Photographing with a White Background

This is a story of jumping through hoops – that someone else might find useful etc.

So anyway, as part of the byzantine process required to sell Things You Make Yourself on Amazon, you need to have photos with pure white, #FFFFFF backgrounds… which I’ve found incredibly hard to do.

If you simply plonk your subject on something white, then photograph it, you wind up with something like this:

Which is a long way from white.

So I messed around for ages, with varying degrees of success… having figured out (or more accurately, having being told by the internet) that what I needed to do was have the subject in front of a white background that is separately lit… while the subject is kind of shady, so the background blasts every pixel out into over-exposure, and the subject is… well, nicely lit.

I don’t want to spend thousands on lamps though, and they’re a hassle to carry about, so I tried this:

… which kindof works, and kindof not… so I’ve finally stumbled across something that I think I might make into a “thing” out of acrylic. A folding laser-cut thing. The shambolic version looks like this:

The subject is on a glass sheet, which is floating (on glasses) above a white sheet, with the sun on it. The subject is in the shade.

One of the legs of the tripod is craftily jammed under the sofa so the camera can point straight down

In addition to this, it needs a diffuse reflector at the back, and small wall (or box) to cast shade in the front…

Which actually works pretty well:

Which can be de-shambleized to look like:

The reason I’m putting all of this here is that I spent hours and hours and hours trying to figure out how to do it. It’s still not 100% (for that you would need a bunch of lights) but it is good enough for Amazon – who will shrink it anyway.

So I think I’ll make a portable one of these – probably out of laser-cut acrylic… although to be fair, there’s not a whole lot of cutting needed… just holes for hinges. Something that looks like this:

Pardon the blessed liberties with the laws of physics… but you get the idea: Hinged bits of clear and diffuse acrylic… and it’s solar powered… which is to say you can only use it on sunny days, in the morning or evening.

Move to California. You know you want to.

1 Comment » for Photographing with a White Background
  1. Well done, Nick. But of course, then you’ll have to photograph the acrylic folding thingy. :)

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  1. […] So I spent this week trying to take proper Amazon-like photos… as documented here. […]