Tutorial: How to Photograph a White Product Against a White Background

Shooting products against a white background is popular these days, thanks to the boom in online shopping and marketplaces. But proper exposure and focusing become difficult when photographing white products against a white background. David Patino shares a few tips to overcome this challenge:

Setup for Product Photography

Patino uses a simple white reflector mounted on a C-stand to work as the white background for the shot. A flagged Profoto monolight illuminates the background to create the overly white background. He positions the monolight just below the product and aimed directly at the background (reflector).

A piece of Plexiglas held in position by two C-stands serves dual purposes. First, it’s a platform for your products.

setup for photographing products on a white background

A setup for photographing white products with a white backdrop

Second, the Plexiglas separates the product from the background. Two light heads (softboxes with grid) on either side take care of the lighting requirements.

Technique for Shooting White Products on White Backdrops

Patino first uses only the two lights on either side of the product to perfect the exposure on the subject while keeping the background light out of the equation.

black background product shot

With the background light turned off, the backdrop appears black.

You might wonder why the background looks so dark. The grids on the two softboxes on either side of the product prevent light spill.

Now the background light is turned on.

side lights and background light for product photography

The background light brightens the backdrop.

As you can see, absolutely nothing has changed, not even the exposure settings. Just that the background light was turned on. The exposure is good and there is a lot of detail in the roll of paper towels.

With the background light now turned on, it’s possible to control it independently of the other two lights and therefore control the brightness of the background.

Now that the scene is set you can change things around. So, if you need a moody result, you can simply turn off one of the secondary lights.

moody paper towels product photo

One side light is turned off for a moodier feel.

There you have it. An easy way to control the lighting of your images. The key to shooting white products against white backgrounds is to ensure that you have a way of controlling the background lights and the front lights independently.

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