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Thursday, January 12, 2012

Photo Tip: How to create a bright white background

People are always asking me what kind of light box (aka shooting tent/cubelight kit) do I use to create the all white background photos they see here on The Flirty Blog. I thought I'd post a tutorial to show you how I do it. It's not glamorous. In fact it may be shockingly simple.

Technically speaking, I don't use a light box, I use a sheet of 24" x 47" piece of white, flexible, high density, polyethylene plastic Carl picked up for me when he saw it at Tap Plastics because he knew at $7.55 it was a better, more affordable and eco-friendly solution than the paper poster board I'd been using for years. The paper would eventually get dirty and need to be replaced. The plastic I can wipe clean.

Combined with the skylight over my kitchen table, the correct white balance, exposure setting and just a touch of Adobe Photoshop. . .

 And I can take pictures that look like this. . .

And this. . .

And this.

To shoot the cupcake I propped up the far end of the plastic, rather inelegantly in this instance, on an empty box and a piece of styrofoam packing set on a dining chair. If I were photographing something taller I would have put the box on the table top and draped the end of the plastic over it.

In three steps:
  1. Because the cupcake was cut and would dirty the plastic I placed it on a single white kitchen tile placed upon the plastic sheet. Note in the first row you can see the three edges of the tile. I marked them with red dots to the right. There's also a slight grey cast to the background.
  2. In the second row I used the "Level's" option in Photoshop to brighten the exposure blowing out the tile edges behind and to the right of the tile. It also gets rid of all of the grey in the background.
  3. To remove the tile edge along the front I used the erase tool in Photoshop and ran it over the tile edge with the background set to white. 
It's that easy! The editing literally took less than a minute to execute.

When not in use I store the sheet of white plastic right next to the kitchen table behind this display case where I keep my baking equipment. Oh, hi Kitai!

I just slide it behind the case until I need to use it again.

If the cupcake looks irresistible you'll find it at Frost Cupcake Factory in Downtown Campbell, CA.

It's their newest and most popular flavor. Mississippi Mud is a rich and moist chocolate cupcake filled with chocolate ganache, topped with coffee infused marshmallow frosting that's then completely coated in oreo cookie crumbs. Don't wait or go late because they sell out of them every day!

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