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Product Spotlight: Smith-Victor Imagemaker Light Tent Kit
Here is an under-$100 investment will pay back in increased eBay auction sales and higher bids.
Studies show that products sold on eBay and other Internet auction sites sell more easily, and for higher bids, when they are photographed properly. The good news is that even if you are snapshooter with a simple compact digital camera, the tools exist that allow you to get the kind of pictures that help you sell more stuff for higher bids on eBay.
The problem for many eBay entrepreneurs is that they place their product on any old surface and photograph it with their compact camera, lit only by the camera's on-board flash. Then they wonder why people aren't lighting up the bid counter. If you are keen on selling goods on eBay and other Internet Auction sites, and the only camera you own is a digital compact, a light tent is a great way to get good, even lighting that shows details of the item you want to sell clearly.
Since you can't easily set off-camera flashes from your compact digital camera, a tent that is lit with a continuous light source, and an inexpensive tripod to keep your camera steady. One such tent is included in the Smith-Victor Imagemaker Light Tent Kit, an all-inclusive eBay photography lighting setup currently available for $94 at Adorama.
The Smith-Victor Imagemaker Light Tent Kit consists of a 20-inch light tent and carrying case, white and black cloth backgrounds, a pair of 10-inch aluminum reflectors, a pair of 26-watt Fluorescent 5000k spiral lamps, and a couple of tabletop light mounts. At the Adorama price of $94, this is a complete shooting setup for small to moderate-sized objects. Make sure your camera can focus to a foot or closer, depending on the nature of the object you are photographing, and fill the frame with it.
Related reading at the Adorama Learning Center: How To Use Auction Mode
Using the light tent is simple: Open it up, and place it on a tabletop with the two light units on either side, shining the light in. Turn off all other lights in the room. On your digital camera, turn off the flash and change the White Balance (WB) setting to Fluorescent. This will give you accurate color balance. Place the camera on the supplied Smith Victor 7.5-inch Digipod to keep it steady, and you're ready to shoot.
Because the light is steady and is not a flash, you can use your camera's LCD monitor to see what the end result will look like. The light bounces around in the all-white environment for a pleasing, open lighting with no shadow problems. Details even on dark surfaces should be visible.
If you want a grey, blue, red or other color background, you may also wan to buy the Smith Victor 20x40 set of 5 background Paper Sweeps, available at Adorama for $10.85, or the Smith-Victor 5-set Cloth Sweeps for $14.95. Both are designed to fit with the Smith-Victor Imagemaker Light Tent Kit and can be easily swapped.