Can you help me with my photos?

Yes! The quality of the photos you upload to Show & Tell is very important because it usually determines the quality of the feedback you’ll get about your items. For this reason, we occasionally delete items whose photos are too blurry, dark, or small to see.

Here are some tips to help you improve the quality of your photos:

  • Choosing a camera. While the cameras that are built into new cell phones continue to improve, digital cameras still tend to have the best lenses and the most features. In general, we suggest that you get comfortable with your digital camera so you can fully take advantage of its capabilities.
  • Take multiple shots. Having multiple photos to choose from means you are more likely to find at least one or two good ones to upload. Be sure to include at least one photo of the entire item, not just four details or close-ups. Examples of close-ups include key features like a manufacturer’s mark or a design detail. Remember to shoot your item from different angles (above, side, head-on, etc.). And if an item has accessories, get separate shots of those, too.
  • Frame your shots. When shooting, fill the frame with each item, or crop your photo later to get rid of distracting backgrounds.
  • Know your camera’s settings. Examples of settings include the one that removes the date from the front of your photo and the “macro” setting (usually an icon showing a flower), which gives close-ups crisp details.
  • About backgrounds. Choose a simple, uncluttered, neutral-colored background. Anything that distracts from your item is bad. White or light backgrounds are best. Patterned or colored ones are the worst.
  • About lighting. Try to get as much indirect sunlight as possible on your item. Don’t use direct flash, which can wash out colors and cast shadows. When outdoors, shoot in the shade in the morning or evening to avoid harsh midday sun. Indoors, let in as much sunlight as possible by opening blinds and curtains. Finally, be conscious of where you’re standing when shooting – don’t block light or cast shadows with your body, and don’t shoot into the light, which will create a silhouette effect.
  • About file formats and uploading. We accept jpg, gif, and png files of just about any size, but if you are trying to upload a large file (more than 1MB) on a slow connection, the upload might time-out. Users on slow connections should change the dpi of their photos from 300 to 72 to reduce their size.
  • About third-party images. It’s fine to upload an image that helps tell the story of your item (for example, a scan of your item in an old magazine ad), but please make sure you have the right to share the image with us before doing so.
  • Rotate your photos. After the shoot, be sure to rotate your photos if needed so they appear right-side up!

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