suppose the policy does keep people from creating photos that are misleading, but it seems it also stifles some creativity that we all need to get our products noticed. Under this policy, pricing will be everything. There is no way to make your listing stand out–unless, of course, you pay eBay $1.50 to get a ‘bold’ listing title. Ergo, it seems the only way eBay will let you enhance your listing in any way is to pay them.
    To paraphrase an old expression–“EBay is the worst online seller there is, except for all the rest.”

  17. Chris says:

    I use this free program (fotosizer) to resize images in batch. Drag ‘n Drop, pick the new size, hit the button, BOOM, all images resized. I am in no way affiliated with the software makers. I discovered this while looking for a free resizer for my insurance business. It is called “fotosizer” — they have a website for direct download or you can go through CNET’s download.com. I use the free version. They offer a Pro version which I assume has more features. Before I used fotosizer, I used Windows Powertoys Photo Re-Sizer on XP. But that only had a very few options for pixel size choices.

  18. Chris says:

    @Second Life:
    I have been resizing to 1200 x 1600 pixels, or 1600 on the long side, and after uploading, they are staying the same on ebay. (Ebay’s software is not resizing my uploads)

  19. I didn’t know about the emaging situation on Ebay untill just now. I have never had a problem with this because I have been using a 5 Megapixel Olympic SLR digital camera which is pretty old now. Serendipitously, when I stated to post listing on ebay I purchased a program that wasn’t that expensive and works GREAT. NERO 7 Ultra Edition. This is an older program but it works great for AUTO picture enhansments that is a time saver. It works great with any saveed pictures on my computer. I also have a 3GS Iphone that I use and once I have saved it on my computer I can do everything I need to do like cropping, Sizing ( but I have never had to) enhancing the pictures without making the original picture look crappy. I have also started to use Photobucket and post them there first and then use those pictures inside my listing to make sure my buyer see any flaws or chance of the buyer saying they didn’t see that. This leaves the buyer and seller from disputes in there posted listing. I find this to be really important. As a buyer on Ebay I have purchased Items looking at the pictures alone and if the pictures are good pictures the buyer and seller don’t leave the listing to Chance.
    I have been on Ebay since 1999. While I don’t sell thousands of Items a month or week or day like some big sellers do it is a good thought to have great pictures for any chance of a dispute.

  20. tk says:

    Ebay could care less, just so they can keep screwing the sellers,their customer service gets worse everytime I call.I suppose next they’ll raise their rates do to the listings that they are losing because the pics are not compliant,what a joke.

  21. Anthony says:

    I find this entire conversation ridiculous. It’s not hard to upload high resolution photos. If you have a digital camera, I’m sure it takes pictures with a higher resolution than 500px x 500px. Probably 4x – 10x that. So just take the picture(s) and upload it, your pictures should’ve been a higher resolution to begin with. If you have to retake them to comply, then retake them, it might be hard and time consuming, but business changes, and so do online standards. High resolution does matter these days. As a seller, I scale mine down to 1600px on the longest side, and it’s fast and easy. As a buyer, it’s nice to have a detailed, up close view of the item you’re about to buy. If people were allowed to fill their images with sale stickers, huge logos, arrows and info, etc, eBay would look like a jumbled mess, and these ads all over pictures would be frustrating and distracting. Because we’re not allowed to do this, it creates a level playing field, the focus should be on the item being sold, not 50% off, FREE SHIPPING, MADE FROM 100% SILK, HIGH QUALITY CRAFTSMANSHIP, with the item in the background. It sucks that people had to retake so many photos, but hey, it’s better than opening a real shop. SO SHUT UP PEOPLE, or I will come smack you all in the mouth, and shove Legos in your eyes.

  22. anne says:

    this is a pathetic innovation…i am new seller and this new requirements froze my aims, plans, and business line.
    ebay wants to filter us. ebay is fine with top sellers i think
    highly disappointed.

  23. BIT says:

    Anthony, you obviously know totally nothing about marketing !!!!

  24. MG Cental says:

    I couldn’t disagree or agree more! As a small seller offering British car parts all the ebay changes over the years has caused me extra time & frustration when for 7+ years everything has worked just fine. Pressure is put on the seller who without ebay would not have buyers. I understand the the big sellers need to have guidelines but perhaps there should be a line in the sand for us small sellers. I’ve noticed they do not police policy changes very well as I still see other parts sellers without proper descriptions, not offering returns etc. while I’ve made every attempt to comply.
    Thoroughly confused over pic resizing as I’ve received different suggestions. My camera is 8 mega pixels & photos are taken at 3264×2448 with 180dpi (same camera for 7 years). My computer tech suggested a resizing program called “picasa” Wonderful editing program with many enhancing options. I’ve resized photos to 500, then 500+ then 1600. Every time I try to relist I still get the gray screen-NO PHOTO! I also understand that only the gallery photo (main listing pic) needs to be resized, all others not?
    Can anyone give me a clue as to what is actually needed?

