Shooting items on a white background is a commonly used technique for product shots. However, it gets tricky when you need to photograph a white product on white background. In this situation, you can have a problem exposing for one or the other. Photographer David Patino from PDN Video shows you the lighting setup you can use to take professional shots of white products on white background.
David uses a white reflector on a c-stand for his background. The product he’s using is a roll of paper towel, and he places it on a piece of Plexiglas held by a couple of c-stands.
As for the lighting, he points a monolight into the background and adds a piece of cinefoil on top to prevent light spills. To light the product, he uses two strobes with strip softboxes with the grid, one on each side of the paper towel roll.
The key to shooting white on white is separating the product from the background. In other words, you need to separate the light for the background from the lights used for the product. This is why David uses cinefoil and grids on his lights.
Before taking the shots, start by photographing the product without lighting the background, until you get a nicely exposed subject.
After this, you can turn on the background light and take the photo so the background is bright. You can always dial the exposure up or down for either the product or the background, and you can do it separately, without affecting one with the other.
When you’re done setting the lights, you can experiment further. David creates a “moody” look by turning one strobe off. But the important thing to remember is to separate the lights for the subject and the background, so the shots look professional and well exposed.