ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Pure White Background for Better Photos

Updated on October 17, 2015
LuisEGonzalez profile image

I enjoy photography and have been doing so professionally and independently for over 30 years. | Source

Many amateurs that want to feature small products or even some macro shots tend to photograph their subjects where they lay. Just simply place the item on a surface and snap a picture.

Assuming the light is correct, the exposure and all the other technical aspects are technically sound the background is often disregarded as not something to really worry about. This is far from the truth.

A non distracting background is more important than many other elements when taking close ups, especially for macros or product photography.

Pure white backgrounds have two main qualities that make macros or product photography stand out and it is mostly what professionals use. First it eliminates all distractions from taking the eye away from the main point of interest.

Second they are easy to set up and you can fully immerse yourself in other technical aspects without having to worry about what is behind the subject.


Why You Need Pure White

If you have ever photographed someone on a “white” backdrop only to find the white came out more of a gray you know why this episode is so important. An image with pure white edges will fade perfectly onto most websites but how do you get your whites to be “oh so white”?

In this episode we show you how to make a pure white background in photoshop without losing too much detail in your images. As a bonus we also show you how to make pure black.

Source | Source

To start set up a solid platform where your product or specimen will be placed. You need to line the location with pure white paper like the one used in copiers and it should be non glossy to avoid too many reflections being present in the final shot.

Make sure to extend the paper above the edges of the subject; this needs to extend beyond the scope of the subject on all sides by a few inches. You can crop the final image later using Photoshop or any other digital manipulating software program.

Illuminate the subject with ate least a couple of lights with one of each side of the subject and preferably at 45 degree angles. Make sure to add a diffusing material to each light source for better results. If the light is too strong shadows and reflections will be present. Also aim one light directly at the background to eliminate any possible shadows from the ones used to illuminate the subject.

Liked this post?

See results

Photoshop elements tools dialogue box (Background Colors)

Once you have a pure white background like one composed of white copier paper, if you wanted to make it even whiter then using Photoshop will take just a few steps and the result are usually excellent for this type of photography.

First open the image; from the tools select image-adjustments- levels, choose the clear triangular-shaped slider (see photo).

Once you click on it another window called levels will open up. Slide the top slider (bar) to the left but not so much that the actual subject begins to be affected (or starts becoming lighter).

The more you move this slider the lighter (whiter) the background appears.

That's it but if you see the original subject has faded a bit then slide both sliders (top and bottom one) a little to the right until you get the desired results (tonality) on the actual subject.

You can also play with each slider until you achieve what you want plus you get to experiment with different results the more you move one slider or the other.

Simple once you begin to play with it and this is one of the best tools that professional product photographers use to make their subjects pop out.

If you come to the realization that your images would best be suited for viewing with a pure black background, the steps used in Photoshop can be reversed to obtain a pure black instead of a pure white so long as you change the white copier paper sheets with a non glossy black background as your starting point.

Pure blacks are also easier to get by simply placing the background a few feet back from the subject and using a large aperture.

I have a confession to make, I tend to most always use a pure black background simply because I like the feel of the image and the dramatic effect that this background gives my particular choice of subjects which are mostly macros.

Gimp's elements tool dialogue box | Source

Pure black can also be a good alternative to pure white


© 2015 Luis E Gonzalez


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)