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what is the best set-up for taking product photos for ebay etc ?

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I  have an Canon SD900 10 MP camera....


I would like to make up something to take pictures for ebay , 

items would be 3 inches to 8  inches long , 


I guess the main thing is lighting and how to get details as the flash just blows out the the contrast

I normally just put them on a table outside , but the lighting changes or is spotty because the table is under a tree ,

if I put the table out in the sun it is to bright....


any simple , cheap ideas ?


thanks for your help

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Put the table near a window, indoors, not in direct sunlight. Don't use flash. Put the camera on a tripod if you have one, or on a stable surface. Set the aperture to F8 or thereabouts to maximise the amount of the item that is in focus. This will result in a very slow shutter speed, but that doesn't matter because the camera is stable. Use a shutter delay if your camera has one to minimise and shake when you press the shutter button.

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A neighbour of mine used to photograph watches, to sell via web...

I was hoping to find a picture of his "home made" set up... (cannot) But it was fairly simple using white cloth to defuse the light and prevent shadows etc... worked well... It could  take a little experimenting to get right!


FracturedRabbit's advise good too! ^

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Get a cardboard box maybe 18x18x18 inches, tape the bottom up, cut the top flaps off, cut a square in the front and 2 sides leaving maybe a 2 inch border for structural integrity.  cover the 2 sides and the top with something that will diffuse light, for example rip-stop nylon.


Get a piece of white paper big enough to curve from the top back section to the front bottom section, get 3 table lamps for the top and sides, put the product inside and shoot through the front.


To adjust contast just move 1 or 2 of the lights further away. You could even just use 2 lights and put white card over the top the light will reflect off it.


Something like this  http://digital-photography-school.com/how-to-make-a-inexpensive-light-tent/


Or you could try something like this  http://www.diyphotography.net/8-ikea-table-hack-produces-killer-product-shots/

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  • 7 months later...

Photographing items for eBay or Amazon is not rocket science.  All it takes is a simple setup. 


Shooting with window light (North window or diffused light from any other window) like  FracturedRabbit suggested is the cheapest way.


Another common way is the use of a light box, which is what godblessemall suggested.  This video will give you some ideas on how to use a light box.


B&H - Larry Becker - Better Product Shots - YouTube


Here is another light box kit that is a bit more flexible since you can move the lights around to vary the lighting.


Amazon.com - LimoStudio 24" Folding Photo Box Tent LED Light Table Top Photography Studio Kit, AGG1071 : Photo Studio Shooting Tables : Electronics


Neither of the above methods will give you a trully pure white background unless you overexpose the subject.  If you want a pure white background you have three options with light boxes.


1.  Use post processing software to raise the exposure of the whites while keeping the highlights, mid-tones, shadows, and blacks from being overexposed.


2.  Cut out the item in your post processing software and move it onto a pure white background.


You can try using the software that came with your camera but chances are that more sophisticated software software such as ACDSee Ultimate or Photoshop will be required.  ACDSee is the lower cost option and is on sale right now. 


ACDSee Ultimate - Ultimate Creative Freedom


3.  Suspend the object being photographed on a clear sheet of plexiglass and light the bottom and back of the box separately from the subject.  This way you can make the bottom and back pure white without overexposing the subject.  This takes a bit of effort to set up but once you get it setup you can use it as long as you like.  The drawback is that it may require a few more lights.

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I've been using a big piece of white cardboard (from a paper shop or school book shop) softly bend in a bow; placed the object on the white cardboard, and avoided flash/blitz for having soft shadows; daylight is fine, but not direct sun, otherwise a thin white paper or some white cloth to diffuse the flash.

I should take some product photos for a friend, and it worked quite well – I've seen professional photographers using same set up.


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Rule #1 - make sure it complies with eBay's specifications,

which usually changes a couple of times each year


There's lots of Help pages, to assist with your compliance





they always check whatever pictures you submit

 -  sufficent detail (there are specs for that)

 - size limits ie 7Mb max size, amongst other specifications...



Anyhow, in my case, I picked a standard background, such as a dark blood red plain carpet laid on the floor...

... something that allows good definition of the product's shape to be seen



Don't overlook that for flat items, a good photocopier colour scanner picture of the actual product does come in handy





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