In part one, I discussed a few different options for product photography. Here, I’ll focus on taking a good photo against a white background. That’s what I’m (fairly) good at, and I think that’s where most people have trouble.
I use a homemade light box, a tripod, four adjustable lamps from IKEA, and daylight bulbs.
Three of the lamps have 100 watt daylight bulbs, which is often enough. If there are harsh shadows, I’ll also turn on the 60 watt lamp to add a little overall illumination. The light box is a clear plastic container with some fabric batting wrapped around it to soften the light. The white background inside is just a piece of poster board.
Getting the Picture
As I mentioned in part one, I am not an expert photographer by any means. I am however, quite good at Photoshop.
Here’s my photo straight out of the camera.
It’s not great, but it’s as good as I get. The colors are actually accurate, even if the photo is too gray. The tungsten white balance on my camera is the best for me, but you’ll have to experiment to see what works for you.
Next I adjust the levels in Photoshop. I always try “auto” first, but sometimes you get a pretty bad result (like the photo below).
By adjusting the levels manually, you can get the photo looking pretty good.
The photo won’t blend seamlessly into a white background yet though – the edges are still a little gray. See where I scribbled with pure white below?
Here’s what I do. I use a white paintbrush to go all the way around the edges. This way, I know the edges will be pure white. Here’s what the photo looks like with the levels off:
Next I go in and blend the edges a bit with the paintbrush set at a lower opacity. I use a Wacom Tablet, so I have pretty good control over the brush. If you’re using a mouse, it’s a little harder to be accurate, so it may help to select your object with the lasso or make a work path with the pen, and then select the inverse so that you’re only working on the background.
With the levels turned on again, here’s the finished photo:
I hope you found this helpful! If you’d like to try a different technique, there are a ton of tutorials out there. Lindsay Landis also wrote an excellent guide over at The Switchboards. Happy photo-taking!