Swedish product photographer Martin Botvidsson recently published a video demonstrating how to shoot one of the most requested type of product photography – white products on a white background and takes us step by step through the process.
On this 20 min, video Botvidsson demonstrates how to take a picture of a white product on a white background which is somethi9ng many clients need for online shops/catalogs etc. What is particularly nice about these setups is that if you have several white products you might be able to shoot them in succession (depending on the specific products of course) without changing the setup too much. Yeah, this isn’t the most exciting type of product shot but – if it pays the bills then this is something that you need to know how to do.
The setup that Botvidsson is showing in this video is really super simple – white background (basically a roll of Savage Translum, Heavyweight Grade mat plastic backdrop) with a single daylight strobe shooting with a 5D IV camera and a 35mm lens (although you can use a longer focal length if you want – depending on the perspective you a looking for) shooting tethered into a computer.
The ISO as always is the lowest (typically 100 depending on the camera) and the aperture of f/11 (the shutter speed changes of course depending on the flash but is typically 1/200).
Botvidsson tries to be just on the edge of having blown highlights in his image, not really having too much blown out in a way you can’t really recover but enough so you will not need to push the image too much in post and create artifacts.
light positioning is maybe the most important thing. If you light the product and not the background (again we are talking about a single light setup) then you will get a grey or even black background – this isn’t what you are looking for in this type of shot. So you will need to have the softbox above the product in a slight angle where most of the softbox is behind the product (unless you have a very big softbox) and the product gets some light but the background gets enough of it to stay white.
If you want your product to pop a bit more you can use some blackboards/flags and put them outside the frame on the sides and it will give a few shadows to the sides of the product. If you want to make a more impressive image you can shoot several similar images with the flags in different angles and create a composite (you can open all images in stack in photoshop and with masks and some gradient and brushwork add a little bit of punchiness to the image.
It is also worth checking out Karl Taylor’s videos on shooting black products on black backgrounds and white products on a white background in this article. You can find many more product photography related videos on our dedicated product photography on our technique section.