Featured Stock Photograph – Rawhide dog bone isolated on white

Rawhide Dog Bone isolated on white
Rawhide Dog Bone isolated on white

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Ah! the joys of isolation. As you know, isolated objects (or people) on white background is a tremendously popular category of stock photography. It usually involves either:

a) shooting on a white background with two equal lights at 45 degrees on each side wearing large umbrellas and the subject well in front of them so that it does not catch any spilled light. Practical for people shoot, less for small objects such as the one above.

b) boring minutes in photoshop correcting shadows and hot spots  isolating the subject using a copy of the blue channel where you burn shadows and dodge highlight until you have a perfect silhouette to select. You then tweak the selection (invert, contract yb a couple of pixels, minuscule feathering if needed) and copy subject on its own layer.

c) if you couldn’t find a white/contrasty  background then you pick up your pen tool and spend even longer contouring each and every curve of your subject. This is worth practicing as it makes really the cleanest selections. It’s a long learning curve (hahah) though and your subject better be in focus.

d) you spend some $$$ and get a light table and a tent for your smallish objects.

or E) as I’ve learned in school this week and used on the above Photo of the Day, you place two tables of the same height about two feet apart, place a clean piece of glass between the tables horizontally, your softbox at an angle (towards the floor, about 20 degrees) right behind at about half its height, a couple of cardboard reflectors in a v shape on each side of your object and you position your camera to avoid seeing a reflection below the softbox line, and another flash under the glass. And voilà! Instant, perfect isolation on white with no shadows. If you get some light spills, just hold a gobo (another piece of cardboard) against the softbox just above your subject and photoshop it out afterward. Quite a revelation, wouldn’t you say!

Have a great week-end everyone. I’m shooting a mock ad for jelly beans this afternoon. Should be a blast!!

Royalty Free License available at Istockphoto.com

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