When it comes to product photography, a pure white background is often one of the more efficient and effective ways to divert attention to your product. Not only is a completely white background eye-catching, but it also doesn’t create any visual noise so it makes your advertisement easier to look at while putting the spotlight on the product itself.
Capturing a product image on a white background sounds easy at first, and in all honesty, that’s not far from the truth. There are requirements to get that perfectly plain background, and sometimes this isn’t exactly achievable. The question is, how do we hit those requirements? And what happens when we can’t?
What are the benefits of having a pure white background?
Other than the previously mentioned benefits of white backgrounds being eye-catching and highlighting your products, there are a whole lot of other reasons as to why you should be using a white background to help capture your best eCommerce photography.
For new brands and businesses, white backgrounds are the best way to start picking up traction. Not only are they the most professional-looking, but it’s easier to keep taking consistent photographs for your brand. If you were just starting out and all of your product photographs were styled differently, a consumer might not link the product to your brand. The level of consistency might also develop the trust around your products. Any products that don’t follow this level of consistency – or if you had differently styled photographs taken and one product was of lower quality – might be seen as a lower quality product and therefore ignored.
Additionally, white backgrounds appear cleaner. Think about how different colours have different meanings; the colour white evokes feelings of safety and purity, along with other positive emotions that can help make your product seem more attractive.
The setup to create your pure white background will be different depending on the type of studio that you’re working with. There are, however, pieces of equipment you will always need:
- A white background
- A white base surface
- One or two studio lights with modifiers
You may also want to use a tripod for stability, and occasionally a window mask or flags to help combat flare and a reflector. You’ll also want your camera and product of course.
In the case that you are photographing a small product in a small studio with little lighting, you may only need a single studio light to light up the background in a clean way. To begin with, hang the white background up and place your product on the white base surface atop a table. A single studio light should be hidden under the table, invisible to the camera and pointed at the white background. This illuminates the background and creates a clear white image. In scenarios where you need to illuminate the space more, a reflector can be used with the studio light, also hidden from view, to create a larger spread of light.
When your product is larger, chances are that you’ll need to use a two-light set up in a larger studio. The concept here stays the same, but rather than placing one light below a table, you should place two lights to either side of the object, again out of view. Placing them to the side of the product with reflectors ensures an even spread of light on the background, creating that pure white effect.
When a physical pure white background can’t be achieved
Of course, there are going to be times when a pure white background isn’t achievable by using physical props. This could be due to the type of product you’re selling, or because of the environment that you’re photographing in. In these situations, maybe your product is too large to photograph in a studio, maybe one section of your photo is darker than the other or maybe your product is entirely digital.
You’ll be pleased to know, however, that all is not lost. There are ways to create that perfect white background using white background editing with post-production software such as Adobe Photoshop or Lightroom. If you’re unsure which one suits your needs the most, check out our blog on Photoshop vs Lightroom to find out which one is better for you.
How to make a white background in post-production
When creating a product photo for a digital product, placing it on a white background is as easy as just leaving the background white to begin with, but things are a little different when working with physical photos. How difficult creating a white background is when using post-production software is entirely based on how well you took your physical photos, that is if you managed to take any at all.
In instances where you simply need to correct the colour of darker corners or sections of the background, your job might be as simple as painting those darker sections white. However, in the case that your entire background needs replacing, you might need to cut your product out of the image and create an entirely new background.
Post-production is a necessity no matter how you plan on taking your photograph. Whether you need to correct your white background or not, post-production is necessary to fix any shadowing issues or colour correcting necessary on the product itself, so regardless of whether or not your background is fine, this is a step everyone will take.
Alternatively, Splento offers photo touch-ups for as little as £0.49 per photo.
White backgrounds for product photography are a great way to boost your eCommerce. As you might realise, photographing and editing products on a white background isn’t so difficult. But if you have hundreds or thousands of products to photograph then the challenge becomes scale and you may need to call in outside help.
However, if you decide to go down the DIY route, then use these tips to create and edit a perfect white background for your products today.