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Product Photography Tutorial Part Two: Taking your first product photo for Ebay

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In last weeks tutorial we gave you some tips on getting the right hardware for your first product photography shoot.

This week we will be looking at setting up your studio and taking your first photos. This step-by-step guide is aimed at the beginner looking to take their Ebay or E-Commerce product photos to the next level.


Setting up your studio

For the majority of people, access to a professional photography space won’t be possible. But that is not something to worry about. The beauty of these lighting kits is that they can be assembled just about anywhere. If you are a home business owner, you will find that you can turn any room into a makeshift photography studio.

For this tutorial I set up my lighting tent kit in our living room. I sell a lot of fashion products on Ebay, so these compact kits work well for me. In this instance I am using the two head PhotoGeeks lighting tent kit.

1) First of all you you need to assemble your kit. This is very straightforward and with a bit of practice should take 10-15 minutes. The lighting tent kit I am using consists of two continuous lights, a pop-up light tent and a tripod.

2) Find a suitable hard surface for your light tent. A small table will work well.

3) Place one lamp at either side of the tent kit. You will notice that the further your lamps are away from the tent, the more diffused the light will be. About 8-10 inches away produces a good balanced lighting coverage.

4) To achieve the best lighting possible, try to shut out as much natural light as you can. Because I have a window on one side of the room, I found the sun light affecting the colour balance within the tent.

5) Place your camera on the tripod which is included in the kit. This is to remove camera shake which will blur your photos.

6) Now its time to set your camera. Set the camera mode to Auto. This means your camera will automatically detect the amount of light and set the exposure automatically. If you are an experienced photographer you can do this manually, but for now Auto is absolutely fine.

Setting up your item

7) For this tutorial I photographed a designer handbag and pair of sunglasses I am wishing to sell on Ebay. Because you are photographing them in a lighting tent, you need to make sure they are looking their best. Even if the the item is new, just give it a quick clean or polish to remove any specks of dust.

8) Place your item inside the tent. Remember that perspective is just as important as the picture. An item looking straight on can look flat and boring. In this case, all I did was sit the bag on a slight angle so that I can capture some depth.

9) Close the tent cover and fasten it tight. This is so the light reflects back into the tent.

10) You will notice an open slot in the cover. This is where you will stick the lens of your camera through in order to get the photo and keep the light inside the tent. It can be slightly fiddley at first, but you will get the hang of it with practice.

Taking the photo

11) Line up your camera using the view finder or the LCD screen if you prefer. You want to get your object nicely framed in the centre.

12) Take a few practice shots and check to see if you are happy with the objects position and framing.

13) Once you are happy you can take your final shot.

Don't worry if you shot looks less than perfect. In our next tutorial we will show you how with simple image editing you can go from this image, to this:

Tips & Tricks

14) Sometimes you need to use props to help support your items. I decided to take a picture of a pair of Ray Bay Sunglasses and after the initial photos I wasn’t happy that they were sitting flat on the table. I used a simple white foam block to tip the glasses towards the camera. It gave a much greater perspective and didn’t distract too much from the object. I am also able to edit the photo much easier later on (our next tutorial).

15) In last weeks tutorial I explained that using a DSLR camera would produce a greater image than a compact camera. That is not to say you can’t use a compact if that is all you have!

As an experiment I took a photo of the sunglasses using both a compact camera and a DSLR camera.

You will notices how the photo taken with the compact exposes a lot more shadow than the DSLR. It also looks a lot flatter and less defined than the DSLR image.

Now that we have our photos its time to edit them using an image software such as Photoshop or GIMP. In our next tutorial we will look at a variety of photos from our shoot and show you how to edit your images to achieve the best photo for your store. We’ll also look at some common issues (photos looking too blue, or yellow, slight marks on the objects) and show you how you can correct them in an image editing software.

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