Ahhh that white background in product photos… so frustratingly hard, right? Yet everyone on Instagram is making it look SO EASY.
It’s a look a lot of us try to achieve, but feels really difficult to get right without blowing out the entire photo. So today I thought I’d show you a super quick + easy way to get a white background in product photos.
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Couple notes first:
1 | This process works best on items that are mid to dark in nature; it will not work quite as well for lighter objects, but there are ways to fix that too.
2 | I’m sorry I kind of look like a tool for these flats – they were a bad choice from years ago when they were cool and I thought I had crazy money (read: first job after college) and I’m now selling on eBay, because well… #winefund.
What You Need:
- White Foam Board (3-4 pieces preferred, see my set up below)
- Photo Editing Tool – I used Pixlr for this since it’s free and works perfectly well, but Photoshop works similarly if you’ve invested in the program
- Camera – I use a Canon EOS Rebel T3i, love it and highly recommend if you’re in the market. Otherwise a simple point and shoot or your camera phone will work fine.
- Natural sunlight – find the brightest area in your home near a window or door that has good light, but not direct sunlight. Direct light will cause harsh shadows which we want to avoid
- 30 seconds or less of your time!
- Optional: phone tripod or my favorite long arms phone holder (both under $20!)
Step 1 | Set up your fancy AF photo studio
Yeah, I know what you’re all thinking. I’m spoiled – that’s three, count ’em three pieces of foam board.
It looks a little crazy, but propping up those extra pieces along the sides actually does help to offset shadows and bounce light back onto your subject to get a nice white background in product photos. This helps cut down a lot of time with the editing process. (If you want to step it up to a little bit more of a profesh level, try this lighting set)
And in case you don’t believe me (come on guyyys), here’s a little photo montage to prove it. See how each gets a little lighter and less harsh in shadows?
Photo #1: No white foam boards propped up, just the bottom board
Photo #2: Propped up board along the back
Photo #3: Propped up boards along the back and right side (window/light coming from the left in this case)
Photo #4: After less than 30 seconds of editing. I wanted to say 10 seconds in my title, but felt that wouldn’t be believed…
Okay, now onto the real magic.
Step 2 | Edit with Levels!
- Open up Pixlr or Photoshop.
- Go to Adjustment > Levels
- Under Input levels, grab the box on the far right and slowly drag over to the left.
- Near the up spike, you’ll want to stop before going too far to the left which will start to wash out your product.
- If you need to color correct your product a bit, move the left or middle box just slightly to adjust. Small adjustments of the middle box will likely be the only tweaks needed.
- The “Levels” are adjusting your shadows (left box), midtones (middle box), and highlights (right box).
- It leaves the natural shadows, but in this case they look a little blue-ish under the front of the shoes which I edited with the Dodge & Eraser tools to further polish the image.
Okay, so there is a step 3…. go try it!
Then come back here and let me know how it worked out. I’d love to know and help out if you didn’t see great results.
Related Posts: Repurpose Your Product Photography / Backdrop Ideas for Instagram Photography Under $25 / Product Photography Styling Tips
Looking to step up your photography?
Check out this awesome course from my friend Chaitra about using just your iPhone to take AH-mazing photos. No need to invest in expensive photo equipment, you’ve got everything you need already in your pocket (or probably more likely your hand at this very moment).