Mistakes to Avoid When Shooting on White Background
White backgrounds provide backdrops for your portrait and commercial photographs. To focus the viewer’s attention on only the product and avoid any background distractions, high-key, or white backdrop photography is used. Whether it’s the ‘infinite white background’ effect or the up-close shots, you can ace them with the right skills and enough practice. You don’t have to spend hours fixing your light and subject placement if you avoid the following mistakes and learn from the mentioned tips.
Avoid Cloth Canvases and Muslins
It is not advised to choose cloth canvases over paper. The seamless look that photographers aim for during eCommerce product photography might get distorted due to the cloth crinkling up. Even with your best efforts, you cannot get all the wrinkles and creases out of your scope.
A paper background is comparatively cheaper and can be stored easily. You can roll it up when done; it is wrinkle-free, heavier, and easier to tear. Paper backdrops don’t need any ironing or steaming before the shoot and they are uniformly colored thus reducing your editing and post-production hassle.
Lighting the subject and the background separately is important. 7-10 feet is the advisable distance for subject placement in front of the white backdrop. If the distance is not enough, the light intending to fall on the background will inevitably spill onto the subject as well. You do not need a halo effect, poor backlight, or the subject to look flat in your photo.
Lighting in two different stages is a mark of perfection. Light your subject and the background separately to prevent unnecessary shadows and hotspots in your photograph. Maintaining space and light during professional product photography prevents shadows from appearing in the background, thus giving a clean finish to your clicks.
When filming smaller subjects or taking close-ups or portraits, small backdrops work wonders. They are easier to set up and cost less. They efficiently fulfil their purpose of filling up the little background space available. But, full-body shots or larger objects require extended backdrops that sprawl across the floor, and the subject can be placed on them.
To make the set-up process handy, don’t hesitate to use clamps, tape, and pins to hold your background together. Plexiglass is your friend while photographing models and heavy products. Place a thin plexiglass layer on the ground over your paper backdrop to prevent any damage. Plexiglass also helps you to solve the depth problem as it enables slight floor shadows and prevents the infamous ‘floating effect’. A small investment like buying plexiglass can improve your outputs considerably and increase your product photography pricing.
Aim for a Well-Exposed Background
Your camera’s screen doesn’t tell you the level of exposure of a photograph. A white background product photography requires bright light to appear white in color otherwise you’ll have a dull grey background. Overexposing the backdrop without mangling with the subject’s light settings gives a bright and presentable white background. The histogram feature is ideal for this purpose. Almost every camera has a built-in histogram under the information section.
A histogram displays the pixel brightness in the form of a graph. The range varies from zero to 255. With the majority of your values clustered towards the right, you’ll have an over-exposed image in your hands. Whereas the under-exposed photographs have left-clustered values. For a balanced and well-exposed click, you need the majority of your pixel-brightness values in the center. Also, the zebra stripe function, though a bit complex, can be used for adjusting the exposure and lighting for your next click.
Outdoors can be Difficult
Flags and reflectors are a must while shooting outdoors. The Sun is a relatively powerful light source and hence it might add complications to the photo set-up. Though natural light works well, studio lights allow control. Make sure the light is stationary and is not changing frequently to make stationary flags and diffusion effects work. Keep in mind that shade and clouds will help you to avoid overexposure.
You’ll soon be a PRO (Conclusion)
To make excellent product photography your premier trait, you need to work on the minute details at the start. White backgrounds due to their versatility and multiple uses are ideal for photography. By carefully treading through the process, you can develop an excellent product portfolio. Avoid the above mistakes and learn from the tips mentioned, to mint out crystal clear and commercially appropriate product and model photographs on a white background.