So when you first start out with an ecommerce store, photography is one of the things that scares people. Either they are worried about the cost of a professional or the cost of a new camera. I went through when I first started selling online and let me tell you, I made a ton of mistakes. The first one was buying a DSLR camera when I had no clue how to operate it. Don’t make that mistake. Either get a point and shoot camera (I use this one or just use your smartphone. I say this because if you are not learning to shoot in manual mode, the money will be wasted. The camera I link to, has great auto white balance, low light levels and is super easy to use in both auto and allows you to learn manual mode as well.

Ask any photographer and they will tell you lighting and composition is the most important thing. I am not going to pretend this will replace a professional photographer but given that these are very simple types of shots, mainly for listing on Amazon or your own online store, getting a clear shot is most important. In that case we need good soft light to make this work. IN the video below I show you how to set this up, and if you prefer to read, I explain this below the video.

Making the lightbox

This set up consists of items you can purchase from Amazon, Walmart, Home Depot, Lowes or any store that sells these household items. All of this together probable cost me less that $60 and can be used outside just this type of set up.

Feel free to substitute, mix and or match any of the items above. The great thing about this arrangement, is you can store everything in the tub when you are finished. Also, because very little of the items are uni-taskers, you can re-purpose them.

You need to make sure you get a frosty looking tub. The reason we use the storage tub, is because when you shine a light through the tub, the material diffuses the light and makes it very soft on your products. The tub takes the place of diffusion material that you normally buy in a light box or things like white cloth. Nothing to tape, nothing to break or tear.

Next are your lights. It is important that you get the proper color temperature lights. If you look at the lights in your office or your house, you will see these lights are very yellow or orange.  But take a look outside and you will

see the outside sunlight is very blue. We measure light in Kelvin. Outside light rubs 5000 – 7000 Kelvin and is very blue. Inside lights run between 2,500 and 3,500 kelvin and are very yellow. I recommend getting daylight balanced lightbulbs for your product photography. Several reasons, I find it to be more flattering to products. Also, I find the cameras we use (smartphone, point and shoot or DSLR) tend to like daylight better than yellow light.

Finally, as a backdrop, plain ole poster board is what I use. The same stuff we used for our science fair projects. You can use white but I also like using colors if you want to make a statement or contrast what you have. The pack above has a ton of colors for you to use. I had a colleague who used blue and red backgrounds for his eBay listings.

Once you are set up, its key to shut off the other lights before you get started. You don’t want to mix light sources as it gives everything a very odd pall. Yes, you might be working in the dark, but this will make your photography that much better.

Finally, don’t be scared to edit your photos. I have photoshop but even something like will help you edit your photos. So the photos below you will notice, some of them I removed the background and just made it pure white. Great if you are selling on Amazon. You will also see one where I use a piece of  black poster board and you will notice how the colors really pop on it. Poster board is cheap so feel free to experiment. Realize that this won’t necessarily work for larger items but small items that need photographs, this works great. See some examples made with a lightbox below.


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