When it comes to book photography, nothing is simpler than grabbing a book, placing it on a white desk and snapping away. Or is it? Truthfully, you don’t need a white desk, cool as it might look. While the above photo depicts a section of my desk, I hardly take any of my book photos on my desk.
Book Photography on White Background
What we are trying to achieve is a minimalist look that accents the books we are featuring. Against a white background, there is nothing that distracts from the subjects. An example of this would be the following photo.
Here you can see the red of the cover of Fahrenheit pop against the white background. The contrast sets off the brightness of the book cover.
Achieving the Look
In order to achieve this result, I use an A3 drawing block. I could use white carton sheet boards, foam boards and the likes but that requires me to go hunt down a stationery or craft store that carries them. Drawing blocks are easier to come by, especially when you’re on a budget and happen to have a sister who loves to draw.
All I do is open up the drawing block to roughly the centre fold and prop it up against something — in this case my bedroom door. I use a paperclip to hold the sheets of paper in place, so they don’t fall into my frames. Then I place my book(s) on the white background created by the drawing block and I’m all ready to go!
Benefits of this Method
- Top down photography is much easier because there is no need to stand on a chair to frame that photo on a table.
- Unlike a desk, boards can be moved and placed near light sources.
Propping up boards can bounce light.
- In the above photo, the top of the book should have been darker because it’s further away from the window and so lies more in the shadow. The light turned out much more even because the white paper propped up against the door reflected the light onto the book.
- Different types of boards have different degrees of shine, which allows for experiments with reflections.If you don’t like reflections, you can choose matte boards.
- In the case of drawing blocks, if a sheet of paper has marks, just flip to another clean page.
- The materials are fairly inexpensive.
As White as White Goes
In order to capture a balanced white background that isn’t too bright on one side and much darker on the other, it’s important to find an even light source.
If you would like to know how to brighten your photos, you can refer to Georgie’s recent post on What She Reads, Drawing with Light.