White background on flat items


TPF Noob!
Sep 11, 2015
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I do photoshop work for my job and am in a bit of a challenge. Here is some background. We photograph many tabletop style items of all shapes, materials, colors, etc.. As of now, we are limited to 2 strobes. We don't need any real fancy and luxurious type of shots, but just are aiming for all tabletop to have 255 white background with believeable grounding shadows and of course decent overall images without a lot of fine-tuning between different items. The sweep is a sheet of 4x8 white Formica.

Where I am running into an issue is items that are "kits" where there are a lot of flat pieces we take out and arrange for photographing contents. See below metal tools for the example. I do not do the photographing as a freelancer is doing so now. In this shot getting 255 OOC would blowout items. So I am pen tooling all this til my hand cramps up, then inverse selection and finally pull the white point over in curves until the background is 255. Dragging this over does leave some grounding shadow as I just don't pull the white point too far. So in this case the shadow thing is OK, just too much time pen tooling.

But then I need to get the another image(construction kit) to look overall consistent with a white BG too, but the wrappers allow light through so simply doing the above method would result in the "see though" parts of the plastic showing the greyish background prior to pulling the white point and would look very odd(see below). We could take the items out of the bags, but I'd still have a ton of selecting.

I am wondering if purchasing clear plexi and bottom lighting shots like these would work for a multitude of "flat" items effectively. My concern doing this is the time it takes to move lighting around. I suppose the flreelancer could save all these types of shots until the end. Or do you think any of these shots could actually be done without bottom lighting and just the freelancer getting better exposure?

Or does anyone know of another way with only 2 strobes? I have tried color range selection, but it all depends on the items contrast against the sweep and this has proven very hit and miss. Sorry for the long -winded explanation. Thank you!
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I wouldn't use clear plexi, but a white translucent bottom. Google "Light table"

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