Level: Beginner

How to make background white: quick and easy post-production technique in Photoshop

This is re-post from PerfectPhotoBlog.com. The owner, our retoucher Genia Larionova let me do this re-post to help our fellow photographers cleaning white background.  Something which I was repeating every bi-weekly critique session at Photigy Live, and receive many questions about almist every day…

Obviously, this is just the one of ways to make it done. Enjoy:-)


How to make a white background (RGB:255.255.255) and prepare image for a catalog print


Step 1. Finding not white areas of the background

  • Convert photo from Raw using Raw Converter
  • Duplicate layer
  • Create New fill ore adjusted layer/Curves:
Create new fill or adjustment layer

Create new fill or adjustment layer

  • Than drag the graph from the left lower corner to the right lower corner:

How to make white background

Now we can see that our “white” is not really white. So next steps will explain how to make 255-255-255 white background but leave  nice realistic shadow under the object.

More detailed screen shots of this step you can find on my previous lesson How to determine overexposed and underexposed areas using Photoshop

Step 2. Clean background

  • Using Dodge Tool (from your left tools palette) clean the background. My parameters for the brush is on this picture:


I start from big soft brush to clean bigger areas, decreasing brush size  and  adding more hardness when I clean the edge of the object. And as you see on this screen shot I do not remove shadows under the boot. If you like the shadow to be a little bit lighter just change Dodge Brush Range from Highlights to Midtones and slightly brush that area.

Clean background with dodge tool

Clean background with dodge tool

  • Open the photo 100% and clean edges by smaller and harder brush:
Cleaning background

Cleaning background

Now we have a perfectly white background with real shadow under the boot.

Step 3. Cleaning and retouching

  • Open the image full size (100%) and using Clone Stamp tool and Healing Brush tool correct all imperfections and motes.

And now we have a nice clean product photo with real white background and realistic shadow.

Final retouched image with white background

Now we are ready to Flatten image (Layer/Flatten Image), crop, re-size, add sharpness, save JPEG for web or TIFF for print.

If you are interesting how this boot was photographed, here is the article about it : Product photography lighting: It is simple when you know how

Also, there is another way to get white background: to shoot subject on 100% white (completely overexposed, blown out background). Here is the technique: How to shoot white on a white background: Q&A #4

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About The Author: Alex Koloskov

The lighting magician, owner of AKELstudio, Inc.

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3 comments to How to make background white: quick and easy post-production technique in Photoshop

  • Narayan Patel

    Hi Alex,
    Thanks for the technique…
    Which will be the easy way? do clipping around the shape of the product and make a white background or the technique you already stated…Plz have a suggestion for retouching task if it is needed …

    I think it will be hard for a re-toucher if the product have a multiple background of a photo-shoot ;then it will be complex enough make a white background !!

    Cobwebs Design

  • Jay

    “Create New fill ore adjusted layer/Curves”. this seems to need a spell correction.

  • Jay

    Thanks for posting this.

    In step 1 it states “Convert photo from Raw using Raw Converter”, you mean from RAW to JPEG? or just open RAW file in Photoshop?

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