Graduated Backgrounds with Product Photography

||, Tips & Tricks|Graduated Backgrounds with Product Photography

Graduated Backgrounds with Product Photography

By |2019-01-12T13:31:35+00:00November 30th, 2014|Categories: Photography, Tips & Tricks|Tags: |0 Comments

A few months back I took a pottery class here in Portland, and on the last day I brought in my camera to photograph some of the other students’ work. I didn’t want to go too elaborate with the setup, so I opted to make use of the beautiful diffused window-light coming into the classroom.

I purchased a graduated backdrop from Amazon to use for my pottery, the Varitone Graduated Vinyl Background #09 (31″x43″), and decided that this would be the perfect time to test it out I placed it at a slight angle to the window to push the shadow at a slight angle behind the subject, but still allowing the light to come at the subject from the side (and not directly in front). I also used some Gaffer tape to keep the background in place, and set a folded piece of white foam board to the left of the subject to fill in some of the shadows.

Here are a few behind-the-scenes shots of my setup (click to view larger):

My camera and background gear is as follows:

  • Canon 5D Mark III
  • Canon 100mm f/2.8L Macro lens
  • Canon cable release
  • Really Right Stuff TVC 24L Tripod
  • Really Right Stuff BH-40 Ballhead
  • Varitone Graduated Vinyl Background #09 (31″x43″)
  • White foam board (cut in half, then taped back together with white Gaffer tape)

Overall, this setup took less than 10 minutes (maybe even less than 5) to prepare before I was ready to start shooting. If I could change one thing, I would have remembered to bring my large diffusion panel to soften the light from the right side of the mug, which would decrease the shadows to the left.

About the Author:

Nicole S. Young is a professional photographer and published author whose love of photography and teaching has grown into an online business where she creates training materials and resources for other photographers. Nicole is best known for her books on food photography, but is widely versed in a variety of photographic genres, including landscape, travel, lifestyle, and even underwater photography. You can learn more about Nicole's work on her website,

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