So, what happens if you want to offer a white or transparent product? Do you know how to photograph those goods on a white background without losing detail or overexposing it? White-on-white photography may seem to be a difficult, if not impossible, undertaking. While the method has a learning curve, bending light and problem-solving may be enjoyable!
White-on-White Camera Settings
Don’t forget the fundamentals before you begin. Set your white balance correctly based on the light source or shooting scenario. Without this critical step, your white product will become blue or orange. Similarly, your photographs will most certainly seem grainy unless you set your ISO to 100 or 200 and use a tripod. Check that your manual camera settings are appropriate for your product. Shooting at f/16, for example, can produce outstanding detail with most—if not all—of a product in focus, but you may want to use a wider aperture for a softer appearance.
TIP: Set your white balance correctly based on the light source or shooting scenario.
White-on-White Photo Studio Layout
The first and most apparent issue is how to establish a distinction between the white product and the white background. If you light a white product the same way you would a colorful one, you would most likely lose critical detail.
Begin by locating a level table or other raised surface on which to set the merchandise. Then, select a white reflecting surface to position underneath and behind the subject. You have a few options here; depending on whether you want to see the product’s reflection or not, you may use seamless white paper, white foam core board, or white plexiglass. We choose white foam core board since it is affordable and easy to work with.
You will need at least two pieces: using this configuration, place the product on top of one board and put another board behind it, aligning up the edges of both pieces. However, it is preferable to use four or five boards to fully surround the object, except for the “window” through which the camera shoots, and the light shines. Sizing is unimportant; just purchase boards with adequate white space around the object for cropping.
After that, you’ll start sculpting light around the object to make a distinct difference between it, the white surface, and the background.
White-on-White Photography Lighting
The quality of your white-on-white product shots will be determined by your ability to control light. By sculpting light, you will be able to distinguish the white object from the white foam board and create depth in the picture to highlight the item’s distinctive form and texture. Remember that the wider the light cast, whether continuous or strobe, the better to eliminate vignetting.
Instead of directly lighting the object like you would any other product, use indirect light to generate shadows—and with shadows, definition. Place your light source behind and above your camera. Moving the object away from the background and closer to the camera until it nearly falls into darkness, snap a test photo to see where you stand.
Make more lighting changes using your test picture as a guide. The idea is to make the background as white as possible but not allow so much light that the borders of your product are obscured.
Adjust the lighting to your liking, keeping in mind the following basic lighting principles: you don’t want to overexpose products and lose the texture and other details that make the product unique, and you also don’t want to underexpose products because this will compromise detail and make the image unappealing. Take another test shot after you’ve done making modifications.
Create Shadows and Definitions Using Indirect Lighting.
You may have a flawlessly lit product photograph at this time. However, if the front of the product is still a little dark or has an unusual color cast, you may try adding one more step. Place a tiny piece of white foam core or white paper under your camera lens, facing the object. You will notice that the front of the product will brighten as a result of this.
You should now have a white box around the goods. You may have seen or heard of a “product box” or “product tent” being used to produce comparable visuals. Product photography lightboxes and tents work; however, instead of bouncing light off of foam core to highlight the product as we have, photographers utilizing boxes or tents must use many lights in the overall setup. Then they have to spend a lot more time changing the distances between the lights and the product, modifying the power settings of the lights, and experimenting with light modifiers—all to achieve what we did with only one light and some foam board.
When both photography and editing are done correctly, whether you employ a product box or tent or choose the foam core board approach, either procedure may yield high-quality white-on-white product photographs.
TIP: Reducing shadows rather than adding additional light to flatten the picture is preferable.
White-on-White Photo Retouching
After you’ve mastered the lighting and shot your photographs, it’s time to use Photoshop or another sort of editing software, such as AutoRetouch, to erase the background from your images, if desired. Depending on how you opt to light your product, you will have to deal with either strong or relatively gentle shadows. It is usually preferable to eliminate shadows in post-production rather than flattening the picture in the camera by adding more light. Masking the object may make this a breeze.
You may either remove the background yourself or hire a professional retouching business to do it for you. In any case, your final photographs should be as clean and well-exposed as possible.
The rules for photographing white on white are, in fact, extremely loose. You will need to experiment to acquire the desired appearance in your product shots, but the approach explained in this lesson will provide you with a solid starting point. Photographing white items on white backgrounds will be a breeze for you and your team if you’ve mastered the supplies and shooting technique.
The main thing to remember is that the process will seem much less tiresome if you learn to like sculpting and molding light. Spend some time learning about lighting; even if you believe you’ve mastered studio lighting, you could be surprised!