Product Photo Retouching Tricks: The White and Wrong (Backgrounds)

We’re big fans of white backgrounds, you can tell straight away simply by taking a look around our product photo retouching pages. Where you’ll immediately share our vision(s) in white. And note our own product photo retouching tricks.

Not that we’re alone in thinking digitally-enhanced images are brought into sharper focus/leap off the page when juxtapositioned (yeah, we said that) with a plain white photo-manipulated backdrop.

Sorry, did someone just mention a certain online ecommerce giant which is considered among the big four global tech companies and was founded by Forbes’ current number 1 billionaire??

OK. We’re about to address the elephant in the room. And trust us, it’s a sizeable one. But definately not a white elephant. Or is it?

Yeah, Christmas is just around the corner. Well, once we’ve got Halloween and Guy Fawkes Night out of the way.

And the run-up to the big day usually means one particular tradition for millions of us.

Forget all about slowly roasting chestnuts, a cheery rotund bloke getting wedged in your chimney and sourcing a Norwegian Spruce at least 10 feet taller than your neighbour’s. Because Christmases for the past few years have meant one thing, and one thing alone. After another riotus Black Friday, of course.

And it’s got precious little to do with celebrating religious symbolism and presenting gifts of Frankincense, Gold and Myrrh to that someone special either. Although a small, bald dude named Jeff puts in a fleeting appearance in our ecommerce nativity play (on words) here.

We Don’t Know About You, But Digital Product Photo Retouchers Have Long Dreamt of Enjoying a White Christmas

If you enjoy browsing Amazon for bargains as much as we do, then it probably hasn’t escaped your attention that the majority of the items you run the rule over are photographed on a veritable sea of white. For ‘majority’, read ‘all’.

It’s the law, you see.

Well, according to Amazon it is. Which stipulates that anyone advertising/selling goods via Mr Bezos’s multi billion ecommerce juggernaut adheres to its well-documented code of conduct. Which categorically states that under no circumstances whatsoever must sellers photographing a product they’re keen to find a new home for digress from the hard and fast white background rule.

Them’s the rules.


You’ve heard of white noise, plain white tee-shirts, those cliffs near Dover, Billy Idol’s white wedding and the White House. But what about white space? And acres of the stuff at that. It makes for some seriously impressive product photo retouching tricks, put it that way.

Like the TV Room in Mr Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory, if you like. Only on our laptop (and or handheld device screens). Think smartphone and tablet. Which, incidentally, Mike TV might, hypothetically be teleported and pixelated into in a weird art imitating life way we’ve just thought of.

But, they might be on to something.

Who, you ask?

Amazon, of course. And like them, we’re partial to white spaces here at DT as we mentioned earlier. As you can see from the sizeable margins of white background discovered on our website. Designed to let the visuals be prominent. And the same ethos can be applied to product photo retouching services if you think about it. The more white space directly behind any item results in said item we’re meant to be focusing our undivided attentions on standing out, obviously. It’s not exactly rocket science, yet as a simplistic ploy can have the desired effect with minimum fuss.

Admittedly there are certain objects that should never be seen floating in vast swathes of white space. Like for example, people’s heads (although we briefly overlooked this for Jeff). Which would look a bit disconcerting to be honest. Yet just about anything else you care to think of would significantly benefit from being captured stealing the limelight/spotlight on their todd. Think irons, chairs, cars, coats, bags, shoes, tables, cushions, doors, jewellery etc. Just about ANY digitally-enhanced product photo lends itself to being captured against a clinically white backdrop.

Product Photo Retouching. White On, Dude!

The bottom line is us humans tend to be easily distracted creatures, who often spend just as much time exploring background imagery as we do foreground. However the longer we spend staring into relative (cyber) space, the less time we’re actually keeping our eyes on the prize, so to speak. Which explains why various other sectors have began jumping on the same Amazon bandwagon in recent times.

Car dealerships are just one of a growing number of industries which have cottoned on to the underlying fact that less equals more, from a visual perspective, when concentrating efforts on the real deal. Or new cars, to be precise. Which is why we’re seeing more new (and used) vehicles pictured against a neutral, non-descript (and yes, even plain white background) of late. In a bid to emphasise the product as much as is physically possible. Gone are the days of cars being shot against a row of other ‘dealer specials’, outside the dealership. Or worse still; around the corner and set amid an industrial heartland of warehouses.

Instead automotive retailers have taken their advertising cues from Amazon et al, and wised up to seperating the wheat from the chaff; so as not to dilute the primary focus. Or whatever other Ford model the dealer is trying to flog that week.

Product Photo Retouching Tricks Include Total White Out

We receive countless briefs from clients asking for their product photos to have the background edited out. And yes, in many cases whited out completely to visually enhance the presence of the item/object/product which is important to them individually. Be it the abovementioned iron, chair, car, coat, bag, shoes, table, cushions, door, jewellery etc.

Many of whom may wish for their products to be showcased on Amazon. The company stresses that – and we quote – images must have a pure white background. Pure white is RGB levels of 255,255,255. Even products that are photographed against a white backdrop will require retouching to meet this requirement.’

Wow. Life and soul.

That last sentence is where DT comes into play, however.

Amazon DIDN’T Actually Invent the Wheel After All! Nor White Backgrounds (But They Might Kinda Own Them)……

Shock, horror!

It may come as a surprise to learn, but for decades now professional photographers have shot various subject matters in front of plain white backgrounds. Like on catalogue and fashion photoshoots, for example. So basically Amazon itself has just jumped onboard an existing bandwagon and utilized a visual mantra that’s long been a thing before the advent of the internet. And therein, online retailing. And ecommerce. And tried to patent the concept of late.

Yup. US Patent No 8,676,045 as it happened, back in 2014. Which ruffled a lot of creative feathers, let us assure you. But it’s not like Amazon now own all white product photo retouching backgrounds. As at the end of the day there’s more than enough to go round for all of us.

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