I am trying to get the best quality images of these products using a lightbox/light tent (similar to this one) and a basic Canon IXUS 960IS without a tripod.

As you can see I keep getting grey/blue shadows. I cannot seem to master it. I am unsure if I need a better camera, better lighting or a DSLR with a flash. The majority of these products are transparent like the case in the image above.

Does anyone have any tips? I don't want to spend too much money. I've trawled the net and can't find exactly what I need to be doing.


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    \$\begingroup\$ Welcome user! Nice work with budget equipment. Glad you came here to ask this, come back later :) \$\endgroup\$
    – dpollitt
    Commented May 5, 2015 at 0:44
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    \$\begingroup\$ The whole image is bluish; and the shadow is bluish everywhere, not only behind the cover. I would start with setting the correct white balance with a grey card. Also seems the lights are Fluorescent. In that case it is safer to set the shutter speed to full period of mains to keep white balance constant (1/60 if the mains is 60Hz). \$\endgroup\$
    – Iliah Borg
    Commented May 5, 2015 at 13:51
  • \$\begingroup\$ @IliahBorg I agree with custom white balance. Disagree with gray card. Gray cards are made for metering, not white balance. \$\endgroup\$
    – xiota
    Commented Jun 15, 2019 at 15:42
  • \$\begingroup\$ @xiota 18% Grey cards are 90% white cards that are 2½ stops away. Neutral grey cards CAN be used for white balance because they're neutral. You have been misinformed. \$\endgroup\$
    – Stan
    Commented Jun 15, 2019 at 17:55
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Stan Gray cards can have tint. They're fine for consistency across images, but in this case OP wants to eliminate a color cast, which the gray card might not help with. \$\endgroup\$
    – xiota
    Commented Jun 15, 2019 at 18:07

3 Answers 3


The blue shadow is from light going through the blue-tinted transparent cover. Here are some suggestions:

  1. Put a secondary fill light where it can illuminate the background. You might position it behind the background, if that is translucent.

  2. Mount the objects on some type of hidden stand, such as one going through the backdrop, so that shadows fall outside the picture.

  3. Separate the objects, if that doesn't upset the composition, so the cover does not cast its shadow on the S6.

  • \$\begingroup\$ There is bluish shadow by the phone distal to the cover. \$\endgroup\$
    – xiota
    Commented Jun 15, 2019 at 15:38

The whole image is bluish; and the shadow is bluish everywhere, not only behind the cover. I would start with setting the correct white balance with a grey card

Ok. For now, forget the gray card, you already have two places where to extract the "gray-white" balance from. The background itself and the source light.

If your camera supports custom white balance, take a photo of the background, not overblown or overexposed, but underexpose it until it looks grayish. Then use the image as white balance.

There are cons and pros about using the background as the white balance target.

The pro is that the background will look white... This will be the definition of white itself on your image.

The Con is that if it is the case that the background is not actually white, but, let's say a slightly bluish or whatever, all the colors will shift a bit to the opposite side, a bit warmer in that case.

If I chose then, to use the light itself as a white balance target, I would need to mask the background to correct it a bit... which implies more work; more accurate colors, but more work, so, for now, use the background.

If the shadow is blue because the case is blue, I would leave it as such.

I would expect a good enough CRI on the light your box has, but regardless of the color accuracy of the light, the white balance can be almost fully controlled targeting the background or the light source.

What would be the difference between fixing the white balance in the shot, vs in post?

Normally, both would work, but in your case, you are blowing a lot the white, so this renders the white unusable to fully fix the white balance in post because you are clipping color information. (Every color overexposed enough turns white.)

This is why you can half fix your current photo, yet have some blue in the shadows.


Your example looks great. I'd be proud of that work.

I would continue your session and "fix" the colour result with an image-editing program to the effect you're striving for in post-production processing.

That will have the added benefit of ensuring all of your session results are matched.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Quite apart from the question you asked, I find the "problem" to be a feature. I like it. That a "blue" is a rather receding hue generally adds to what I like about your result. If all of the shots are similar, I'd call that a "style" notwithstanding the quest for "technical" perfection. I wonder how the art/director would interpret it. Just sayin' \$\endgroup\$
    – Stan
    Commented Jun 17, 2019 at 13:29

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