When you’re doing product photography, portrait photography, fashion shoots, or simply just taking photos of stuff around the house you want to sell online, you’ll often want to have a perfectly white background to draw the viewer’s attention onto the subject.

However, a perfect white background requires a lot of (expensive) photography studio equipment.

Not to worry, there’s a simple trick in Photoshop you can do in seconds to produce near-perfect white backgrounds.

Watch this short video by Cheapshooter to learn how to use Photoshop’s Curves adjustment to get whiter backgrounds in your photos.

Does it work? Well, it’s effective enough for amateurs like me.

I took an iPhone 5 photo of a product sitting on top of a plain white folder.

Camera on top of a white folder

This is the unedited photo:

Unedited photo with dark background spots

You can see there’s a lot of shadow and dark areas in the background.

I imported the image to Photoshop and, using the Curves adjustment panel, I dragged the curve to the left of the histogram until I was satisfied with the background.

Curves adjustment to remove dark background areas

There were still a few dark spots after the adjustment, specifically at the corners of the frame.

Results

So I used the Brush tool to manually lighten up those dark background areas. It only took a few seconds.

Manually brushed

This Photoshop trick would work much better with a DSLR camera shooting in RAW, and also by using a light box. By shooting in RAW, we will be able to work with more color data, which essentially means lighter foreground colors won’t get affected as much. You can see from the iPhone 5 photo above that I lost a lot of light-colored details.

If you don’t have access to a DSLR, you could consider using a Curves adjustment layer, mask light areas of the foreground which are in danger of being overexposed, and then proceed with the curves adjustment that way.

Author:

Jacob Gube is the co-founder of Design Instruct. Join him on Twitter @sixrevisions