Simple steps to take for a perfect white background.

How To Create A White Background For Websites Products

By Lee Kane


I’ve been hard at work recently producing the product photography for a website called kode-store.co.uk. The website sells hair extensions for people to weave on to their own hair. As the website, shop and product pages are white i had to create all the product images on a plain white background. You might think that it's quite easy to shoot a product on a white background but personally i think products photographed on non white backgrounds are much easier to process.

If you want to get the job done with as little work and image processing as possible it's important to have the right setup to start with. The equipment i use is as follows:

  • 4 tripods, 2 for lights and 2 for the backdrop
  • 1 static light
  • 1 flash with diffuser
  • 1 white linen muslin background
  • Photoshop (or equivalent)

For this set up you will need a flash trigger. I use a Kaavie 4 Channel PT-04 Wireless Radio Flash Trigger Control with Transmitter. It was incredibly well worth the money as it has not failed me in the two years i have been using it. I love stuff that's well worth the money! This i attach to my Canon DSLR and Canon flashgun. For the static light i use a 85w 5200k Daylight Spiral Bulb Lamp which i attach to a Lastolite RayD8 head.

Kaavie 4 Channel PT-04 Wireless Radio Flash Trigger
85w 5200k Daylight Spiral Bulb Lamp

For the background i use muslin which produces a clean brilliant white surface. The muslin does crease, but this is not really visible in the image as long as you get the balance of the photograph right. This background is the best option as it is large, affordable and can be machined washed and ironed if required. I drape this over the backdrop support and then over a table.

image ofWhen it comes to the lighting arrangement i found that using an off camera flash and a static light produces better results than using two static lights which is often the most common setup you see. I then place the lighting just in front and to the left and right of the table. This gives you enough light from both directions and minimizes shadows, although shadows, as long as they are not too dark, can be corrected with photo editing software, but the better you can balance the exposure in the shoot is going to save you time in processing so try a few shots first, download them onto the computer and see what works best, as you might find that what you see on the camera viewfinder differs considerably to what it looks like on your computer screen.

image of I could go into the settings i use on my camera for the shots but if like me, you will probably want to experiment for yourself. I don't fuss about too much with the flashgun settings as i'm not so technically minded so i normally leave it on its default settings, i know that will make a few balk but then photography does not have to be rocket science! It's the composition and end result that matters, how you get there is entirely upto you.

However the settings i used for the shot below were:

  • f/stop f/4
  • exposure 1/10 sec
  • ISO 100

As i mentioned before, experiment with your photos, as environments differ and so do the settings, camera, flashgun, opinions and so on. You could for instance set the ISO higher which will enable you to get a faster exposure, or adjust your f/stop to make the the image crisper. So just have a play around and see what works best for you. Ultimately though what you're looking for is your product standing out against the whitest background you can get without over exposing your product.

kode-store.co.uk has over 60 hair extensions and each image has to be processed. You have a couple of options. Option one is to do the processing yourself and the other is to get a company like Pinnacle Media to do the job for you. If you have a large work load then option two offers great value for money and time but if you want to do it yourself then i have created a short video below to walk you through the final stages of creating the product image on a white background.

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