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The perfect background for product photos

Finding the right background is an important aspect of any photo. It can have both a positive and a negative effect. An incorrectly selected background can ruin the entire image. A great background highlights the best aspects of the subject, complements it, makes it shine and influences the mood of the entire image composition.

Choosing the background is therefore one of the most important decisions for product pictures.

General tips for product photo backgrounds

Always keep your target group, the buyer, in mind when choosing a background. Since the background influences the mood of the final picture, it can also determine whether the image will successfully appeal to a specific audience.

Match the background to the respective subject, the product. The product should be the focus of the image, not the background. Select a background that highlights and supports the product. In addition, the style chosen should reflect the style and message of the brand.

One thing that is often neglected: empty space. Empty space in the background offers space for logos, slogans, product and brand information.

Avoiding busy backgrounds minimizes distractions. Often simple backdrops make the best for a photo, as the viewer can fully focus on the subject. Which does not mean you cannot get creative and think outside the box.

If the product photos are used on online marketplaces, observe the respective guidelines regarding backgrounds and product photos in general. More details can be found in our FAQ about product photography & product images.

Image Composition

Just like the subject itself, the background is an essential element of the image composition. The background frames the image, determines the mood and message of a photo and creates a certain atmosphere. The choice of colours and complementary elements in the background always affects the entire picture.

Natural materials and elements such as wood, plants, combined with colours like grey, beige and green, for example, create a natural mood. Whereas, for example, smooth surfaces, bold colours and geometric lines can give a more modern touch. Colours and accessories that match the product create an authentic, realistic atmosphere. The background colour alone can also define a season, for example. Which is particularly important for photos that are taken on location. For example, an orange background is ideal for creating an autumn mood. A rather white, bluish background, on the other hand, is more associated with winter.

If no suitable backgrounds or elements are available, almost any background can be created in post-processing with the help of clippings, alpha masking and composing.

Br24 Blog The perfect background for product photos: Top view of two filled cereal bowls on a gray surface, surrounded by decorative objects as an example of composing.

Universal must-have backdrops

Backgrounds in neutral, achromatic colours can be used universally, as they can be combined with almost any product and any other colour. Neutral background colours are also ideal for creating clippings and alpha masks. Many online marketplaces require neutral colour at least for the main image. To be sure, check out our guide to convincing product images.

White background

White is the most unobtrusive and neutral colour. A white background is timeless, has very little effect on the image, makes the product stand out, and is most commonly used for product photos.

Br24 Blog The perfect background for product photos: Blue and white patterned tie against a white background

Grey background

Another neutral background colour, which is often used as a substitute for white, is grey. Especially in light tones, as these highlight the product but do not outshine it. Grey backgrounds are particularly preferred for fashion photos and ghost model product images.

Br24 Blog The perfect background for product photos: Smiling women with yellow shirt and white headphones against a grey background

Black background

Black is a popular background colour for product photos because bright colours appear more saturated and rich against a black background. Jewellery, for example, is often photographed against black, as the dark colour makes diamonds and metals shine brighter.

Br24 Blog The perfect background for product photos: Golden earrings against a black background

Colourful backgrounds

For some years now, more and more colourful backgrounds can be seen for example in social media, either monochrome or in colour blocking style with multiple colours. Especially advertisements and banners often use bright, colourful backgrounds. While for product photos that only show the product itself, more subtle colours are used.

In general, it is important that the colours of the background match the colours of the product and do not outshine it. Light colours are suitable for almost anything. Bold colours stand out more, but can distract from the product itself. Matching colours are more pleasant for the eye. Mismatching colour combinations, however, can be either unpleasant or create an interesting effect.

Br24 Blog The perfect background for product photos: Top view of a pair of sneakers against on a yellow background

Backgrounds with textures, patterns and shapes

Whether in the studio or on location.  Structures like textures, patterns and shapes can make perfect backgrounds for interesting product photos. They can add depth to photos and even create a certain mood.

Wooden textures, for example, are great for creating a cosy, at-home atmosphere and are often used for food photos. Surfaces made of marble, stone, chrome or metal can appear rustic, modern or elegant. Gradients, lines, grid patterns, textiles such as curtains, blankets, carpets … Many structured materials are suitable as backgrounds. Just keep in mind that different textures have different effects when exposed to light.

Symmetrical patterns create a certain balance within the photo and can be either included in the composition or excluded from it. If, for example, the subject is placed in such a way that it breaks a symmetry in the background, this immediately attracts attention.

This also applies to distinctive shapes that frame the subject and thus draw the viewer’s eye to it. Use, for example, door frames or windows, forms and lines from things such as buildings, street lamps or even the horizon. However, make sure they do not cut through the subject, unless this is desired.

Br24 Blog The perfect background for product photos: Top view of three eyeshadow boxes on an orange, sand-like textured surface

Play with the depth of field

Blurring the background by using a shallow depth of field is a great way to make a busy background less distracting and to focus on the subject. The so-called bokeh effect is aesthetically very appealing and an extremely popular photography technique. The easiest way is to use a large, open aperture (small f-number). Simply put: The more open the aperture, the shallower the depth of field and therefore the blurrier the background.

Br24 Blog The perfect background for product photos: Glass in focus on a set table against a blurred background as an example of blurred background

 

Get the perfect background for your product pictures

The optimal background lets your products shine and ensures better perception by the customer. Consistent product presentation and high quality images with the perfect background. Professional image editing makes it possible.
With precise clippings and alpha masks as well as harmonious composings, we integrate your products into any desired background. For a uniform and professional presentation at websites, online shops, advertising and marketing materials, catalogues and more.

Our services include: clipping, alpha masking, composing, ghost model, image retouching, colour correction, layout design, CGI.

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