Solid tips for a Solid White Background

You may have noticed the industry standard of shooting product images against white. Here are some pointers for you to consider as you set out to make your own photos for your e-commerce marketing platform.

  • There may be a misconception that fancy gadgets are the way to go. In fact, you don't need a fancy, expensive DSLR camera to take great photos. Perfect product photos can be absolutely taken even using just an iPhone 5!

  • Sunlight won't be required at all. For product-only photos one can literally snap the photos in a dark room. In the case of lifestyle/in-context photos - one is dependent on the natural light, rendering consistency in light difficult on images. You can snap a winter jacket against pure white background at any time - however, taking a snap outdoors would be contingent on the weather and environment.

  • As great as the photography might be, they will require editing using photo editing software. They are not usually perfect looking from the start, so don't expect that to be the case. As for photo editing software, no need to limit you on Photoshop, as there are alternate great free ones you can use - and are free!
  • Now, you may wonder why to use white as a background when you can introduce rainbow colours or the combinations of your logo? Colourful is fun, peppy and uplifting, right? But placing your product on a white template gives you the advantage of your brand having a more consistent look. This is indeed professional and captures trust of the buyer. Secondly, the action presents the product with the least distractions. Online shopping is common, hence people want to view an accurate picture of the item being delivered to them. Lastly, photos of white background are media friendly - means they can be featured on a wider range of sites, magazines, or popular blogs. There are magazine/blog editors seeking cool goods to feature, ideally on white so they can be included without doing tons of editing.

    Check these out for having the basic equipments for an effective shoot.

    Lightbox - this is made with a white see-through material to allow for light to shine through, but softens direct light for minimal shadows. This can be made using a cardboard box and white fabric.

    Clamp lights - these can be found in home stores. About three can be used for the shoot. Each should ideally have a 100 watt daylight light bulb.

    Camera - that allows you to configure settings, and an optional

    A Place for you to set up and clamp on the lights and you are all set!

    So the idea is to manage a bright, white background that creates a high energy, happy, and distraction free scene. That brings us to the concept of ‘high key photography’ - technique of using unnaturally bright lighting to blow out most or all harsh shadows in an image. Such methods were originally developed as a solution to screens that couldn't properly display high contrast ratios. Eventually it has developed into more of a stylistic choice….ideal for showcasing your branded products that are elegant. Positive or upbeat tone is usually expressed by high key images. This method is perfect for a subject that is funny, lighthearted or beautiful.

    To create remarkable high key images, the following tips may be useful -

  • The subject should be positioned in the center of the backdrop and make sure to keep the shot's frame within the bounds of the paper so no gaps are showing. Next setup a key light and a fill light. The key light is off to one side and is your main source of light has on the subject. Make sure the lighting on the subject is fairly flat. Making a contrast is not the point but to leave brightness throughout. Placing the key light to one side will likely leave harsh shadows on the opposite side of the subject. Here you setup a less bright fill light to smooth out some of those areas. Shooting with only these two lights will produce a gray background. By using one or two lights angled and pointed at your backdrop, you can eliminate these shadows.
  • Lets say you have a lightbox with a white background. Yet a white background without light appears grey in the photo. Here comes the power of light! By completely overexposing your background without overexposing your subject, you can easily get a solid white background. This is by allowing much more light on the background than on your subject; about 16 times more light (or four stops of light) works well. Sunlight can be a powerful tool here - you can let this free light fall from the back. Exposure compensation can be applied to expose the subject fully. The camera will capture the background as solid white.
  • Another simple method to achieve a bright background is to light it with an off camera flash. Simply move your model/subject four to six feet away from your background and hide a flash behind your model. This flash will face the background. When the photo is snapped, the flash will light the background to overexpose it and make it appear completely white.
  • Overexposing high key background too much can wash out the picture. Balancing light is the key here. To get it right, background light can be started at its lowest power and you may increase it one stop at a time until the background is barely overexposed.
  • No matter how your background turns out to be, remember there is also the cool option of post-production edits on those great snaps