Inexpensive Method for a Completely White Background - Using a Light Tent
This photo was taken in July 2013 with a Canon 5D MkIII and Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM @ 105mm
amera settings: f/10, 1/125 and ISO 50
The stacks of coins arranged in a descending order to represent a decline in an investment. The car in the background represents wealth and the calculator represents the investment management of money. This photo was taken in a light tent with three speedlights lighting the light tent. This photo is part of a set of photos. To see the whole set go to: http://www.shutterstock.com/sets/4802675-finance-and-money.html?rid=811078. This set of photos are my most popular photos on the microstock websites.
Using a Light Tent for Product Photography
A light tent is a very useful piece of equipment for taking photos of small items. Here is an example of a light tent on Amazon
A light tent is used in product photography to get a uniform background and a shadowless subject. Many sellers of products use a light tent to take a catalog photo. With a light tent you can get consistent shots. With a light tent you can easily get a completely white background.
A light tent or light box diffuses the flash similar to a softbox to create an almost shadowless photo. It is the easiest and least expensive method to get a product shot. You can even use the sun as a source of light. I used 3 external speedlites in this photo. I set all three on full power and at different angles.
Getting the Background 100% White
To get the background completely white is not really that easy. Most light tents come with different color backgrounds but I usually only use the white background. In camera you need to set the exposure 1 stop brighter than the correct exposure. If you are using flashes and don't have a light meter you will need to judge with your eyes when the photo looks slightly over exposed.
This usually leads to a perfectly white background. If not then you can increase the brightness or whites in photoshop. I even sometimes need to use local adjustments such as the dodge and burn tools.
It is always preferable to use the smallest aperture possible with product photography to get the whole product sharp and in focus. The ISO must be set to 200 or lower. It is highly recommended to use a tripod to completely reduce camera shake. Extremely important thing to remember when using a tripod is to switch of optical stabilization on the lens. If at all possible shoot RAW. It will pay off and makes it much easier to adjust the white balance in post production.
Examples of Photos Using a Light Tent
Goodluck trying out a light tent in your photography. If there is any questions leave a comment.