enter image description hereI am trying to take a photo of a banner against an off white wall. Is there a way to get a pure white background and the banner colors not be overexposed? I am using a point a point and shoot camera on auto settings. Right now, the picture looks a little/blueish.

  • Bluish is common color temperature (white ballance) adjustment. (Or a reference to the end of Yellow Submarine.) Why can't you move the banner or slide a paper behind it? Paper with a color not found in the subject would be easier than white when the brightness varies so much. – JDługosz Dec 30 '14 at 21:34

ideally you should light the background and the banner separately. This might be quite hard to achieve this look if you are using auto mode though. Does your camera have a manual mode by any chance?


  • oh ok. And yes, it does have a manual mode. – jenny Dec 30 '14 at 17:14
  • I think you need a bit more detail there... Manual mode is all well and good, but your basic suggestion means image compositing and you should probably explain that. – John Cavan Dec 30 '14 at 18:42
  • Do you have any editing software? I made a video on this exact subject on my youtube channel but if you don't have any editing software it might be worth having a look at this free software gimp.org/downloads – Leon Dec 30 '14 at 18:43
  • Hi John, lighting the subject and the background would be taken in one shot so no compositing would be necessary. I suggested using manual mode so you can take full control of the camera and make the exposure as bright as you need for the look you want. – Leon Dec 30 '14 at 18:45
  • @Leon -- Most people using P&S probably don't have appropriate lighting gear for that purpose, so I took that as light for the background (or overexpose) and then light for the banner and merge after. (As an aside, use the "@" before the name and you will notify the person) – John Cavan Dec 30 '14 at 19:23

No, it is not possible without manipulating the results in an editing program.

  • While true, the how you would do this is probably a more real and complete answer. – John Cavan Dec 30 '14 at 18:43

With the banner against the wall, rather than separated from it, you have to make the subject look right and fix the background in PS. Use a tripod and take a series of bracketed exposures. Tools for HDR/tone mapping might make quick work of the resulting stack, or IAC the overexposed version is good for making the mask.

I have a similar issue with scanning old magazine pages: I use color-match selection and delete the off-white paper leaving only the ink. Making the wall evenly lit would be the most helpful there.

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