eBay Product Photography

My cousin Cassie asked me to about photographing stuff for eBay, so I looked at a couple of lighting kits on the web. The Photoflex LiteIgloo seems to be the best for someone who wants to get decent photographs of small to medium (breadbox) size objects for eBay listings.

It’s relatively inexpensive, compared to what a professional photographer would spend in a commercial studio. It comes with white and blue (for chromakey) sweep backgrounds, to give you that “floating” image without any extraneous background.

I’ve used Photoflex reflectors and softboxes – they are used by many commercial photographers. The reflectors have a spring steel frame that allows them to collapse and pack to smaller sizes – this seems to be the same design the LiteIgloo uses.

Photoflex has very good instructions and a tutorial on using the LiteIgloo.

If you are going to use your Coolpix 4500, you’ll need to use lights that are mounted off the camera. The easiest thing would to be to buy the LiteIgloo Product Kit if the 19x19x19 size is large enough for your use.

Don’t use a skinny extension cord to plug in this setup, it will overheat. You would probably get better results setting the color balance to Incandescent: Shooting Menu – White Balance – Incandescent.

  • A single light is not going to be optimal, but you can try using your Nikon Speedlight. (I don’t remember which Nikon Speedlight you have on the N80 but I know the 4500 can use SB-80DX/50DX/28DX/28/26/25/24/22s). First you need to turn off the pop-flash from the Shooting Menu – Speedlight Opt – Speedlight Cntrl – Internal Off. Then you need to connect the flash to the camera with Nikon SC-18 or SC-19 cord, which are not inexpensive. Then you need a light stand and an adjustable head to aim the light. You can see how it gets complicated.

You can try positioning the single light above and to the left or right of the camera. See the above tutorial for more suggestions and to understand why it gets complicated.

The Tonga Room

We walked up California Street, our goal being the Tonga Room in the Fairmont Hotel. Near the top we passed three guys in a group that had been broken up by the steepness of the hill. The stout guy who was in last place stopped every 10 feet to take a drag on his cigarette.

I thought there was a Trader Vic’s at the Fairmont, but it turns out Vic hasn’t worked there since the 1930’s. The bar at the Fairmont Hotel is known as the Tonga Room and Hurricane Bar.

We sat at the bar while the TV was tuned to the playoffs. TV seems to ruin a lot of bars. I knew the Oak Bar at the Plaza (where there used to be a Trader Vic’s) jumped the shark when a TV appeared at the end of the bar.

I couldn’t bring myself to pay the $7 for the Happy Hour all you can eat “Pacific Rim” buffet (including, chow mein, cheese and crudites). The food looked very tired at 7:00 PM, especially since we were thinking about going to Yuet Lee, a couple of blocks away.

Then the thunder, lightning and rain started.