Folksy Ltd

White photo background

How do some of you get that pure white background to your images? Is it a photo editing thing?

I have a pure white background on some of my images (mostly jewellery- haven’t been as successful with prints) I do it by taking the photo against a white background first, with good lighting- getting the best match as possible. On photoshop I make sure the image of the brooch for example, looks the right colours. After that, I duplicate the layer and up the brightness on whatever layer is on the top (at this point the brooch will look bleached out). On that same layer I will use the eraser with a feathered edge to delete a circle over where the brooch is.

There are probably much better ways to do it though.
You could of corse cut around the image and paste it onto a white background, but sometimes that doesn’t give the desired effect.

I use a homemade white vinyl backdrop and diffused daylight white bulbs. The photos always need tweaking though. Mainly the white balance and levels.

I fins the easiest way to do it is use a large roll of white paper as they are cheap, readily available and can be recycled once they become too creased!

Taking the photograph outside on an overcast day makes for great natural lighting!

A small amount of colour correction using photoshop can help to make the background pure “255” white

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Thanks for the replies. I believe I know a place where I can buy rolls of white paper(like kids use)I only have A4 and that’s never big enough. I shall give the suggestions a try.

You could also try FotoFuze a free online piece of software where you can control the brightness of the white background. Has been a godsend at times!

I read an article by a professional product photographer recently that explained exactly how they do it. It is rather technical but explains why we are all constantly falling below a perfect white background.

In a nutshell, the lighting needs to be set and measured using a light meter with the background lit at least 1 f stop higher than the lighting on the product (eg. product at f400 / background at f800) with the product placed so that the light being used for the background does not fall on the product. Aperture, shutter speed and ISO are then adjusted according to the available light. This is an important step because if the camera is allowed to take the shot on auto, it will take it at 80% grey rather than white.

It is a matter of opinion as to whether the product should be placed on white perspex lit from below. Some professionals really, really don’t like removing the shadow the subject casts underneath it, some don’t mind.

Photographs taken as above do not need to be edited in photoshop to remove greyness in the background because the lighting has already done it.

However, as a note of caution, the lighting set up described to me cost in the region of $2000 minimum. A good investment for a professional photographer, but far too expensive for a crafter to justify.

This post is not to say, “Abandon Hope All Ye Who Enter Here” but just to say that on reading it I decided for myself that the “whiteness” of my background was not something that I personally was prepared to go chasing at all costs. I’m perfectly happy for it to be slightly grey, as long as my product is correctly exposed.

Love Sam x

Actually, one of the things that probably helped me the most, in terms of getting (mostly) consistent white backgrounds was changing the background colour that appears around the photo when I’m editing it in the software that I use.

The default background colour of the software was black so that made it quite hard to see with the naked eye whether the background of my photo was truly white or grey. I changed it to white and now when I edit my images I edit them so that the photo background matches the white background of the software so it’s much easier to see when it’s grey or has another colour cast that I need to get rid of.

I agree with Lowri @twinkleandgloomart - I correct any of my backgrounds that need adjusting in Photoshop by creating a duplicate layer and adjusting that, then fading out any obvious ‘joins’ (I personally use the gaussian blur tool, but can see how a feathered eraser would work just as well). If anyone needs a step by step on how to do it, let me know.

Some people do a cut out of the product onto a white background - which is a really tricky, fiddly process. I make jewellery and personally think this technique makes the jewellery look too one dimensional - I like a little shadow as I think it gives some depth of feel. You don’t need much shadow - Lowri, I think, has got the balance perfect.

I take my photos on a sheet of white flexible plastic and always use the same set up - and, because I always use flash I get a pretty consistent look. I also shoot my photos with the camera tethered to my desktop monitor so I can see in, large scale, each photo as it comes out of the camera. However, my husband is a commercial photographer who takes and teaches - to business clients like Harvey Nichols - product photography, so I have help on hand when I get into a pickle, which I do, so I wouldn’t recommend this to anyone unless they had a solid grasp of exposure and using flash (there’s a reason why Folksy and the other site :wink: recommend you don’t use flash - it’s because it’s really tricky to get right!)

If you really want some detailed information on product photography you can take a look at some of the articles/reviews my husband has written - linked below - but despite all the flash stuff my husband can help me do, I still stick to agreeing with Lowri that correcting backgrounds in post is the best option for people like me.

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Thanks for the fotofuze link, Ive had a go and I can actually work it. I think I need to retake a lot of pics and fuze them.

All of the previous replies sound good and I just want to add that you need to avoid sunny weather when taking photos, either indoors or outside. A blue sky and sunshine can have a greying effect on your pictures. I edit photos of my jewellery in Photoscape which is simple to use and is quite basic but seems to do the trick for me.

I use 3 cheap white box canvases and take my photos near a window but not in full sun, or you get shadows. I always set my iPad camera at HDR and edit the photos using the editing tools on my iPad.