Product Photography

On 06-21-2011 articles, photography

The internet has spawned a whole new style when it comes to product photography. We have all seen the internet shops that have floating items with white backgrounds. Now if you aren’t a photographer you might think that you can accomplish this look without the help of Photoshop, but you are mistaken. Most of the product shots that you see online that have white background have been knocked out in Photoshop giving the illusion that they were indeed photographed that way. The biggest problem with this type of photography is that it uses all soft light and gives the image a very low contrast, flat look. For what? So you can easily knock it out to white in Photoshop? Only if you want to sacrifice the quality of the image!

photo light box

There are hundreds of websites selling cheap products out there that are telling people you can get professional looking photographs on a very low budget. So people are trying to mimic this all white background for their internet store. Whether it is for a internet retail store, selling on eBay and other auction websites. The biggest product that is being pushed are the light box/tents. These started to pop up on eBay quite a while ago. Mostly because all the “Sell on eBay” books were telling people that a good photo would increase their sales. And well the photography industry decided to capitalize on this cheap and “anyone can do it” mentality.

The bad news is this cheap equipment, and “anyone can do it” style, has branched into main stream and big name companies are selling these light boxes, or tent boxes as a professional setup. Know that this isn’t a professional setup for shooting products. It might work if you are selling on eBay, but the quality of lighting coming from these tent boxes is sub-par. They usually don’t even come with actual strobe, just a hot light that you put on the right and left side of the tent.

If you want something professional, throw out that $100 tent box you bought on eBay and more importantly trash those pesky hot lights.

If you are a small business owner, how you stand out from the competition is by being different. So instead of putting out bad photos that have a boring white background, how about throwing in some color backgrounds or some texture to grab the viewer’s attention.

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  1. Charity says:

    So what kind of low budget setup would you suggest for someone like me who sells beads and jewelry online? I have been trying for ages to get really great pictures and yes, I have a light tent. No, it doesn’t work well. But what does?

    • craig says:

      Hi. Charity,
      I suggest you find an affordable strobe setup. You are going to need 3 maybe 4 lights.
      Better to have more lights than not enough. And for other equipment, it all depends on how you are shooting your product. If you are going with white background you will need to setup a “lightbox” set. Usually plexi and white foam core board on sides. I would suggest shooting on something other than white. Maybe a textured tile or even grey paper will work.

    • Karah says:

      Thanks for the help, I put aside a whole afrtenoon to figure this out.

  2. Wimpy says:

    I totally agree. Product photography on a white background is over rated. Wonder what the next internet photography trend will be in the next 10 years. Good photography article!