As an eBay seller, you know that good photos can seriously affect the income you make from the products you’re selling. Your customers don’t want to buy something if they don’t feel like they are actually getting a good look at it. To get good eBay photos, however, you need good lighting.
How do you get good lighting for eBay photos? By using your light source and light modifiers to create exposed photos without harsh shadows in order to produce a clean, clear image of your product. You can do this by investing in light studio equipment in order to have total control over the lighting, exposure, and shadows when shooting your eBay product photos.
Investing in a light studio can mean one of two things – you can buy quality lighting equipment in order to produce the best results, or you can DIY your own light studio with things you can easily find around the house or at the dollar store.
We’ll walk you through what type of equipment you need, what each piece does, and how to set it up in order to get the best lighting for your eBay product photos.
Buying and Using Quality Lighting Equipment
Purchasing quality lighting equipment, while sometimes expensive, will produce the best results for your eBay photos — you’ll have more control over the lighting conditions which will result in better product photos.
The type of equipment you will need is:
- Light stands
- A light modifier like an umbrella reflector or softbox
- Light bulbs
- A backdrop stand
- Cloth background of a solid color (preferably white)
Sometimes, you can even find a kit with all of the products you need.
Quality lighting equipment allows you to control all the elements when taking your product photos for eBay. You’ll easily be able to adjust the light source, alter shadows, and reduce distractions with a clean background.
What Each Piece of Equipment Does
It is important to know what each piece of your lighting equipment does so you can have a better understanding of how to set it up for your eBay product photos.
Light stands simply hold your light bulbs and your light modifiers in place. Most of the time, you can adjust their height and the angle of the light bulb/modifier. Your backdrop stand holds your backdrop cloth in place.
This is particularly important when shooting your eBay product photography, as you don’t want details of your products to be obstructed by dark shadows.
One key difference between softboxes and umbrellas is that softboxes help control the shape and directionality of your light better than umbrellas, and they easily mimic window light. Softboxes are attached to the front of your light source and have the light shown through them.
Photography umbrellas tend to be a more economical option, and they generally come in two forms: shoot-through umbrellas and reflective umbrellas. Shoot-through umbrellas are translucent and have a light source shown through them, facing the object (similar to softboxes). Reflective umbrellas are mounted behind a light source, with the light source pointing away from the object and into the umbrella.
How to Set Up Your Lighting Studio for Your eBay Product Photos
The first step to setting up your lighting studio is hanging your cloth background on the backdrop stand. This gives you a clean, bright background to photograph your products on, focusing your customer’s attention on the product you are selling. It also gives you a good starting place for setting up the rest of your lighting equipment.
Your cloth background should drop onto the floor or a table so that it extends forward towards the camera. This way, you’ll be able to place your eBay product on a completely white background and foreground to minimize distractions.
Next, you’ll want to attach your light bulbs to your light stands. After getting your light bulbs secured in their stands, place your product on the background cloth and start adjusting the height of your lighting, the angle of your light bulbs, and the distance of your light source from your products
After setting up your light source, put together your light modifiers (either your softbox or your umbrella). They will connect to your light sources.
Once you have it set up, you’ll need to do some additional adjusting with the light source and your light modifiers to reduce the shadows on your product to your liking.
The closer your light is to your product, the more exposed your image will be. The exposure of your photos affects how light or dark your images will be. You want your eBay product photos to be bright enough that they produce contrast between your product and your background, but not so exposed that you bleach out details from your products.
When adjusting your light source, it is best to already have your camera set up where you want it — meaning what height you want it at and how far away you want it — so that you can see how different adjustments to your lighting affect the shadows and contrast from the viewfinder. A tripod is an extra camera accessory you can purchase to make this step easier.
It may take a couple of tries, but adjusting your light source and modifiers are the key to getting good lighting for your eBay product photography. Adjust the height of the stand, the angle of the light source, and the distance between your object and your light source to find optimal conditions.
Through your camera lens, you want to minimize shadows as much as possible and illuminate the product so your customers can see details. Take a couple of test photos with your camera for an easy way to see if the positioning is correct.
Once you have your lighting set up, snap away!
DIY-ing Your Own Light Studio for eBay Product Photos
If you’re working with a smaller budget, there are ways to DIY your own light studio.
- A roll of white paper
- White foam board
- A table or chair
- A window with ample natural light
You’ll set up your DIY light studio in a similar way to assembling a lighting studio with more professional equipment.
Your window will serve as your light source, so you want to position your table close enough to the window that the light shines on your product. Just like with your professional backdrop stand and cloth background, you’ll want your white roll of paper to cover some of the foreground in addition to the background.
The white foam board will serve as your light modifier. You can hold it and position it to reflect the light from the window onto your product to soften the shadows.
Unlike the umbrella or softbox modifiers, you’ll need to hold your foam board below the light source in order to reflect it onto your product. Try holding it below your product, in front of it, and from different sides in order to find the best position with the least amount of shadows.
Again, a tripod or table to set your camera on may be a helpful accessory to have in order to adjust your lighting better. Take a couple of photos and make any adjustments necessary.
Editing Your Photos for the Best Lighting Results
Even if your lighting isn’t perfect in your eBay product photos, most of the time you can make a few small adjustments in editing to produce the results you desire. You don’t need any fancy editing software to touch-up your eBay product photos — most phones have the options you need to edit your photos for eBay easily.
When editing your photos, you’ll want to assess the brightness, contrast, exposure, highlights, and shadows (all features iPhone photos allow you to edit without any additional apps or programs). You want your eBay product photos to be clear, crisp, and detailed.
Increasing the brightness of your photo will increase all of the tones equally, whereas increasing the exposure has a greater effect on highlights in the image.
Adjusting the highlights in your image will increase the highlight details while adjusting the shadows will alter the details that appear in the shadows.
If your photo is dark, increase the brightness, and then try increasing the exposure a bit. Don’t over-expose your photo, however. You don’t want to bleach out the details of your product.
What are the characteristics of a good eBay product photo? Good eBay product photos show the object and all details clearly. Your product should be featured on a simple background and from all sides and angles. Include any photographs of imperfections, as well. Finally, your product photos should also show the scale of your product.
Can I take good eBay product photos with my cell phone? A quality camera will give you better results, but it is possible to quality photos from your iPhone. Just be sure to keep your hand steady when taking a picture, and still use the lighting techniques listed above to produce the best results.