Hello Everyone! My name is Bruno Debiasi Sousa and I'm a commercial product photographer from Curitiba, Brazil. I have been shooting product photography almost exclusively since 2006.

A few years ago I started a company www.foto360deproduto.com that develops interactive product views using 360 degree product images. I have been working with WebRotate 360 for many years now and they have invited me to showcase a technique I used on a recent project that deals with 360 product photography of a white and reflective product on a white background. So here it is..

Our customer (Pro-Aqua) asked us to produce a 360 product spin of their excellent vacuum cleaner called Vivenso Smart Cleaner. The vacuum is white and is very reflective. It has a modern shape and curves that we wanted to highlight. It uses water to filter dirt so to make it more interesting we wanted the vacuum to be powered on and show how the water splashes and swirls inside the tank as the product spins inside the 360 product view.

Shooting "white on white" is easily doable if it's a single still image. In our case, we needed a sequence of images of a spinning product which is more challenging. And our setup had to be optimized such that we could replicate it easily for similar products and shoot the entire sequence of 72 images fast to reduce our & client costs.

Overall our approach here is straightforward: we place the product further away from the background and put more light at the background to burst the whites to help us separate the product. The product itself is underexposed but there's still enough light to give us some good contrast and detail.

As the photos are produced for online viewing, I decided to work with high ISO (ISO 2500) and that allowed me to work with continuous LED lighting. This helps greatly with the setup as we can fine-tune the position and angles of the lights across the entire 360 degree spin.

As you can see in this picture, I used 4 light sources:

Main boom light that illuminates the front of the product, creating nice gradients and contrast for the front facing items:

Two side lights to highlight the product volume and the edges of the vacuum:

Background light that shoots from the bottom at the backdrop to give us the background separation:

For the lights that illuminate the product I used 3 softboxes that I set up with a tracing paper to nicely diffuse the lights. The lights are underexposed at -1EV vs the background light.

A very important detail for this setup to work well is the position of the side lights and the use of the black cards.

If you look carefully at the picture with the side lights above, they are not pointed directly at the left and right of the product. Instead, they shoot slightly from the back and the two black cards on each side make sure that the light from these two sources doesn't bleed to the product edges. This ensures that the white product will not merge with the white background and there's a nice dark outline on the sides. The extra two black cards "shield" the product from the background light, creating the dark outline at the top of the product as well.

Another interesting bit is that the power cable would appear on virtually every photo if we were to photograph the product as-is. So we had to disassemble the vacuum and drill a hole at the top of the unit to pass the cord so it would be easier to remove in post-production.

All in all, it took 7 hours to setup everything and just 40 minutes for the digital processing and packaging of the finalized 360 product view. My suggestion for this type of projects, involving sequences of multiple images is to not save time on the preparation of the lighting setup. The ideal is to leave just a few very minor adjustments for the image editing steps.

The project was photographed with Canon 6D MK2 and the 70-200 lens. It was set at f5.6 and 1/400s in order to freeze the movement of water in the vacuum tank. If it was a conventional vacuum that can shake slightly when powered on, I would need to use a higher speed, like 1/1200, but luckily this was not the case.

And here's the result. Take it for a spin!

I hope this was a helpful insight and if any questions, here's my email. Thanks for your time!

We have recently moved all posts from our old photogear360 blog here, so here's some related material you may find useful: