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Since last fall I’ve been shooting product photography for a company who sells merchandise on ebay. Mostly clothing.  I do about 150 shots per day and only shoot for about 2 hours at a time.  That’s a lot of images in a short period of time.  Let’s do the math  — hm — mmm — a-a-a — that’s an image every minute and 15 seconds!  That means the item has to be presented — put on a mannequin, delinted, pressed — and shot in about a minute.  Why so fast?  Can’t I slow down the process and take some really good images?  Sure I could, but the company won’t pay me to do it.  They want down and dirty, as fast as I can go.

So what’s the process?    I think this is beneficial to know — because almost everyone, including you, wants to sell merchandise on ebay.  And frankly, things sell  better if they are photographed well.

  1. First, find a clean, uncluttered space.  A blank wall on the outside of your house works well or a cleared-off table top.
  2. Make sure it’s a place with good light — available or artificial?  That is the question.  Just know that fluorescent lights can add a green tinge to the photograph.  Incandescent makes things look orange or yellow.  Light in deep shade looks blue.  I actually use flash (3 lights: one item right, one item left, and one pointed straight at the item.  The two off center lights light the background while the main light lights the item.  Same set up for every item.  I do have to make exposure changes on the camera to compensate for black and white items.  But I shoot all the black together and all the white together.  It is the best way I know for fast, consistent shooting.  Available light, or natural light changes too often for a lot of items.
  3. It’s time to dress your item.  Does it need pressing?  Delinting?  The dog or cat hair removed?  Now is the time for that.  Make sure the item looks good — straightened, not hanging skeewampus.
  4. Then shoot.  Make sure your shutter speed is at least 1/60 or you may experience camera blur.  You don’t want that.  You want your item sharp and clear.
  5. Shoot several from different angles.  Choose the ones most flattering.  Duh.