I was doing some of the product photography for our new Glamorously Vintage store and (of course) the first thing that came up was what kind of backgrounds was I going to use for all the pictures.
This is one thing that sometimes holds back creators and keeps them from moving forward. Instead of just going for it, they just stop in their tracks until they can “figure it out”.
I knew that I wanted a certain look for the shop because it will be all vintage items. As you can see in the photo above I tried two different kinds of backgrounds… one a more “busy” red polka dotted version and one a more muted weathered wood version.
Some notes about choosing a standard-ish background for your product photography photos:
- Obviously I am not doing the “plain white” backgrounds that some people recommend. Instead I am choosing to have some kind of texture, just at this point deciding what to use.
- I have 4 different colors of the polka dotted Martha Stewart napkins that I could use for photos BUT there is ultimately a size limit that I run up against as they are roughly 18 inches long and 12 inches wide making it hard to take pictures of big items.
- I already have a bunch of weathered wood boxes and do have the ability to buy weathered wood or make my own vintage textured backgrounds relatively easily.
When you are making a big decision like this, it is worth dinking around a bit, loading up some pictures to the live Ecommerce site to see what you really like or don’t like!
I did this with the two different versions, checking to see which ones I thought looked the best…
Once I saw them live on the site I immediately knew that I wanted to use a variety of weathered wood backgrounds for my pictures instead of the polka dots. While the polka dots were big and bold, they were distracting to the product (which is kind of the point of the shot).
So one last thing I wanted to be aware of was the overall shop look. Should I JUST use dark weathered boards or JUST white boards… hmmm.
Ultimately I decided that “weathered boards” would be the theme and I would use all different kinds of boards depending on the subject (product).
I personally feel that using the exact same background makes for a very boring store. While I can admire the crispness of a store that has all white backgrounds, that is just not a look that I think works well for vintage or “kitchy” products like I sell.
Choosing Your Product Photography Background
Now, if you are choosing your background, the most important thing to consider (beyond even what you like) is what your customers like.
I can choose between quirky and weathered because people who like vintage things are okay with dings and worm holes in their backgrounds.
If you are selling high end, luxury gold jewelry you might want to consider using a slick piece of black marble or even a bolt of high quality silk.
Say you are selling mens knives, then you might want to use a toolbox or garage floor as your background since that would appeal to the primary buyer of your product.
Whatever you pick, please make sure that you like it and that you can take the majority of your product photos on it easily.
Anila Jain says
As long as I have seen customers prefer to see the product shots in decent and clean background. In that case to me, a solid white or plain background is always a better choice for product photography.
Highly informative, looking frontward to coming back. http://tinyurl.com/jjl3tn9
Cynthia J Avalos says
Thank you for confirming what I have thought about backgrounds for vintage items. The only other advice I’ve had was really only appropriate for handmade items. Some of my items need all white, but most need a variety.