Help with white background photos

Discussion in 'Commercial/Product photography' started by noahlambert, Feb 9, 2010.

  1. noahlambert

    noahlambert TPF Noob!

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    So I recently started an online retail store and I'm struggling with the product photography. I'm attempting to isolate products on a pure white background but I don't think I am using the correct methods and would love some advice or pointers. Basically I set up white poster board lit from left/top/right with 3 150w GE Reveal incandescent bulbs. I set the white balance on my Canon SD1000 before I place the product in the frame. After I take a few photos of the product I pull it into photoshop and increase the exposure until the white background becomes truly white. This leads to blown out product photos. Can anyone help me out? I have included a few images below and more can be found at www.velexo.com

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  2. y75stingray

    y75stingray TPF Noob!

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    When you edit your photos instead of increasing your exposures to such a high level try cutting out your product with the polygonal lasso. Remember to select a feathered edge when you do this. I use this method along with adjusting the levels of the photo with most of my images.
     
  3. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    You can do this without editing, which is much easier.

    There are probably two issues here.
    First is exposure. When you scene is mostly white, it fools the camera's meter, causing an underexposed photo. You need to dial in some exposure compensation (positive) until the photos are no longer underexposed.

    The next issue may be background lighting. Typically, when you want the background to be white, you need to put more light on it, than you have on the subject...or at least enough light so that it's brighter than your subject. Try adding another light, or taking one your lights and aiming it at only the background.
     
  4. noahlambert

    noahlambert TPF Noob!

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    Hey thanks. I will try out those ideas and let you know how it turns out.
     
  5. Chriss

    Chriss TPF Noob!

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    I just want to put out there that- if your product isnt the same color as the background then you can use the magic wand tool in photoshop to select the background and then fill it with a white color. That should do the trick.
     
  6. Christie Photo

    Christie Photo No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Perhaps a better way to think of this is: Remember... the meter is telling you how to achieve gray... right about 18% of the reflected light. So to achieve proper exposure (while in manual mode), take a reading off something that reflects about 18% of the light... like a gray card.

    For ease of discussion lets use 20%... or 1/5 of all the light. With this in mind, a white background should read 5x the proper exposure, or 2 1/4 stops. So if your gray card is reading f8, the background should read just over f16.

    Some other factors will come into play. With that much light coming off the background, the background itself becomes a light source. So the scene needs to be deep enough (the distance from the product to the background) so it is in balance with the light on the front of the subject. This shouldn't be too difficult with products that are not cylindrical.

    -Pete
     

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