How to Photograph a Gun

A Safe Queen can speak for itself. Proper quality photos are key to getting the bids your collectible deserves.

Follow our guide for photography tips to ensure you have the best-looking gallery possible. If you’ve got a modern cell phone or know how to run a camera, the steps below can help you deliver professional-grade photos. If you choose to do so, this guide also includes a checklist you can supply to your photographer.

Photo Requirements

Aim for 30+ photos for Pistols and 45+ for Long arms covering all surfaces of the firearm.

Photos should be a minimum of 2400×1600 px resolution for the best-looking gallery online.

All photos should be taken landscape and in the aspect ratio of 3:2.

Example Listing Gallery

These listings are great examples of ideal listing photos, notice the lighting, cleanliness of the item, and angles. 

Getting Started

Safety: This should be the first concern when working with firearms in any capacity.

  • Handle all guns as if they are always loaded.
  • Unload your firearm prior to photographing.

Cleaning: A quality cloth will get you most of the way there.

  • We often see collectors use “CLP” or “Renaissance Wax” to display their firearms.
  • Use a “NEW” lint-free cloth, or your preferred detailing cloth.
  • Make sure all dust and lint have been removed as it will show in the photos.

Background: Choose a background that is plain, and neutral in color.

  • Solid color, without a lot of texture, is preferred (The more boring the better)

Lighting: Natural outdoor light is best. Lighting is CRITICAL for showcasing your collectible.

  • The best time is immediately before dawn and immediately after dusk.
  • Outdoor natural light is always better than indoor lighting. Unless you’re a photo studio pro (Dawn & Dusk or overcast days)
  • Avoid using a built-in flash, this can cause bright spots on the firearm while taking photos.

Camera: Modern smartphones are more than capable to capture quality images for your listing. A DSLR can be better if you know how to use it.

  • Ensure your lens is clean on your cell phone or camera.
  • While shooting with your camera, remember to zoom with your feet (move the phone) rather than zooming with your fingers, this keeps the photo quality at its best.
  • Keep your phone in a landscape position while photographing your firearm.

Clean Your Firearm
Soft Light/ Overcast Day
Photograph on a simple/clean backdrop
Wide Photos

Soft light/Overcast Day Photograph your Firearm These photos should include the whole firearm, allowing for a bit of margin on each side of the gun.


Now get close to the gun, photograph the parts you love, the fine detail: Roll Marks, Inspection Marks, Serial Numbers and where they match, Trigger guard, barrel, hammer, back strap, front strap, ejector rod, cylinder, slide, stock, butt. You name it. This should be the bulk of your photos.

Imperfections or Blemishes

Now get closer to the gun, photograph the good, the bad, & the ugly. Bidders are looking to see where the finish may have been touched up, or where it’s wearing off. Do your best to capture the micro scratches and the obvious scratches. You need your photos to be an honest representation of your item.

Included Items

Have the box, holster, uniforms, belts, or knives? Any spare magazines? Take a flat group shot of those items and any details that are required.


Print this out on the day you choose to photograph your collectible, This will ensure your time is well spent and you walk away with all the photos needed. A printable version is available in a link below the checklist.


Soft Natural Light/ Over Cast

Properly Cleaned Firearm

Horizontal Photos

Clean Simple Backdrop

Do Not Digital Zoom

Avoid Built-in Flash Feature

Wide Photos (10+)

  • Right Side
  • Left Side
  • Top
  • Bottom
  • Barrel/Muzzle
  • Grip/Stock
Detail (10+)

  • Serial Number (All locations)
  • Barrel Right
  • Barrel Left
  • Barrel Rifling
  • Muzzle
  • Front Sight
  • Rear Sight
  • Top Strap
  • Back Strap
  • Front Strap
  • Roll Marks / Inspection Marks / Import Marks
  • Forend / Grip
  • ButtStock or Bottom Grip
  • Magazine Well
Blemishes (10+)

  • Micro Scratches
  • Touch Ups
  • Holster Wear
  • Barrel Rifling
  • General Imperfections
  • Other______________
Included Items (10+)

  • Magazine
  • Magazine Serial
  • Holster
  • Belt
  • Documents (Flat Lay)
  • Box
  • Box Label
  • Serial on Box
  • Case
  • Other____________

If you’d like to be able to print or share the check list a downloadable copy is available here.

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