  25. MG Cental says:

    Followup to previous comment
    I haven’t been able to list or relist items since the photo change went into effect. Normally I have over 100 parts listed My email is full of ended listing noticess from ebay so I’ve lost 100’s of dollars in sales while inventory just sits on the shelf. My Ebay fees average 11.8% of sales + Paypal fees & for that kind of money I expect some consideration. Come on ebay, this doesn’t have to be complicated

  26. Nick says:

    I just use photoshop to quicly covert photos for ebay standarts. quick, free and good result

  27. Eileen Gamble says:

    Just tried to sell on eBay Have done it before. Now can not figure out how to include photos so can not use ebay any more

  28. Terri says:

    I just returned back to ebay to sell and actually opened my first store! I spent fifty hours photographing images and cropping and adjusting light and adding my mark to prevent unauthorized copying. I had NO IDEA ebay changed their photographing policy and not I have to redo the whole thing! What a sham…it’s just another way for them to make EVEN more money because now you will have to pay for a second line. There’s a thing called CROP and PASTE ebay! They can still steal your photos if your watermark isn’t allowed to cover part of the picture you spent 50 hours perfecting. So let me see I pay a monthly fee to post, get charged 10% of everything I sale, pay Paypal 5% and then I am penalized if I tack on handling charges. I had no idea it would take 25% of my sales. This is crazy. It’s cheaper to open a web page and sell directly. I won’t be here long. Just until I get enough stock to do that. This is very disappointing and every time I call to try to learn something that’s changed – I get someone who can’t speak English enough to fully understand my question. I get better training by sellers posting helpful hits on Youtube. Again, “just visiting this place”. They have too much of a monopoly and it’s gone to their heads. A billion dollars in profit in one year isn’t enough – they need two billion. I feel socialized!!

  29. Lisa says:

    This is 2015 not 1996, asking for at least 500px on the longest side is more than reasonable. Someone commented that Amazon allows 160px. That is why they are full of terrible photos. I’ve run across countless items where the pictures where so small that you couldn’t tell what the picture was of.

    I would also like to see them put a stop to using a logo as the primary image. I see this all the time. Now, while someone mentioned using their company logo, this is not what I’m seeing. What sellers are doing is using the logo for the company that makes the product they’re selling.

  30. LegitPrices says:

    This is ridiculous, eBay customer support is useless, nobody even knows what they are talking about (what else do you expect from outsourced CS that doesn’t have English as a primary), I can even resize my 400×400 photos to 500×500 and they are barely even noticeably lower quality and they don’t meet the “HD” requirements or whatever. I’m considering selling other places, luckyily for me I’m new to selling on eBay and don’t have much invested here.

  31. k.cole says:

    I am no longer posting on Ebay my items for sale. I have tried everything possible to comply with the photo imaging requirements and my photos still will not load. These are photos I have used in the past and can no longer use, as well, when I do make the proper changes they still won’t load! Thanks Ebay for driving me to sell elsewhere!

  32. with no sellers you will have no buyers and no ebay fees

  33. Ah!!! Now it takes my comment! Okkkkay!

    When eBay came out with the magical picture mandate focused on making buying on a smartphone easier, they completely ignored their sellers and the technical need to overcome obstacles within their time-consuming production and basically made those listings obsolete with no option to edit pictures.

    What should have been added by eBay were the tools and/or applications to modify photos to meet photo requirements. While the objective to facilitate smartphone users was admirable, eBay totally disrespected PC users and a huge number of sellers in that a large percentage of items were in fact no longer available to them.

    Here are some MUCH needed improvements if eBay wants to be both BUYER and SELLER friendly.Make a smartphone Turbo Lister or similar with all the features in a listing tool that so many of your sellers are familiar with how to use.

    In your item editor on a smartphone, add all of the same features for item specifics that you offer on a PC. What is missing? Custom item specifics, country of origin, mfg. part number to name a few.

    When making broad sweeping reforms in policy, make sure all the technology is in place to facilitate eBay sellers in keeping with your policy updates and mandates. Without their sellers… there will be no buyers or eBay fees.

  34. Phillip says:

    This is highly annoying, especially for sellers who are selling things like books and DVDs. What a pain!

  35. Tom says:

    Ebay was was so great when that blonde lady was the ceo. She quit to run for governor of California. Since then, ebay blows. I now sell on other sites.

  36. Voncele deVlaming says:

    Cannot figure out how to drag and drop! So time consuming and ridiculous. Was just thinking of selling on eBay full time but not with this mess.

  37. Jim says:

    With a half-decent compact digital camera the picture size in pixels can be set within its menu. The 1600 x 1200 setting will give a file size of around 350Kb which is plenty for practical purposes on a monitor. Maybe this is why Ebay has this preference. The benefits for the Lister is room for more photos in the camera’s memory, faster uploading time and no need for re-sizing.

    • mitch says:

      I revised my ebay listing, deleted existing pictures, changed the pics that I had already taken to be 800 x 600 pixels. This worked fine and now there is magnification.

  38. Douglas Lombardo says:

    E Bay is a disaster, not fun anymore, and too much trouble for what it is worth. They changed their format and it is so much more difficult to get through. And it appears as if it was designed by a third grader. And the suggested prices on products and shipping are an insult to sellers intelligence! In case you are reading this E Bay…shipping has gone up 10 times over your suggested costs!

  39. Lois Funk says:

    If eBay expects photos to be to their specs, then they should provide a side-program that lets sellers fix their photos to those specs. I have just spent the last two days trying to list two items, and eBay won’t accept either listing because of the photos, even though I have used my “own” software to change them to 500 dpi. It’s much easier to post to my local selling site. Easy to see that eBay is going to lose a lot of business until they decide to help the seller rather than the buyer. But, if I can’t sell on eBay, it’s a cinch that I won’t be bothering to buy from there either!

  40. Harry says:

    Ebay has been slowing deleting my photos, not because of size, (they are 1024×900), and leaving only the first photo in each listing. I have to go back and add everything they have been deleting. Anyone else have this issue?

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