How to Take Multiple Product Photos at One Time

JJGames.com sells used video games for retro systems like NES, SNES, PS2, etc and games for newer consoles too. Some of the items are 30+ years old and each one has a slightly different condition. Many of our customers are game collectors and they really care about the condition. The best way to show the condition is with high quality photos.

For many years we've been taking photos of every game and showing them on our website, but that only shows the front side of an item. Many customers want to know what the back side looks like or the top label.

Taking three photos instead of one would triple the time needed to take photos.

How could we give customers more photos, but not increase the time to take them?

We developed a multi camera light box and wrote a program to take multiple high resolution photos at the same time.

We're sharing how we built the light box and we've open sourced the multi photo software so you can do it too.

How We Built the Multi Camera Light Box


View inside 3 camera photo light box with no item


The light box we built only cost $10 for LED lights and $15 for the plexiglass, everything else was free and lying around the warehouse.

It works very well for smaller items like video games, but the same concept works with larger items too with a larger light box or camera mounts and no light box.

  1. Paint the inside of a box white - This bounces light off the walls to eliminate shadows
  2. Buy a sheet of anti-glare plexiglass - This is really expensive at framing stores, but I found it cheap on eBay
  3. Cut a thin strip out of the cardboard half way up both sides
  4. Insert plexiglass into holes you just made
  5. Tape USB light strips on sides of plexiglass - We used double sided tape and two lights pointing up and two pointing down.
  6. Buy high resolution webcams - You want webcams that can take 1980x1020 resolution video
  7. Place webcams in the light box where you want them - Use can use your computer's camera preview tool to line-up the cameras correctly
  8. Take lots of photos

Underside of photo light box with game on plexiglass



Multi camera photo station hooked up to computer running multi-photo program


Basics of the Multi Photo Software

After installing the software, you just double click the program and it takes one photo from each camera you have setup.

You can customize the software to use however many cameras you want. The only limit on the number of cameras is the number of USB ports you have. A 7 port USB hub or two will fix that problem.

You can read the full documentation for the photo tool on Github.

Example Photos Taken with Multi-Photo Tool

Below are some photos taken with the light box and software. The source images are 1980 x 1020 resolution but they only uploaded here at 1600px.


Front of a video game cartridge



Back of game cartridge. Taken through plexiglass



Top label view of SNES cartridge. We need to adjust this camera to be closer.


It works for other items besides games too.


Top of measuring tape



Bottom of measuring tape



Side view of tape measure


If you have any questions about building your own light box let us know in the comments below. If you come up with clever ways to improve the setup, please share them as well.

Best Video Game T-Shirts

We don't sell t-shirts here at JJGames.com but I definitely wear them. About half of my wardrobe consists of video game shirts of various kinds. Here are the ten best t-shirts I've found.


The Last Supper

This shirt makes me laugh every time. Pac-man and Blinky's dinner was so nice until dessert.


Mario Kart Road Rage

Accident investigation and there's a red shell. I love the mario kart reference in a real world setting.


You Died of Dysentery

Dysentery is no laughing matter. I lost more sons and daughters to it in Oregon Trail than I care to remember. Poor John Boy, made it all the way to the Dallas before dying.


Cowbell Hero

Please, Please, Please add more Cowbell to Guitar Hero. Blue Oyster Cult and Will Farrell will be so happy.


Contra Code

Forever ingrained into my brain. Why can't I stop saying this in my sleep!!!


Let It Bii

Two of my favorite things in one t-shirt: the Beatles and Wii. I own the album and the Mii's look pretty good too.


Nintendo Family Tree

So is the Virtual Boy like that Uncle that nobody talks to at the family reunion?


Katamari and Elephant

The elephant and the little guy look friendly enough but don't get complacent elephant; you'll get rolled up in the Katamari once it's big enough.


It's On Like Donkey Kong

Everyone likes to get it on like Donkey Kong every now and then.



Let me know some cool shirts you've seen by commenting below. I'm sure I didn't find all the best one out there.

Patent Troll Sues Nintendo, Walmart, Best Buy........and JJGames


Today we were served with a summons to appear to in court over a patent lawsuit involving the Nintendo Wii. UltimatePointer claims the Wii violates their patents for a "method for controlling movement of a computer display cursor based on a point-of-aim of a pointing device".

UltimatePointer sued Nintendo, JJGames, Best Buy, Walmart, Target, GameStop, Kmart, Sears, and more retailers for "using, selling, offering for sale, and/or importing the accused products" and for "inducing others (including end users) to use, sell, offer for sale" the Nintendo Wii.

It is kind of flattering to be included in the same league as Walmart, Best Buy, and GameStop. Last year they had $422 billion, $50.3 billion, and $9.4 billion in revenue respectively. JJGames had a little over $1 million in sales during 2011.

Walmart is the largest employer in the United States with 1.4 million employees. JJGames has 10 employees.

How many Wii's do you think JJGames has sold in our history........241 and how many have we sold in the state of Texas where this lawsuit was filed? 12. And every single one of them was used.

We sold twelve used Wii systems and we are being sued for patent infringement. This lawsuit might as well have included everyone in Texas who ever sold their Wii on Craigslist or eBay. Every single one of them is guilty of "offering for sale" the "accused product".

Obviously I don't think UltimatePointer should sue everyone who bought and sold a Wii. That would be as successful as the music industry suing individual file swappers. A complete public relations nightmare.

At least the music industry only tried suing users who had swapped more than 1,000 files. The RIAA's threshold for a lawsuit is 83 times bigger than UltimatePointer's.

Hopefully this lawsuit is thrown out as soon as it arrives on the judge's desk.

You can read the entire court filing here.

3D Samus Made From Video Game Cartridges

What do game stores do with the Madden, Shaq Fu, and NFL Quarterback Club cartridges nobody wants anymore? Make video game art.

With 179 worthless or broken NES, SNES, Nintendo 64, Gameboy, and Gameboy Advance cartridges JJGames made a 5.5 Ft x 4 Ft Samus 3D collage (she's the main character from Metroid) .

The cartridges are colored and glued together on a black piece of black plywood. The cartridge Samus is almost exactly five feet tall.

The artwork was created by Blaze Bratcher, a local artist from Denver Colorado. You should definitely check out her work.

Anyone who lives in Denver, CO should stop by the shop to see the piece and checkout the warehouse.

More photos of the Samus video game art:

 

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