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Optimizing White-Background Photography for Your Apparel

White background photography is a classic commercial photography technique that is both promising and relevant in today’s thriving eCommerce market. Also known as high-key photography, white background photography hits multiple targets when it comes to building your online product catalog – ensuring brand consistency, focusing solely on the product, and creating versatile product imagery that facilitates your multi-channel marketing efforts. 

The simplicity of the white background offers a clean aesthetic with a distraction-less focus on your products. Photographers also appreciate the ease of post-production with white backgrounds, optimizing the turnaround times. There are challenges of course, especially when a white background simply does not align with your brand’s personality or worse – or when you have an unbalanced or spotted white background (more on that later).

Getting a good understanding of white background photography can help you create immaculate product imagery for your eCommerce apparel business. After all, white background photography is one of the most common photography techniques used by eCommerce brands to create impactful and versatile product images. In fact, 76% of over seven million images had their original background replaced with pure white.

This is no surprise, since white backgrounds are also preferred by third-party platforms like Google Ads and Amazon, and investing in high-key photography can help brands use the same high-quality images on multiple platforms. Achieving a white background may appear simple, but it can be tricky when working with apparel and accessories, especially while capturing the colors and textures of the product. Let us take a look at how you can create the perfect white background images for your eCommerce fashion store – 

White Balance is Key

White balance plays an important role in creating beautiful imagery and contrast between the white background and the subject. While many cameras offer in-built white balance settings, having a manual setup is much better to have more control over the final result. In fact, ready-made white balance settings can at times wreak havoc when the readings are inaccurate.

A Kelvin meter can be especially useful when working with white balance manually and can allow the photographer to get the white balance right. 

Understand the Importance of Distance Between Your Product and the Light Source

White background photography can quickly go wrong if the distance between your product and the background is too little or too much. This will result in shadows or flat images, which is certainly not a good look. 

Experimentation is key to getting the right distance between your subject and the backdrop. Methods like flagging can be helpful – flagging is blocking the excessive light from your background using a black object. Background lights can be very bright and may overpower the foreground lights, which is why absorbing the excess with a black surface can help you achieve the right balance. 

Light the Background Properly to Create a Spotless White Background

Getting a perfect white background in photography needs an evenly lit background. An unevenly lit background will most likely create inconsistencies and spotting, rendering disastrous results. Some photographers even use sunlight as a white background, however, in a studio setting, you must use appropriate lighting like multiple strobe lights with the right background surface to create the perfect white background in your images. 

Avoid Over-exposing the Background

One common mistake that often leads to problematic white background photography is over-exposing the background. If you overexpose an already white background, it can result in an illuminated sun-lit effect on your subject which is not ideal for commercial product photography.

You need to make sure that there is the right contrast between your product and the background to direct the eyes to all the beautiful details, colors, and textures that will help your customers solidify their buying decision. It is best to start the background light at a low setting and work your way up to strike the right balance and contrast between the light and the subject. 

Use a Light Meter

In-built camera settings may seem appealing with the uncontested convenience, but working with a light meter and manual settings will help you achieve sharper, accurate images that leave a visual impact on the viewer. Working with a white background requires you to keep the background brighter than the subject, by around two f-stops. A light meter on your camera will allow you to accurately measure the amount of light and help you achieve that perfect white background. 

Use a Lightbox

A lightbox allows photographers to evenly light up your products and render stunning imagery. You can build your own lightbox with a white surface, or you can use one in the appropriate size to create images that focus on all the details of your products and evenly light up everything that needs to be in focus. 

Understand Whether You Actually Need a White Background

Using a white background is tempting because of its ease and versatility, but it is not the best choice for every eCommerce brand. You need to evaluate what your brand stands for and whether using a white background will align with your brand values and the mood that you resonate with. 

Getting the White Background Right is Key to Impactful Product Imagery

High-key photography is commonplace in eCommerce, which is why brands need to ensure an immaculate and perfectly lit white background in their final product images. Many brands opt for correcting the background in the post-production phase, which can be quite effective when working with a white background. Masking and varying shadows can help achieve a bright white background with the product illuminated just right. 

AI-driven photography platforms offer transformational photography services, including creating stunning white background product images in a fraction of the time when compared to traditional in-person photoshoots. Platforms like FlixStudio are at the forefront of this transition to AI-based on-model photography, creating cost-effective on-model images that convert.

FlixStudio helps brands achieve hundreds of catalog and eCommerce-ready product images at one-fourth the cost of traditional photoshoots with turnaround times as low as 48 hours, rendering consistent and impactful on-model commercial imagery. 

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Arunava Acharjee

(Product Marketing Manager)