How to Set Up Your Camera and Meter for a White Background

Product and fashion photographers get requests for images with clean white backgrounds all the time. This is quite a common requirement for catalogs and online stores. With the right lighting technique, you can save a lot of time and effort in trying to clean that background up in post. Photographer Daniel Norton from Adorama shows you the best way to set up your scene to create white backgrounds in-camera:

Use a White Background

Shooting on a white background in the first place will straight away save you loads of time from tinkering with Photoshop. Norton uses the white wall in his studio for the purpose.


Norton uses two Profoto B1X lights placed behind the model on either side, pointed toward the wall. Then, making sure that he doesn’t block any light striking his light meter, he meters the light on the wall at f/8.

metering the light on the background

Next, he meters the light hitting the back of the model and reads it at about f/5.6. This means that the wall is acting as a light source that’s not brighter than the scene the camera is set to capture at f/8. If the background is brighter, it can cause flares in the image and cause the image to appear washed out.

“If this was more than f/8, I need to adjust the background.”

To light the model from the front, Norton uses a Westcott 7 foot umbrella with a Profoto B2 head. He meters the light illuminating the model at f/8 which is exactly what he wanted.

And the results simply turn out gorgeous. The background appears clean white straight out of the camera.

image of model with clean white background

image of model against white background

image of model against white background

This technique saves you valuable time and money, right? When a client is in need of a clean white background, you now know what to do.

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