Whether it be jewelry, posters or a shiny model car, when selling an item online, the better your photograph of that product, the better your chance for a sale. It’s just simple math. If you shoot items regularly for online sales, creating a desktop studio with proper lighting is an affordable endeavor that will save you countless hours in set-up and computer time, and quickly earn your money back with improved sales. In this short B&H Video, Larry Becker provides friendly tips and product suggestions that will improve the shots you take of the stuff you sell online.
The key to a successful product photo is good lighting, and for many non-professional photographers, a constant light source is easier to use than a flash setup. The Impact VA902 Fluorescent Cool Light Two-Fixture Kit is a great solution, as it includes two separate fluorescent lights that feature three lamps each, two 13" (33 cm) reflector dishes, two air-cushioned light stands and two diffusion panels. Each light provides 4500 lumens of daylight-balanced light. You can simply position these two fixtures at 45° angles on either side of a table with white poster board under your product, and you'll have a basic home photo studio. However, you can further soften the illumination by covering the lights with an Impact 13” Diffuser Sock.
To be sure the images are sharp, it’s important that your camera remain steady while shooting. That's why a simple table-top tripod like the Oben TT-200 is useful to have in your arsenal. This model is strong enough to hold a camera/lens combination up to 6 lb (2.7 kg), and it folds down to only 10” (25.4 cm) for easy storage. With its mini-ball head, the TT-200 is able to pan 360° and tilt 90°, and it can reach a maximum height of 14.5” (37 cm).
Distracting shadows often form under and around the products in your shots; however, they can be eliminated with the SP Studio Systems Desktop Shooting Table. Resembling a small folding chair, the SP Shooting Table consists of a curved piece of translucent white plexiglass that allows light to pass below the product, eliminating the base shadow and replacing it with an oh-so professional looking reflection of the product on its translucent surface. The curve of the shooting table also provides a uniform infinity background so you can shoot your product seamlessly from multiple angles.
Taking pictures of shiny items like jewelry can be difficult due to the glare created by reflected light. In these situations, the Photek Digital Lighthouse offers a great solution. It's a collapsible white translucent tent with openings for your camera, which creates a shadowless, reflection-free space in which to shoot your items. White and black removable “sweeps” are included with the Digital Lighthouse, which provide a curved flooring inside the box for a seamless background. Raise your lights or a reflector over the Digital Lighthouse with the Impact 13’ Multiboom Light Stand and Reflector Holder, and a dining-room table can be transformed into a complete in-house photo studio.