Wednesday, March 27, 2013

How I Shoot the KEH Product Photos

Todays post is from the KEH product photographer, Deborah Hodgin. She typically shoots anywhere from 200-300 items a day, primarily for our eBay store.

Lets start with gear. I shoot with a Canon EOS 50D paired with a Canon EFS 18-55mm 1:3.5-5.6 lens. The lens has a Canon EW-60C shade on it, and the hot shoe mount has a RPS Studio Series II remote attached. The settings always stay the same since the studio stays set up the same, and there are no windows with changing light conditions in there. Mine are set on ISO-100, aperture-25, and shutter speed-60. My off-camera gear consists of 2 Calumet light stands, 2 Travelite 750 speed lights, 2 Photoflex white umbrellas, and a RPS Studio Serries II receiver.

The basic set up is a table with a white backdrop coming down the wall and across the table creating an “L” shape. Attaching the umbrellas and speed lights to the light stands, I have placed one on either side of the table (as shown in the picture below). One speed light is set to go off when it sees a flash, while the other has the receiver attached. The remote goes on the hot shoe mount of the camera, and I’m ready to shoot!

The main focus when shooting my products is to stay inside the white. When shooting, it should be properly framed when I take the shot to cancel out any extra editing in the post-photo production. I make sure white is the only background in the picture. When I’m shooting larger objects than the space allotted, then editing can whiten out the space past the backdrop, but it will take more time and won't look quite as clean.

Depending on what I’m shooting, there may be issues with glare. This is a state of preference- I personally prefer cameras and lenses to be free of glare, as I feel this creates a sleeker look. There are tents you can buy to prevent glare, but I have built my own using white paper. It must be regular paper to allow the light to still come through. Card stock will be too thick and block the light.

Post-production is very simple since I use a droplet that has been created (In Photoshop, you can create a droplet with presets that you can add to every photo.). I simply select the photos I have just taken and drag them on to the droplet icon on my desktop. Photoshop does the rest for me. The presets I use on my droplet are open file, auto color, unsharpen filter, and close file. Unless I have to edit for going outside of the white background, I’m then done!


  1. Excellent. I have always had my problems photographing my photo equipment. Really good insight.

  2. post process? this should be an untreated view of the product being sold.....

  3. @Anonymous- Nothing on the object itself is post processed... If you look in the last paragraph, in the overall photo the color may be slightly adjusted to get it correct (with auto color), but that's it. The only other thing she mentions is the white background and how she shoots it so that she doesn't have to do anything to it in post (such as cropping).

  4. Seriously? In this day and age of digital photography someone has to bring up the argument against post production? When you take a photo, the camera is editing already. You can use 5 different camera bodies and they will come out slightlyt different out of the camera. Even in film days you have editing with exposure, white balance, and crop adjustments. It's not like she's adding aliens and rainbows flying out of the lens. Sheeesh.