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Product Photography using Black, Mid Gray and White Backgrounds

Product photography using a black, mid gray or white background are probably the three most versatile sets for many product photography subjects. All three can help define a products shape and form. Here we’ll show you some simple techniques to get the most out of your product photography using these three staple background shades. One thing these three backdrop shades should have in common is they are all neutral in color.


For example you don’t want a yellowish white paper background that’s also prone to get grubby through time. Nor do you want a warm gray or bluish black that could throw off your white balance. All models in the Modahaus Tabletop Studio range now include a Jet Black and Mid Gray backdrop as part of the standard backdrop bundle in addition to the opaque white, translucent white and translucent red and blue. That’s a total of 6 backdrops! All made from an advanced wipe clean polymer that is food safe, anti static, durable, and resistant to most oils and chemicals.

Product Photography with a Mid Gray Background

Shooting products on a mid gray backdrop works well in many situations. If you have a neutral colored subject then the background can harmonise well. If your subject is largely white or black a mid gray offers a good level of contrast and helps soften shadows. If you’re in a hurry, a mid gray background gives spot on exposures for point and shoot photography. If you’re shooting in artificial light you can set your custom white balance to the Modahaus Mid Gray backdrop.

handset-on-mid-gray-background   modahus-ts320-gray-backdrop

The neutral mid gray background  also works well to give contrast to subjects rich in color.


Product Photography with a black background



A pure black background is easily achieved with the Modahaus Jet Black polymer backdrop. Used in conjunction with the Modahaus Smartcase to soften and diffuse light and control reflections the black backdrop can help produce striking contrast in reflective subjects.


The image above illustrates a slight background accent highlight that can be achieved with the Jet Black backdrop using hard directional light.


This image of the gold bangle further illustrates a slight reflection is achievable in the black backdrop when shooting reflective subjects.This helps ‘ground’ your subject.


And of course a black background is also useful to accentuate rich colors in you subject.

Product Photography with a white background




A pure white background is probably the most used background for product photography. In this shot above with the Modahaus opaque white backdrop we left in a soft shadow under the saucer and macaroon’s to help ‘ground’ them. If you’re looking to achieve a ‘floating on white’ effect then you can either adjust your lighting or using the translucent white backdrop, add lighting from below. You’ll need a glass or clear acrylic table or sheet for this technique. An alternative technique for the ‘floating on white’ effect with the Modahaus system is shown in this post.

Product Photography Exposure tip


If you’re new to shooting on different shades of background then finding the ‘Exposure Compensation’ setting on your camera is the most effective measure you can take to improve your exposures. Shooting on mid gray will probably give you a spot on exposure straight out the camera. You’ll certainly be very close to the perfect exposure. This is because your cameras default meter setting is looking for an evenly lit  mid-tone scene. With a black background your camera on default will try and lighten the image so you’ll get a flat grayish image. Just apply some negative ‘Exposure compensation’ – about – 1 or 2 stops. Conversely, with a white background your camera on default will try and darken the image so again you’ll get a flat grayish image. Just apply some positive ‘Exposure compensation’ – about – 1 or 2 stops.

Check out our other Guides and Blog posts for more tips on the versatile Modahaus system. You can connect with us via RSS, Email signup, Twitter or Facebook to keep fully up to date.

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  • Silver Dreams Design

    I just went to place an order for a new TableTop Studio and was hoping to still get the textured silver asteroid hybrid backdrop you had been testing, but found that jet black and mid gray are included now. Awesome! I can’t wait to try them out. Another amazing addition, Lex!

  • modahaus

    Many Thanks for your order and kind words Silver Dreams. The Free Hybrid backdrops test marketing (now completed) gave us valuable feedback. What we found is they were both well received and a mid gray was mentioned frequently. The Hybrids were great to work with but noticeably not us durable as our standard polymer backdrops. So we developed our new Jet Black and Mid Gray backdrops in the same polymer and we’re really pleased how they’re performing. We listen to our customers’ needs. Lex

  • faisal

    wow very very nice

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