Amazon-ready White Background Cutout Product Photography for World Kitchen.
World Kitchen recently booked us to capture their glorious, non-stick cookware creations for Amazon and our last blog post gave a little insight into the lifestyle photography portion of the job. However, it just wouldn’t be “Amazon” without a whole lot of white, so today we’ll elaborate a little on the keys to cutout success. We’ve shown you before how easily you can get nearly-white truly-white in Photoshop (see here) and whilst it’s a really quick and easy solution for some jobs, as a side-effect, it generally involves a slight alteration of the exposure of the product itself. Having colour checked and metered so carefully in-studio, why throw that precision away in the edit?
When shooting cutout photography, cutting out’s exactly what we intend to do in post, so our priority is a properly exposed subject with great edge fidelity. This is achieved through super sharp shots with sufficient depth of field (focus stacked if necessary) and by ensuring light from our background does not bleed over the edges of our subject. Seeing soft focus shots crudely cut out with a hard edge is a real pet hate at Photography Firm and since we do the majority of our post processing in-house, we know a retoucher’s job is a damn sight easier when they can clearly separate subject from backdrop. Crisp is key!!
There’re multiple ways to cut out a cat but they’re all aided by a properly lit and photographed product image. Whether a retoucher is using selection tools such as the magic wand, creating paths with the pen tool or sketching layer masks, sharp, precise edge fidelity and contrast will make their job significantly easier and the final result more convincing. That’s not to say you shouldn’t pay any attention to your backdrop whilst shooting. Keeping a clean and dust-free shooting environment is just good product photography practise, whether or not you’re cutting out later. Remember; just because the background or surroundings may not feature directly in the final image, that’s not to say they won’t be reflected in the surface of your subject. Take care at all stages with product photography – the devil is in the detail.
Another advantage of handing over an expertly cut out image (saved as a layered file or even PNG partial transparency) is that a client can quickly and easily swap out the background for unlimited alternatives, giving them broader marketing potential, as demonstrated in the below jewellery shot.
On the subject of convincing results, we’re not personally fans of the floating object syndrome often associated with white background cutout photography. We favour a soft, slight shadow or reflection which quite literally grounds the product, giving real-world authenticity without detracting anything from its visual impact. This can be captured in-camera in situ or relatively easily rendered in post with a little feathered burning. It does not need to be included in the mask or path used to cut out the subject so a client is not beholden to it, but if booking your white background product photography with Photography firm, consider it a little gift from us. We know right? – It’s not everyday someone gifts you a shadow, but that’s just how we roll.
Thanks for reading.