How To Achieve A White Background In Photography

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posted Thursday, August three, 2022 at 10:36 AM EST

Phil Torres is a name you might be familiar with. He’s an accomplished photographer and scientist who has lived in the Amazon Rainforest and has also doen research and covered science-stories in Mongolia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Republic of peru, Sweden, and the Arctic just to name a few. He has even been featured on shows on Animal Planet, the BBC and fifty-fifty Sesame Street (and many others). While out in the wilds, Phil has the opportunity to collaborate with and photograph some really incredible creatures and in his latest video, shows you how he captures photos of insects (or any bug really) with a make clean white background when you’re out in the wilderness.

As he tells Imaging Resource, “The basic principle is blanketing the subject with a wide, diffused flash to soften reflections on a shiny insect/frog/specimen, soften the shadows, and create a nice, even underglow from the flash being reflected support into the field of study from the white surface below.” The concept sounds simple, and it really is, simply knowing how to consistently achieve proper lighting can be a huge aid when, equally Phil told u.s., “you have limited time in an environment and specimens that are running or flying off the white board.”

“In general,” Phil said. “I have the specimen on the white board, my photographic camera in the right manus, and the diffused wink in the left, adjusting around the specimen as information technology moves.” When shooting, Phil typically uses the following setup and photographic camera settings:

  • 100mm macro lens (I employ Canon EF 100mm macro f/2.8L)
  • f/11
  • ISO 200
  • Shutter Speed 1/250
  • Focus range 0.3-0.5m (keeps the autofocus in the near range then it won’t get searching every bit much)
  • 1/4” opaque white acryllic, 12”x18″

Phil so sets a single autofocus point on the left or right side to frame the eye of the specimin. He wants the eye to always be in focus, and this mode he tin can let the autofocus practise its chore while he does his: adjusting the wink bespeak, brightness, bending, and wrangling the specimen. “If I desire to get even closer,” Like Phil did for the photo of the shining blue/green beetle that’s the highlight of this video, “I use Canon’s MP-East 65mm lens with a twin flash set up. This is the virtually hardcore macro lens on the marketplace and the reason I use Canon. It is a lens that is pretty much merely useful if you’re photographing very pocket-size things like insects or spiders. I put mine to good utilise, simply even on subjects like frogs this lens is besides zoomed in, and a 100mm macro is best.”

“For the MP-E, I can just use transmission focus, so information technology requires moving my head back and forth to observe the crawling beetle, and using my eyes to decide if information technology is in focus or not. It is difficult to see through and has a rather shallow depth of field, so needless to say it takes an incredible amount of practice and patience to use this on a quicker field of study like an ant, but as you lot tin can see in this video the slower weevil behaved rather well for me. I rarely use information technology past the 3x zoom point because the sharpness decreases, only I have seen some remarkable photostacking using this lens at that high magnification.”

Example of what the Canon MP-E 65mm Macro tin produce.

Phil says he often photographs insects in the field, but will apply this technique for a “more textbook or infographic photo of the specimin,” as this blazon of white background photography is being used extensively in biology for field guids and books. “I never go on a hike without a few minor vials to pop a live specimen into and so I can take it dorsum, calm in downward a bit, and endeavour and snag a photograph of it using this fix upward,” he told us. “In the video you lot can come across information technology tin be a challenge to get a specimen to sit down still and this was a adequately docile specimen, just I accept definitely had some fly right off the white lath back into the forest where they belong.”

All images copyright Phil Torres and published with permission.


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