The Magic of “Clean White” backgrounds

We have all seen them – pictures with white backgrounds. White is probably the most common color (or lack thereof) for a photo background.

 

The most obvious reason for this is that white backgrounds are the most commonly occurring for pages of text. Having the image background the same color as the printed page or screen makes integration between text and images easy. It is also a good starting point for extractions when one wants to have different background color options.

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Extracted image shown against various color backgrounds.

A white background helps the colors to “pop” without competing colors in the background.

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Sometimes the desire is just to have an image of the subject without the distraction of a bounding rectangle.

Producing an image with a “clean white” background is not the same as just shooting an image against a white background because without particular care, the “white” of the background will not match the white of the page and you will still have a bounding rectangle as can be seen from the two images below:

Particular care must be taken to light both the subject and background independently as both subject and background have different lighting requirements. A white backdrop does not guarantee that the background will come out looking white in the final image as can be seen by these images in which the subject was lit identically. The difference being that one had light on the background and the other did not:

Even a lily-white background will come out looking gray if there is not enough light hitting it. Additionally if too much light hits it, the result is “ghosting” with the light coming from behind affecting the subject:

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This may be a desirable look for some kinds of work, but where it isn’t, special care needs to be taken to ensure there is enough light to ensure the background comes out looking white, but not so much that it reflects off the background and affects the look of subject.  The intensity of the light and distance to the background must be just right. When the subject is against a white backdrop, problems can arise with backdrop texture and shadows:

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Natural (window or outdoor) light used by itself, is almost never going to satisfactorily achieve the desired (clean white) look. This kind of work will be accomplished on a consistent basis by a photographer who is competent in lighting.

For the reasons stated above this is a very useful look for both people and products in printed materials and on screen, for publication and for advertising. While it is possible to use different kinds of backgrounds and extract the subject using photo manipulation tools, this tends to be an inefficient approach and can be especially unwieldy for large numbers of images or where quick turnaround is a necessity.

Finding a Commercial Photographer for your Business

Creating a visual representation of your business is a great way to attract customers. With a wealth of options, how does one find the right fit? If you have the right skill set, you can, of course, decide to do the work yourself. Most people quickly discover that there is more to commercial photography than initially meets the eye. Some tips to keep in mind when one decides (or is considering) to hire a photographer.

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Communication

Every situation has unique features. Even when a photographer has previously worked with a business, there will still be a need to understand differences that may arise with each new assignment. That is done by asking the right questions, by listening with an open mind and by presenting options to open up the client’s mind to the possibilities that exist for what can be delivered.

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Versatility

In order to showcase a business, a variety of image types and genres may be required. A variety of subjects may need to be photographed. This will, of course, depend on the nature of the particular business – subjects vary from people to products. Whatever or whoever the subjects are, they must be shown at their best. That can be done with a deep knowledge of lighting, posing and staging.

Competence

It may be difficult for someone who is not a photographer or an art critic to properly evaluate photography. Who is going to make our people, products, and business look attractive to the public? One method is to look at the ads in high-end magazines and compare their look with the look of the photographs you are evaluating. A good photographer should:

  • be able to handle a variety of lighting situations
  • be able to direct pose and give concise directions to the subject
  • be able to work quickly and efficiently so as not to waste the client’s time

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Ultimately, this is a partnership, between the representatives of your business, and the photographer, with a common goal of providing the best images to help the business to sell their goods and/or services. Contact http://www.pixyst.com for support with developing your imaging strategy.

 

Executive Portraiture on Location

Are you involved in any service in which trust is a major selling point? Do you have an online presence? Then people want to see who you are. They want to see what you look like, and then they are going to draw conclusions based on the images they see of you. You want those conclusions (impulsive as they may be) to be in your favor. People form opinions about you based on the visuals you present, and there is no substitute for a good first impression.

You want your customer-facing representatives to have strong headshots on your website and other collateral. The look should be consistent from one image to another and it would be nice if you did not have to face logistical challenges of having everyone go off and look for a photo studio. What if the studio could come to you.

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All you need is a conference room and we can set up a studio with backdrop and lighting right in your premises. Very precise direction is provided, so the subject never has wonder what to do while in front of the camera. The result is a minimum of time expended and a maximum of convenience – a win-win.