How To Professinally Light Products On White For Photography

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Items shot with a white background are a classic y’all can use almost anywhere. Read on for the ins and outs of these standard shots.

It’southward common to need to photo an object from time to fourth dimension—usually for web production photos, occasionally for other reasons. Let’southward take a await at the steps for these shots in various situations where you lot need sure looks for the production.

Recently we covered how to create a tabletop mini-studio, the simplest possible option for photographing small objects. Today for my sample pictures I’ll be adding complexities, including external flashes. But there are many ways to light these shots, from cheap to plush, and so take these illustrations as only illustrations.

What You lot’ll Need

Simply like in the tabletop-studio article, I strongly recommend using manual photographic camera way and a tripod to ensure you can repeat the shot while fine-tuning its details. But that’southward it for the photographic camera requirements. If you lot won’t be printing out large posters, nobody volition be able to tell whether you used a meaty or an expensive DSLR. The but cardinal factors are your lighting and the scene mode.

Dust is often noticeable on small items photographed from close up. The more than dramatic your lighting and scene, the more visible the grit, then when using a white background and lighting from the front, y’all’ll hardly notice the dust, but with a black background and lighting from the back, every mote volition be clear. I recommend having a dish towel available for commencement aid.

Harsh lighting from behind nastily highlights every last flake of dust.
Canon 5D Marking III, Canon EF 24-27/2.8, 1/160 due south, F18, ISO 200, focus seventy mm

A Few Bones Tips

Because the depth of focus is modest when y’all focus at short distances, you’ll typically be using high F-numbers, such as the extreme F18 in the picture to a higher place. Even at these numbers, y’all tin can cease upwards with the production not completely in focus, so cull your focus signal advisedly. Usually it’southward best to focus on the front end of the object. You can risk moving the focus point in a little deeper than that, but typically not much more than ane third of the style into the object.

The front of the lens is sharp, but there’s blurring even as close up as the trigger. (This particular photo will only be used as an illustration for a filter holder, so here it doesn’t matter.) Canon 5D Mark III, Canon EF 70-200/2.8 IS II, 1/200 s, F14, ISO 400, focus 130 mm
The forepart of the lens is sharp, but at that place’south blurring fifty-fifty as close up as the trigger. (This particular photo will only be used as an analogy for a filter holder, so here it doesn’t matter.)
Canon 5D Mark III, Canon EF 70-200/2.eight IS II, 1/200 s, F14, ISO 400, focus 130 mm

If you demand a focus that’s beyond the normal limits of what’s possible, then your simply options are a lens with a tilted airplane of focus (a tilt-shift) or software-based joining of shots with differing focus points—“focus stacking.”

My last note here would be: fifty-fifty if yous’re a production photography expert, sometimes information technology’due south best to stick to elementary workflows. For example, personally I don’t employ a white background when I photograph old items I want to sell on the Web. Instead I deliberately take “throwaway” tabletop photos, to make the shots experience as genuine every bit they are, and then that potential buyers don’t retrieve I’ve simply copied a photo from some e-shop.

Against a white background

Just as in the previous article about the mini-studio, fifty-fifty on this larger scale it’south no problem to take a (larger) piece of paper or a foldable plastic sheet—as shown in the illustration. If the sheet is glossy then it besides provides reflections, which tin give you an interesting look. But keep in mind that if y’all’re going to be shooting at a depression angle, a large function of the sheet volition be in the bottom part of the photo, and unless information technology’s perfectly straight, the reflection volition be deformed. But usually the area right around the product is fine, so it’south plenty to simply ingather the picture at an appropriate distance. While this will rob you of part of the reflection, its by and large undeformed upper portion will remain.

You can position lights however yous want and very precisely. Softboxes are generally what’southward used to create soft lighting. Using two softboxes on contrary sides eliminates about shadows and too gives objects a textured await.

A setup with a plastic sheet.
A setup with a plastic canvas.
The resulting photo. I won’t go into camera settings, because they’re not important for this article, and they’ll be different for each picture anyway depending on the lights you use.
The resulting photo. I won’t go into camera settings, because they’re non important for this article, and they’ll exist unlike for each moving picture anyway depending on the lights you use.
The reflection is deformed—especially at the bottom of the photo.
The reflection is deformed—peculiarly at the bottom of the photo.

Depending on the situation, you can also apply a single lite to empasize shadows, or 2 lights at different angles, or a tertiary for stronger lighting, etc.

If you are photographing in a small room, highly reflective objects are a problem. Light that hits the walls (and you, the photographer) is all reflected in some degree back on the object. Nosotros’ll talk nearly fighting that, equally far as information technology’south possible, in a time to come article.

Confronting a white background within a diffusion box

A diffusion box, besides called a lighting tent, is a mutual alternative to the setup in a higher place. It simplifies piece of work with mildly reflective objects, considering it hides surroundings that could otherwise be distracting. (Strongly reflective objects are a problem even with a box.) It’s also nice that yous won’t demand a softbox, since the walls of the diffusion box naturally diffuse low-cal, and diffuse information technology from all sides, eliminating potential bug with nighttime shadows. Although you can’t control light very precisely here, as long as you merely want a simple photo against a white groundwork, you don’t need fine command. Meanwhile y’all can employ almost whatsoever lite and always get a very good-looking picture.

Commercially-available diffusion boxes typically come with both a white and a black background, making them usable in a wider range of situations than information technology tin at first seem. There’s besides a multifariousness of Internet guides to edifice your ain box, so yous tin can hack together an improvised version quite cheaply.

A diffusion box setup.
A diffusion box setup.
The resulting photo. The background is not completely flat, because it was folded for a long time and now contains large creases. Ironing would fix that.
The resulting photograph. The background is not completely apartment, because it was folded for a long time and now contains big creases. Ironing would fix that.

It’southward besides no problem to put a plastic sheet inside the diffusion box to go the benefits of both the box and the sheet.

A shooting tabular array for an even whiter groundwork

A shooting table is a special culling that’s especially useful when you want your background truly 100% white with absolutely no shadows. The standard varieties use a board made out of a translucent material, enabling you to calorie-free through it from beneath.

A scene with a shooting table with three lights.
A scene with a shooting table with three lights.
The resulting photo.
The resulting photo.

In the to a higher place photograph, you can even so encounter the low-cal coming from below. If even that is too much, you tin have advantage of the fact that shooting tables are peculiarly contructed and that for horizontal shots, no pipes or other supports are in the optical path beyond the lath. And then information technology’s easy to supplant the lath with a fully transparent one and use a dissever light to button the illumination back to the background beyond the table (e.g. to the wall).

A shooting table from behind. The bottom is designed to not have any horizontal connectors.
A shooting table from behind. The bottom is designed to non have any horizontal connectors.

Shooting tables, too, can be bought readymade or built at home (a home-built tabular array was used for the pictures here).

A Give-and-take in Closing

That’s it for photography against a white background. If yous have more complex needs, then keep your optics open for our upcoming commodity on more than circuitous backgrounds and effects.

Source: https://learn.zoner.com/how-to-shoot-products-on-white-backgrounds/

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