How To Take Great Pictures For A Garage Sale Advertisement

You’ve done the hard work preparing for a successful garage sale. But don’t forget the part that will actually bring lots of paying customers to your sale – how to take great pictures for a garage sale advertisement. Whether it’s clothing, shoes, antiques or garden supplies, it’s important that your yard sale photos stand out on Facebook Marketplace and any other online advertisement. See how to easily take and post great photos here!

We have a rush of customers at our multi-family garage sale, and a lot of people say, “I saw your ad on Facebook and made sure to come here first.” Making $3,500 to over $6,000 in extra cash annually for our 8 – 10 families, I’d say lots of potential buyers are seeing our advertisement (and great photos).

Let me tell you what I’ve learned from over ten years of holding garage sales and the lessons I’ve learned from a lifetime of regularly shopping sales.

How to Take Great Pictures for a Garage Sale Advertisement

What equipment and apps you need

  • Phone camera 
  • Free editing software (I use Lightroom mobile app)
  • Editing presets (optional, but this is a great way to save time)

Don’t worry, you don’t need anything fancy to take good yard sale or estate sale pictures. I have a Google Pixel phone, but any phone camera is more than good enough and an easy way to take the photos you will need. 

I do edit the photos with the FREE version of Lightroom mobile app. You certainly don’t want overly edited, fake looking photos for your garage sale ads! My only goal is to lighten or correct bad lighting so customers can actually see what’s in the photos. I take the first photos during the set up time, which is during the evening dark lighting. So it’s very important for these photos to be lightened.

I use Bright and Airy presets from Light and Airy. They are affordable, have just the right amount of options and walk you through how to use them. (If you would like to get presets from them to edit your garage sale photos, use coupon code TAMMYKING for 20% off!)

Technique of taking photos

Everyone should know by now that you need to hold the camera still while taking photos. But I’m continually surprised at how many people post garage sale pictures that are so blurry you can’t tell what is actually in the photos! 

Here are some easy things to remember when taking photos:

  • Hold the phone still. Don’t post blurry photos.
  • Turn on as many lights inside the garage as possible while taking photos.
  • Bright sunlight can be as bad as dark. Don’t face the sun while taking photos.
  • Pay attention to your shadow. Try not to have your shadow in the picture.
  • Shade is better lighting than sun. But mottled shade/sun is the worst. Try to do all shade or all sun.
  • Get down to just a tad higher than a large item you’re taking a picture of.
  • Take photos from above of a table of various small items.

When to take photos

  • Set up day

Take lots of photos during set up day. You MUST have pictures with your initial garage sale advertisement the day before the sale. Let me repeat that…You MUST have pictures with your first ad the day before the sale. 

  • Morning of the sale

It’s good to take an overview picture of your packed out garage sale and update the online listing the morning of the sale day. (This is why it’s good to have a dedicated marketing person. It takes a lot of time, and one person can’t run the sale AND have good marketing!)

  • During the sale

I take photos of large items during the sale. Instead of sitting around doing nothing, I make individual listings of big-ticket items on Facebook Marketplace and Facebook groups. Many people see a cabinet or a workout bench and come to the sale just because of those items.

  • Final day of the sale

We run killer deals the final day of the sale. It’s good to update photos on your social media platforms of what’s currently available and let people know you still have great items left at great prices! (Make sure to note in the listing that the photos are updated.)

What to take photos of

It’s not good to have all zoomed out photos, and it is also not a good idea to have all photos of single items. Here is a list of what to take photos of:

  • Overview tables of item categories (ie whole table of kids’ clothing, tools, electronics, sports equipment, etc)
  • Single or a couple large items together
  • Close up of high dollar items (Kitchenaide mixer, video game items, antiques, vintage items, American Girl doll, etc)
  • Overview of entire garage and entire packed out driveway
  • Close up of your street signs (since you have brightly colored matching garage sale signs, it’s great to let people know what to look for and follow)

Editing photos

I’ve mentioned this already, but it’s important to have bright, eye catching photos. Taking photos during the evening of setting up can get pretty dark. And while you’ll update these photos later, you still want them to be the best you can make them. As a general rule, don’t over edit the photos. You’re not doing any craziness with Photoshop!

I use the Bright and Airy presets available from Light and Airy, as one good option. I can then use them on the free Lightroom app. It made sense for me to purchase these because I use them for other events as well. I purchased them about 5 years ago and have used it so many times.

If you purchase presets, they will have a guide to walk you through the process.

If you choose to manually edit the photos in your camera app, then do the following:

  • Open the photo in your camera app
  • Click “Edit”
  • Click “Adjust” or other similar word until you find “Brightness”
  • Slide the “Brightness” level to what looks good. 
  • If it is especially dark, you can also adjust the “Highlights” slider. 

How to post photos 

I find it easier to take and edit photos on my phone and then download them to my computer to post. This has been the easiest way for me to create yard sale listings, but you can certainly list directly to online platforms from your phone.

With the initial online advertisement, I always include the maximum number of photos available. Facebook Marketplace allows 10 photos; Craigslist allows 30. I sometimes also put photos in the comments but not often. But always, ALWAYS max out the number of photos allowed. This is the best way to catch people’s attention during a yard sale search and draws them to buy something.

Since Marketplace allows so few, I really have to be choosy about the pictures included. I try to have photos for each category and popular items (antiques, kids’ clothing, guy stuff, etc). 

Updating photos 

I don’t just put photos up in the first ad and then leave them all week or weekend long. Each evening, I take new overview photos (or have a fellow garage saler take photos) and update the Facebook page listing and online ads. 

When the photos are updated, I put the following text in the subject line and description: 

“***Updated Photos…”

“All photos in listing are updated of items currently available as of Friday morning.”

This makes potential customers more willing to come to the sale for an item if they know there’s more of a chance that they’re not wasting their time on sold things.

Examples of bad photos

Here are a few examples of bad photos (that I’ve actually seen on listings or ones that I’ve taken before editing). Please, please do yourself a favor and don’t post photos like this!

Examples of good photos

Here are a few examples of good photos either because they’ve been edited from bad lighting or because of what’s being photographed and therefore advertised.

I trust this guide on how to take great pictures for a garage sale advertisement will help you bring lots of customers to your upcoming yard sale! Every year I learn something new to try for our next sale, and every year our sales numbers climb to where we made over $6,000 in extra money at our last 8 family sale! So many people told us they came because they saw our yard sale ad. And judging from the number of online questions about specific items, I assume that people really studied the photos to see what we were offering. It’s worth taking the time for good photos to ensure lots of foot traffic and a successful sale.

Happy selling!

Read more about holding successful garage sales below

How to Create a Successful Garage Sale Ad (Craigslist and Marketplace)

How to Advertise For Your Garage Sale

Part 1: Ultimate Guide to a Successful Multi Family Garage Sale 

Part 2: Ultimate Guide to a Successful Multi Family Garage Sale

Part 3: Ultimate Guide to a Successful Multi Family Garage Sale

Pin for Later How to Take Great Pictures for a Garage Sale Advertisement


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