Setting up a Backdrop for Product Photography

Written by Backdrop Express Photography Team on . Posted in Food & Product Photography, Photography Tips, Studio Equipment

product on a white seamless paper background

If  you are displaying product photographs on your website or in a product catalog, you want to make sure your product photographs look professional. Taking the right steps when setting up your studio and photography backdrop will help achieve ultimate professionalism. There are four basic components involved; setting up the backdrop, positioning the product, arranging the lighting, and setting up any props that you might want included in the final photo.

Setting Up the Backdrop

While studio photo backdrops come in all colors and shades, it is usually wisest to stick with basic, neutral backdrops for product photography. Solid black or white normally make the best choices, with white being the most popular because of the high emphasis it put on the product. However, if your purpose is to produce a creative, vibrant product photo or give the audience a specific feeling, a bright color can be advantageous. A backdrop support system is used to create a sturdy, seamless background for the subject.

Positioning the Product

Next you need to set up the product. This can either be on a tabletop or it can hang over the center of the backdrop. In either case, it’s important that the product is properly centered against the photo backdrop. If you choose a table, you will need to extend the backdrop along the table with same color sheet in order to keep a clean seamless backdrop feel. For smaller products, you may also want to raise your product on a box to give it further prominence.

glass on purple seamless paper background

Arranging the Lighting

Once you have your backdrop and product in the right spot it’s time to set up the lighting. This can be a little tricky, because shadows can easily take over the product if you aren’t careful. While a single shadow works, you’ll want a lighting setup that removes the excess. It normally takes three or four lights to accomplish this. Use the first light to light the area, the second, and sometimes third light help remove the shadow effect, while the last light is pointed directly at the shadow removing the dark spot from your photo.

Set Up Props

One more element you may want to add is a prop. Props should be used with care, as you want to make sure you don’t take the main focus away  from the product. A simple blanket next to a teddy bear might be an example of a prop that complements the product, instead of stealing the focus.  

-Backdrop Express Photography Team

Interested in reading more about product photography? Check out When to Use a Plain White Background!

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Comments (2)

  • Commercial Photography


    Your blog is really nice!


  • Jason


    great stuff! thanks


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