2021 week 2: shadowless object photography

This weeks challenge is to take a photograph of one or more objects on white background without any shadows.

As long as an object has a simple outline it is a rather easy exercise to remove unwanted parts of the photo or shadows on the background and / or the object itself using photoshop, GIMP or similar programs. However with complicated objects this can be quite cumbersome, so it is worthwile to avoid shadows as far as possible in the first place when taking the photograph. There are different ways to achieve this. The most important thing is of course to have uniform soft lighting from all sides. This may sound like the necessity of expensive studio and / or lighting equipment but as long we are not dealing with very large objects this is relatively easy to achieve at home.

shoes (shadowless) – Klaus Deisenberger
shadowless objects – Klaus Deisenberger
Kodak Duo 620 – Klaus Deisenberger

For these sample photos I used a makeshift light box (made of cheap styrofoam plates) and a large sheet of white paper as background and fillet. As lighting I used flashlights for some photos, for other ones only natural light. I took several pictures in three setup versions, as shown in the picture below:

different lighting situations – Klaus Deisenberger

1) object placed on a bent sheet of white paper as fillet in the back of the light box.
Lighting by means of camera mounted flashlight directed straight at the object and 2 additional flashes in slave mode placed on both sides of the object to illuminate the interior of the light box; several test shots were required to evaluate the settings of the three flashes as well as the direction and position of the two slave flashes.
Camera tripod mounted, manual mode
ISO 200, F11, 1/200 sec

2) setup as one but without flashes. Daylight from a window behind the lightbox in a relatively dark room.
Camera tripod mounted, manual mode
ISO 200, F11, 25 sec

3) picture taken outdoors on the shady side of a house, object placed on a bent sheet of white paper.
Camera tripod mounted, manual mode
ISO 200, F9, 1/30 sec

The Challenge

  • Take a shot of whatever object(s) you like, no matter what it is, put it on a white background and try to get a photo without any or at least a minimum of shadows only.
  • Describe chosen setup and lighting either directly with your submission or (with a photo of the setup) in comments.
  • Post your newly taken photo during the week of Sunday, January 9 through Saturday, January 15.
  • Please remember to comment on at least FIVE photo submissions this week by answering the question “why?” in your comments. In other words, “why do I like (or not like) this photo?” or “why did this photo catch my eye?” Thank you!

The friendly community guidelines are pretty simple:

  • Take a new photo for the current weekly theme, not something from your back catalog or someone else’s image.
  • Post your photo each week to our active communities on Facebook or Flickr (or both). Tag the photo:  #2021photochallenge #photochallenge #tempusaura
  • Don’t leave home without your camera. Participating in the 2021 Trevor Carpenter Photo Challenge is fun and easy.