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How to decide for a background for your product images

Creative Lighting & Backgrounds: do you have a plan how to use your product photos?

Product Photography

In many cases it is desired to have the product on a pure white (RGB ffffff [255,255,255]) background or on a black background if the product fits that color choice.

Grey-ish backgrounds are also called natural white backgrounds and the degree of grey varies strongly — from a super light grey to darker shades of grey.
Wait,… is Natural White not supposed to be pure white? In theory you can photograph (in-camera) an object on a pure white background — what is required is a strongly lit white background or a back-lit background — not a problem, however, you can achieve the same white result easier in Photoshop.
You need a lot of light power to make that background pure white in-camera and avoid color spills along the edges while having every single pixel at the edges as a pure white as well.
Often, Natural White is considered not 100% pure white but light grey or ‘almost but not perfect’ xFFF white.

A light-grey-ish background is often considered a little more neutral and often works great with the object itself — it doesn’t look so much isolated.

What background should you choose?

That depends on where you want to use your product image. For eShops it is mostly PURE WHITE or NATURAL WHITE.

For any website use you could also opt for a colored or styled background that complements the product colors. Or lifestyle product photos.

For product packaging or advertising you should have a plan for your art work — the art director or designer should provide input for the photographer how the images will be used. For example, if you shoot a product on pure white and later that product shall be used on black backgrounds you might have to deal with white color casts / reflections on the product which look authentic for white backgrounds but not right for other colored backgrounds.

Let me know your goals and I can maybe provide variations for the product shot. If you don’t have a designer I can also create art direction for your project and eventually create the artwork.


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