5 Tips for product photography backgrounds (2024)

Brendan McConnellBrendan McConnell·December 18, 2023

How you present products on your ecommerce website matters. 56% of users immediately explore product photos when they start browsing for items online and if they don’t like what they see, they’ll leave your site without making a purchase. Everything about a product photograph matters: from the lighting to the composition of the image and the background. 

Product photography backgrounds are a critical, but often overlooked part of an image. Selecting the right background, however, is easier said than done. You need to answer questions like: 

  • What background will best complement your product?

  • What will accentuate specific features or benefits of the product?

  • What will allow you to convey the real-world usage or origins of the product?

  • What are you required to include when using the products online?

  • Is the background versatile enough for all of your needs? 

And, in many cases, you will need to swap in and out different backgrounds to align with various needs—from campaigns to sales events to different marketplaces. What’s needed is an AI photo editing tool that lets you quickly remove and replace backgrounds as needed. Photoroom, for many ecommerce stores today, is that tool. 

1. The power of product photography backgrounds

The background of a product photograph is just as important as the lighting, framing, or focal distance. Different backgrounds evoke different emotions, helping you to position your product in creative ways. 

White product backgrounds help to make a product image pop, and is a standard for many ecommerce stores and marketplaces. Colored backgrounds add emotion and thematic intrigue, and help to align the product photo with your brand or a specific campaign. Environmental or contextual backgrounds situate the product within a familiar or complementary setting, helping users visualize how they would use it. 

Here’s an example of how each of the above background variations can create different compositions for a product image:

2. Consistency is key

Clean and consistent backgrounds are a must for ecommerce brands. Ideally, backgrounds should be standardized on product shopping and category pages where consumers are comparing items. 

This allows shoppers to easily compare products side-by-side. The only variation between product shots should be the items themselves. By doing so, customers can easily find what they’re looking for, and learn more about each product with the same level of detail and presentation as other items. This increases trust amongst consumers, and allows them to easily recognize and consider products. 

Consistency also helps to create a uniform and easy-to-navigate user experience for the website. Imagine multiple rows of hats on a website—some with blue backgrounds, others with red backgrounds. The result will be a chaotic visual experience that may disorient and distract users from the items themselves. 

The image below shows an example of consistent and uniform background usage. 

Source

3. Versatility with prompts 

While versatility and consistency are critical for product photography backgrounds, small businesses often don’t have the time, resources or (potentially) skills to create numerous variations of the same product image. Multiply that by the number of products on a website, and the issue compounds significantly. 

Photoroom offers a solution to this problem. Instant Backgrounds—a generative AI photo editing tool—lets you input customized prompts to generate new and unique background options. 

Let’s take a look at two examples below. The first prompt is as follows: 

“A gold ring on a velvet pillow, with a white wall in the background.”

To create a second variation, you can input the following prompt: 

“A gold ring on a piece of glass, with a garden in the background” 

Neither of these backgrounds existed before we inputted the above prompts. This just shows the number of different variations that are possible through AI-driven background creation.

4. A library of options 

In addition to custom prompts, Instant Backgrounds also offers a full library of pre-built or generated (through AI) backgrounds that you can add to your image in just a single click. These include solid colors, abstract patterns like the ones shown here in the Black Backgrounds library, and auto-generated lifestyle backgrounds.

With a simple upload of an image to Photoroom, you gain access to a wide range of background styles that cater to virtually any use, platform, or brand specification. 

Even better, this tool lets you create multiple variations of a single product image in a matter of minutes. This means that you only need to focus on taking a single round of high-quality product photos, and then quickly mix and match different backgrounds as needed for sales and marketing activities. 

“The different background templates and themes in Photoroom are great for lifestyle shots. They bring my product to life for customers and help to visualize it for them so that when I sell there’s an emotional connection with my customers.”

— Ian Nethercot, founder of Switchup Signs

5. Lighting and shadows 

Lighting and shadows, in particular, have a direct effect on: 

  • The level of detail visible in the photo

  • How true the colors of the product are to real life

  • How clearly the product is presented 

  • What parts of the product are emphasized over others

  • The level of post-processing that can be conducted (high-quality, full light photographs can typically be altered more than those with dim lighting, faded colors, or heavy shadows.

The best product photograph is one that helps you present the product in the best possible way. Depending on the product, that might be full, direct light (jewelry) or the incorporation of shadows or dimmed lighting to create a specific mood (furniture or staged product photographs).

Again, it’s difficult to predict all the different variations of a product photo you’ll need during the initial shoot. With Photoroom, you can alter the lighting in post-production, add a shadow, retouch and remove objects from the image, and change the color of the image.

“Instant Shadows make my images look realistic. They don’t have that generic look so everything I have on my website looks like they are done in a professional studio and my products look more expensive, natural and effortless.” 

— Marcus Aliaga, founder of ALLTRUEIST

Conclusion

Product photography backgrounds should be a top of mind consideration for ecommerce brands and photographers. But, you shouldn’t be locked into the background you select during a shoot. Photoroom lets you easily swap in and out different backgrounds to strike the right mood, align with a new campaign, or meet a technical requirement. 

Try Photoroom today. It’s accessible on mobile devices and can be downloaded from the App Store or the Google Play Store, or sign up on Photoroom Web. Set up your account in less than a minute, and start saving time and focusing on more important tasks right away.

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Brendan McConnell
Brendan McConnellI'm a freelance writer, content strategist, and SEO consultant. At Photoroom, I write about ecommerce photography and image editing tips.