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Tips for taking good photos of your gear

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The photos on your listing are a key factor in selling your gear on Reverb. To ensure you are taking quality pictures, make sure your gear is well-lit, use a simple and consistent background, and keep your photos in-focus. Capture as many angles of the item as possible, including any blemishes and close-ups. You can use a smartphone, tablet, or any digital camera to accomplish this.

The photo examples in this article are focused more around guitars, but can apply to all gear.

Why are good listing photos so important?

Here at Reverb, we want your items to sell, and nothing helps a listing sell like great photos. They are the buyer’s first impression of your item, after all. You can use a smartphone, tablet, or any digital camera.

The images below are examples of what a good and poor main listing photo looks like.


The photo on the left is centered, well-lit, and clear. It’s attractive, inviting and encourages interested buyers to click and learn more, whereas the photo on the right is dark and out of focus.

Tip #1: Photograph from all sides

Reverb allows up to 25 images per listing, which leaves plenty of room to include shots of every part of the guitar.

If you only include one or two photos of your guitar, buyers will either look past your listing or contact you for more information, which can delay or dissuade a purchase from happening.

As a good baseline, we recommend the following sequence of guitar shots:

  • Close-up on the front of the body
  • Full length of the body
  • Close-up of back
  • Full length of back
  • The guitar at an angle shows the depth of the body
  • Various close-ups or angles of different portions of the guitar
Close-up of front
Full length of front
Close-up of back
Full length of back
Close-up of headstock
Full length of headstock
Angled to show depth of body
Various close-ups

It's also essential to include close-ups of any imperfections on your guitar, no matter how small. To eliminate confusion about the imperfection, call it out in the photo.

An example of a photo calling out an imperfection
on the guitar.

It’s far better to show every scratch or chip so the buyer can see what they should expect to receive. Failing to disclose these photos could result in a dispute and can create an overall poor experience for yourself and the buyer.

Tip #2: Use consistent backgrounds

If you’re a regular seller on Reverb, using a consistent background helps to establish your brand.

A distracting background takes the focus off the guitar.

Using a neutral or blank background is a safe choice. A solid color wall or sheet works, too. Since you’re aiming for consistency, make sure the background is something you’ll have access to every time you want to list something.

If you can’t find or create a solid blank background, or you prefer something with more style, listings with cohesive background themes are the next best choice. Just be sure to avoid using distracting patterns or anything that will take the focus off the guitar itself.

Tip #3: Keep lighting even

Natural daylight is probably the best substitute for a professional lighting rig. Shoot by a window on a sunny day to get good, natural light or even take the camera and guitar outside. Overhead noon sun will minimize shadows. This is easy, free, and available on a daily basis.

Avoid harsh light behind your guitar to keep it
out of the shadows.

If you don't have good window space, or simply can't shoot during the day, you can angle multiple indoor lamps to illuminate your guitar. Use one lamp on one side and a piece of white paper on the other to reflect light, and avoid detail-obscuring shadows.

Dealing with shadows is inevitable – just make sure that they aren’t too harsh or awkward. This is often the dividing line between photos that look polished and professional, versus ones that look amateur.

Tip #4: Use your smartphone or tablet

Photos taken with an expensive DSLR or mirrorless camera are not necessarily going to help a listing sell faster than one with well-lit, focused photos taken with a smartphone or tablet.

We suggest you buy a tripod for your iPhone or Android. These generally cost about $15-$20. It’s definitely worth it, considering that any little shake or blur can lower the quality of your pictures. Tripods can help your phone's ability to focus.

Editing your photo quality can also help your photos stand out. Most smartphones come with this capability, along with free apps like VSCO and ColorStory.

Be sure you’re not making the guitar look like something it’s not. If it’s a Fiesta Red Fender, it should still look like a Fiesta Red Fender. Make sure your edits aren’t altering the color of your guitar.

Tip #5: Square crop your photos

All photos on Reverb get square-cropped anyway – on the web, app and when they get pushed to online search engines. If you want your pictures to show up the way you intended, keep them square (equal height and width) from the start.

Almost all smartphones allow you to crop your photos after taking them with a built-in editor. You can also use a simple default program on your computer like Preview (for Apple) to crop photos on your desktop. Hold the "Shift" key while dragging your crop box and it will keep it square as you drag.

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