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Author Topic: White background?  (Read 5120 times)

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« on: September 13, 2007, 00:44 »

I've been surfing the Shutterstock forums and came across one fellow who wrote a very helpful post on how to prepare yourself to apply for Shutterstock.  One of the suggestions was to check the portfolios of those recently accepted and also check the top downloads by week to see what's selling.  By doing so i noticed a significant number of photos use a completely white background with a colorful object in the forefront.

Is this something that's done in Photoshop, or is it a white sheet or board that I've seen photographers use?  I'd like to experiment and see if I can shoot such a photo myself.  Any suggestions appreciated.   ;D

« Reply #1 on: September 13, 2007, 00:59 »
Happy to help but you need to give us some idea of the subject you intend to shoot and the equipment you have available.

« Last Edit: September 13, 2007, 01:06 by hatman12 »

« Reply #2 on: September 13, 2007, 01:43 »
In very general and brief terms you can do it either in Photoshop or when shooting.

In Photoshop:
You have to select the object using the pen tool, invert the selection and wipe out the background. Don't try using the magic lasso or tools like that. They aren't anything like accurate enough. This is just about manageable with regularly-shaped objects, though a bit of a hassle. But it's almost impossible with irregularly-shaped objects - e.g. people with hair - though there are horribly complicated ways of doing it (

The advantage is that it gives you a clipping path which you can include with your image and which may, just possibly, make it more saleable.

In camera:
Simpler. Place your object/model in front of a white background and then put enough light on the background to burn it out completely. Make sure that your model/object is far enough away from the background so that you don't get any light 'spill' which ruins the edges. (I have had images rejected for 'poor isolation' when I haven't isolated them at all. They were done against a white background, and I guess I just had it too close.  >:(  )
« Last Edit: September 13, 2007, 01:45 by Bateleur »

« Reply #3 on: September 13, 2007, 10:17 »
Thanks for the advice so far.  As for the type of subjects I think I should start out with something small and easy.  Maybe food dishes and pastries?  Or small figurines?

And as for equipment, just my camera (and a tripod).   ;D  BTW Bateleur, what kind of light do you use to burn out the background?  There's a Ritz Camera nearby here, so if they have lighting equipment I might grab up something depending on what I learn (and need). 

« Reply #4 on: September 13, 2007, 16:48 »
I use Elinchrom D-light 4 strobes with a softbox to diffuse the light. I bump the one on the background up to high enough power to totally over-expose it, though even then it sometimes needs a bit of photoshopping to remove odd marks ... a crease, a spot, a stray fly.

« Reply #5 on: September 13, 2007, 19:36 »
... a crease, a spot, a stray fly.


To the OP -
I use a sheet of white vinyl laid over, and up the wall behind, my bench and sheets of non-bleed art paper (it has no grain and gives relatively grain free shadows) to sit my subjects on. I bounce all my lighting off a white ceiling, in effect turning my whole spare bedroom studio into a giant soft box. In photoshop I use various methods of touchup depending on the subject, my favourite best and fastest I've found is to select the background with the select colour range tool and blast up the levels to get pure white. This method preserves the shadows best. Selecting the shadows and hitting the gaussian blur softens them nicely. Some subjects require pen tool selection, inversion and deleting the background with a white layer beneath. I don't like this method, its time consuming and if I want a shadow I have to create one but sometimes it unavoidable to get a clean isolation. (I also clone out the stray flys and dog hairs ;). Isolations are extremely saleable. Experimentation with what you have available is really the only way to learn, I'm still learning .... Best of luck and have fun.
« Last Edit: September 13, 2007, 23:37 by Tomboy2290 »


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