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Now and then I have to sell a bike on an internet marketplace (e.g. Craigslist, Facebook).

What type of photos should I include in the posting to convey useful information to potential buyers?

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    Whatever photos you include, make sure the bike is washed clean, and that you have sufficient lighting. Sunlight is ideal, flourescent is terrible. – Criggie Jan 12 '18 at 21:06
  • @Criggie what about off-camera flash? Or is sunlight better? – Saaru Lindestøkke Jan 12 '18 at 22:32
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    Sunlight is preferred because it helps show natural colours. Shiny paint glows, chrome pops, and it looks good. Those into photography might comment on choices of flash, but the fluro tube in your basement, or sodium lights on the street are all dreadful for photographs. You want to sell it, you need to display it as well as possible. Would you buy a dirty bike with a fuzzy photo ? – Criggie Jan 13 '18 at 1:34
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Short version: As many as you can.

Slightly longer version: I always include an overall photo from drive-train and non-drive-train side. In addition to that one of the cockpit and close ups of the drivetrain and brakes. That should include most parts of interest. In case of suspension photos of the sliding surface of fork and damper could be of intereset for potential buyers.

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    I want to add that if your bike has visible usage marks, i.e. scratches, abrasions etc., it may be a right thing to do to take photoes of them as well so that a potential buyer could tell in advance whether he/she will be able to tolerate such marks. You clearly sell used stuff, so be honest about its state. When I was on a used bike market in for a new beater bike, I was grateful for those sellers whose photoes allowed me to decide "OK, this decal is scratched and this cable is frayed but I am going to strip it change brakes in any way, so it does not stop me from buying it". – Grigory Rechistov Jan 12 '18 at 11:28
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    @Grigory Rechistov - +1 for photos of defects. You should put that in a separate answer and get some credit for it – Argenti Apparatus Jan 12 '18 at 12:33
  • I like to include a photo of size decal if viewable and a photo of a ruler meeting the top tube to show stand over height. – mikes Jan 12 '18 at 13:44
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You should have at least a good quality drive side picture:

  • Bike perpendicular to the camera view and centered in the shot
  • Well lit
  • Against a plain, light colored background without any thing else in the picture
  • High resolution

Depending on the bike, a single good drive side photo can suffice.

As @nollak says: including good, well lit close up pictures of parts of interest to highlight higher end components, good condition, lack of wear etc. is a good idea.

As @Grigory Rechistov says, pics of minor cosmetic damage you want to 'own up to' help to depict you as an honest seller.

3

When I take photos of my bike, I particularly focus on the following:

  • Front and rear brakes, showing the pad thickness as well as alignment with the wheel and forks to show set-up of the pads. Also, being able to see the pad-to-rim contact is great, too.
  • Front and rear deraileurs, and with.....
  • ....A shot down the top and bottom of the chain in highest and lowest gears to show alignment, photos edited into one, but with high-quality so that zooming in doesn't ruin the photo quality too much.
  • Seat and handlebars, including particular emphasis on the shifters and brake levers.
  • Front and rear hubs, showing if any grease is splurging out or if it's nicely set up, and so if any rubber seals are present, their condition is visible.
  • Chainstay for any damage from chain slap.
  • A birds-eye view shot of the whole bike.
  • A drive-side view shot of the whole bike.
  • A non-drive-side view shot of the whole bike.
  • Front shot of the bike to show the cabling routing from the front; If it's ugly or unsuitable, we want to know about it.

However, it's vital that if you take ANY photographs, they need to be of decent quality, have to have good lighting - preferably cold-white LEDs or daylight is even better- and background (No dirty living-rooms or unmade beds in the background, please. Also, please don't put your workshop/garage in shot as almost every photo of a bike with their garage shot in has a horrific mess that, if anything, merely sets off my OCD and makes me not want to look at all.... < /RANT>)

It's also handy if you take a photo of the whole bike, and show what products you use on the bike for maintenance (Lubricants, degreasers, cleaners, etc) so that people can see how the bike is maintained. Hardly essential, as a good bike will show in the pictures, but seeing what's used is good reassurance to a prospective buyer.

If you're just putting an ad up for a really cheap bike that you want to get rid of, just include the Main 7:

  1. Brakes Front
  2. Brakes Rear
  3. Gears Front
  4. Gears Rear
  5. Drive Side
  6. Non-Drive Side
  7. Front

Good luck with the sale, and I hope you get a fair price for both parties. :)

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