Is White Background Photography Right For You?

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White background photography may be the right decision for your needs or business depending on certain factors. White background photography can be seen in a range of different types of photography although it is especially popular for  product photography and portrait photography.

What is White Background Photography?

A white background photo is simply a photo that has been shot on a white background. This style is popular among ecommerce and magazines because a white background brings attention to the subject. Note that white, like any other color, has multiple shades. The industry standard for white background photography is to use the absolute purest version of white (hex code of #FFFFFF). Although this is the industry standard, some photographers choose to use a different shade of white to express a more natural effect.

white background product photo industrial tool


There is a reason that white background photography has become so popular on the internet (especially ecommerce websites). Having a white background eliminates distractions from the subject. Depending on your goal, a white background can also create a polished and professional look.

When trying to determine if white photography is right for you, the subject of your photograph, and its colors are key components in determining what background you need. If your subject has bright colors or bold prints, a white background provides simplicity while simultaneously drawing attention to the main subject of the image.


There are some cases to avoid white photography.

If the subject is:

  • White

  • Lighter colored

  • Translucent

In these cases a white background may not be the best choice because the subject may be difficult to see. It always best to use the judgement of a professional photographer when deciding.

Due to the increasing popularity of white background photography, photos with white backgrounds are becoming increasingly standardized. It is important to determine how unique your subject is compared to your competition. The level of creativity you want to express and the background of your photograph should be taken into consideration. For example, if you’re marketing your photograph, and your competitor’s photos also use a white background, you may consider whether or not your product will stand out.

For product photography, if you are trying to sell on social media such as Facebook or Instagram, another disadvantage of the increasing popularity of white background photography is that people these days automatically assume a product is being advertised when the image has a white background. When trying to sell a product on social media, incorporating lifestyle photography into your photo may be a better way to go because the photograph will blend in with other photos on that media platform and people will probably give your photograph more consideration.

Equipment for White Background Photography

If the subject of your photo is on the smaller side, investing in a lightbox is probably the best way to go as a lightbox allows for a simple way to set up and photograph your subject. A lightbox also saves space compared to traditional methods.

If your subject is on the larger side, then you will probably need either photography paper, or white cloth such as muslin in order to achieve a high quality white background.

A professional camera, lens, tripod, lighting, and photo editing software is also essential in achieving a high quality photo. (Nashville Film Institute)  has several recommendations on lenses and lightboxes along with tips on how to achieve a high quality photograph.

How much Does White Background Photography Cost?

To ensure high end results, it is always best to hire a professional. A professional will have experience and high quality equipment. Using higher quality equipment results in a higher quality photograph. Service costs for professional product photography with a white background is usually around $30 – $50 per photo depending on the size of your product.

While it is possible to shoot white background photography with just a lightbox and iPhone, the results will not be anywhere near the quality you would get with hiring a professional.

If purchasing your own equipment, lightboxes range as cheap as $12 or as high as $300 and white poster paper and white photography cloth ranges from as low as $5.99 to as high as $90 on Amazon.

You can learn more about product photography pricing in this article.

Popularity of White Background Photography?

White background photography became popular with the rise of the internet. A white background ensures the focus is on the subject of the photograph. It is cost-effective, easy to edit, and provides a polished, and professional look.

white background product photo makeup

White Background vs Lifestyle Photography?

The distinction between white photography and lifestyle photography is that white background photography is when your photograph has an all white background, and lifestyle photography is a photograph that is emulating real life situations (such as a living room or kitchen counters in the background). A lifestyle photograph may contain items in the background that have a white or lighter color scheme, but this is not white background photography. White photography is when the background only has a white backdrop and no other items other than the subject(s) being photographed.

Difference Between White Background and Black and White Photography?

As the name suggests, black and white photography is when a photo contains only shades of black or white. White background photography however, means that only the background is white. The subject of your photograph can be whatever color(s) you wish.

Is White Background Photography Wise for Product Photography?

Depending on where you intend to market your product, a white background could help or harm your sales. For platforms such as eBay, Amazon, or magazines, a white background is usually ideal and/or required. A white background also allows potential customers to get a better idea of what your product looks like. Over 20% of online sales are returned because the item didn’t physically appear exactly how it did in the photograph. Having a high quality photograph where the product is the main focus will help ensure more sales.

 If selling on platforms such as Etsy, Pinterest, or Instagram, then a colored background or lifestyle photography is probably a better option as your photos will appear more visually inspiring and people will look at your photo longer before realizing the photo is trying to sell them something. If you do choose lifestyle photography though, make sure your background is not too busy as this could cause too many distractions from the subject of the photo.


Deciding if white background photography is right for you depends on what your subject is and the goal you have in mind for your photograph. Are you planning to market the photograph (and if so, where)? What color is the subject? Do you plan on hiring a professional service? A white background allows for a clean and professional look by putting the focus on the subject and removing distractions in the background. These are all factors to consider when determining what background to choose for your photograph.

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Sydney Abraham

Sydney has experience in content writing, journalism, essays, and historical fiction. She graduated Westmont College with a Bachelor of Arts in English and a Minor in Writing.

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