Photographing white on a white background

 As a product photography Im often asked to photograph clothing for pack shots on a clean white background, it can be slightly tricky but as long as you place your lights in the correct places it is pretty straight forward.

The first thing I do is to place two lights on the background which I flag with black paper  or poly boards as black absorbs the light and I wont get any spill from the background onto my clothing, if this does happen it can cause an unattractive halo effect around the clothes,  using a light meter I light the background so it is two stops  brighter than the lights I use on the product. Be careful not to over expose the background or you will make it look like it is glowing and this will over power your subject 

I also ensure that there is separation between the subject and the back ground and I light the subject independently to the back ground. I actually use 4 Bowen 500 flashlights, two on the background and on my subject a key light slightly to the side and a fill light placed on the opposite side, although you could get away with 3 lights, 2 on the back to make sure you get a clean even background and one key light at the front.

I always use my Canon camera 5d mark 3 on manual mode and generally have my settings on f/14, ISO 250 and 1/125 of a second, just to add another small tip if you have your shutter speed on 1/200 of a second or faster then you will have a problem with your shutter not syncing with the lights and you will see an ugly black shadow to one side of your image, this is quite a common mistake, in the past I used to hire out my photography studio in London and I often had photographers asking me why was this happening and blaming my poor bowen lights!

My best advice though is if you would like to become a product photographer then once you have your basic kit, flash lights, background paper, tripod and light modifiers which I will talk about in another post, they have a play around and have fun, as long as you follow the basic principals of separation, distance and keeping the background 2 stops lighter.

I use this set up pretty much for all of my packshot photography when photographing clothing on an invisible or some people call it ghost mannequin as well as photographing a model on a white background.

Im happy to give advice if you would like to email me at


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