Product Photography Tips

Tabletop lighting setup

lately I have been selling a lot on eBay this is due to a few things one is cleaning out things we don’t use anymore and the other we have a lot of lego to sell that may late father had bought to sell for his retirement. Now if you are selling any sort of product or even a service you want good photos. So I decided to make use of some photography equipment I had got to setup a table top studio.

This needed to be quick to setup, as the products that I am selling are only smallish items this could be done on a table. I decided to use our dining table to get the white background I used some old white material to give the effect of a endless backdrop, this can be done with other colours but using white does make your product stand out better. You can also use a large sheet of card if you don’t have any material to hand.

A few years ago I made a frame to hold a backdrop for some 360 degree photos I had done this can be seen HERE. But for this setup I could use a small shelf that was above the dining table. To hold the material into place I used some small plastic grips these are available from most discount shops at around a pound for four, and clamped the backdrop to the lipped edge of the shelf . Always make sure your chosen backdrop isn’t at a 90 degree angle so it is at a curve, as this helps get a constant colour background.

Now lighting is the key with any photography, for my setup I used two constant lights on tripods with umbrellas as I brought these for using for the kids school photos instead of buying the extortionate price the school charge. The set of two tripods, umbrellas and daylight 115w bulbs only cost under £40, you can get entry levels ones from eBay, Amazon etc. For this setup you could use table top lamps, though the main thing to remember is the type of bulbs as normal tungsten, energy saving bulbs etc are not pure white, so best to get daylight template bulbs as these produce the purest colours.

The position of the lighting is important, it is best to face the lights at a slight angle towards the backdrop, if this is white will reflect back to the object you are photographing. Depending on the brightness and type of bulbs you have you may need another light directed to the object from above. Also it is a advantage to use a tripod to hold your camera, as holding handheld can get slight camera shake with will after the quality of the photo.

Now you have the basic equipment setup, you will also need to get the best out of the camera you are using, if you have manual controls on your camera you are best to keep the iso set low at a max of 200, this will stop any noise appearing on your final photo, also it id best to change the white balance. This is more important if using normal bulbs as your white background will come out a blueish colour. Even if using daylight balanced bulbs it is still useful to set the white balance to the white of your background.

tabletop_lighting_before_after

Before & After Quickly Adjusting Levels

Now even with all the light you have your background may not be pure white when you have taken the photo maybe a slight greyish colour, you can up the exposure level on your camera to a stop of +1 as this will help don’t go overboard as you will wash out the colours in your subject. Once your photo has been taken to get the best looking image it is best to use a photo editing software this could be photoshop but this can be done with other software including image viewers, paintshop pro or even the free open source image editor Gimp. This is very simple by using the levels adjustment by moving the white scale up, but the same as adjusting the exposure of your camera don’t go to far as you will wash out the colours of the image.

Hope you have found these quick tips useful, if you have any comments please leave below, but you are best depending on your setup to play about with lighting positions and especially the settings on your camera as this will make a bid difference in the end and once to have got your setup right it will be very easy for you to get the best out of what ever product you are photographing. To see some of the photos I have taken in action using this setup see my ebay auctions HERE & HERE.

 

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Kevin Simon

My Name is Kevin Simon and I am the creator & main author on KS News & Views, I am self employed and can supply IT & Web Design services aswell as Fish pond Maintenance. I have a few hobbies which I write about and anything that interests me really.

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