Beginner Mistakes in White Background Shots Beginner Mistakes in White Background Shots
Excellent photos with white backgrounds appear easy to create but appearances can deceive. You just don’t place the object or subject in front of... Beginner Mistakes in White Background Shots

Excellent photos with white backgrounds appear easy to create but appearances can deceive. You just don’t place the object or subject in front of a white background, point the camera at it, and take the picture because there are several things that can go wrong, such as a brown-toned background, subject washout, and unwanted shadows, among others.

If you’re a beginner – or if you have yet to shoot with an all-white background – you may be guilty of these mistakes. You can, fortunately, rectify it by keeping the following tips in mind and, in the process, create photos that you can proudly display after printing at CVS Photo.

Insufficient Separation Between Background and Subject

When the background lights are significantly brighter, you will end up with inferior photos. You have to separate the background lights and the subject in two ways, namely:

  • Flagging with the use of black items, such as black cardboard sheets, black side of reflectors, and black foam core. Your goal is to block, in a manner of speaking, the lights since black doesn’t let light in and blocks light from seeping into unwanted places. Without flagging, your subject will have a backlit and/or a halo effect that you don’t want in the first place.
  • Distance means putting your subject at a sufficient distance away from the white background and the background lights. You are effectively avoiding any spill from touching your subject – unless, of course, you want a certain level of spill in your photo.

In case you want some spill, you have to use various lenses and run a few tests until you can eliminate chromatic aberrations present in many lenses. You should also be careful about the amount of spill lest your subject appear to have chopped-off parts from spill overexposure.   

Improperly Lit Background

You have to ensure that the white background is lighted at about two stops more lights in comparison with the amount of light falling on your subject. For example, if your subject will be photographed at f/8, then the background lights should have an f/16 meter reading.

Emphasis must be made that the two background lights should be metered separately such that metering the subject’s main light means turning off the background lights – and vice versa. But even when both background lights are on, the meter should still have an f/8 reading on your subject.  

As in any photo, you have to plan many of the technical aspects of the shoot and trust your creative instincts on the other aspects. Your ability to balance the technique and creativity regardless of the background will take you into the big leagues of photography.

Editorial Staff