Product Photography Using Neutrals

Wait!  I can’t find brown on the color wheel!
That’s because it’s not there.


Actually, that’s not true.  Brown is just dark orange, but usually, it gets lumped in with the non-colors:  white, black, gray, beige…  The neutrals.

This is the third and final installment on strategically using color in your product photography.  If you missed the first two posts, you can go back and catch up on using complementary colors and analogous colors

Neutrals are a great way to make sure your work takes the spotlight in a photograph while still having some non-distracting backup interest.  This has been my default mode of operation lately as it works for almost everything, makes my product photography look consistent, and requires less planning overall.

Plus I don’t have to constantly change my shirt.

Here, I’ve got a pair of bright blue mittens.

neutral-bright 1

I don’t want the background to distract from their blueyness, so I’ve kept everything else in the photograph in good old non-offensive neutrals.  Gray shirt, white background, and thankfully, skin tones are always neutral as well.  This would be a lot more difficult if I was a smurf.

Neutrals also pair well with… more neutrals!

neutral-neutral 1

Hey,  look.  Same gray shirt. 

And this time, I’m wearing a tanny-beigeish scarf (I’m an art teacher, so I can make up the names to any colors I want).  Neutral item, neutral background, everybody’s happy.  The only tricky part here is you want to avoid matching neutrals.  So, for instance, I would probabably not want to wear this shirt when modeling a gray scarf.  You do want some contrast. 

This also works when you’re not using a model, but you want a little more going on than just a plain white background.


Neutral river stones, neutral pincushion.  I still want that pincushion to be the focus of the photograph, but he would look mighty lonely out there all by himself. 

Well, I hope someone out there has gained a smidgen of enlightenment from this series

I’m off to puree some barley.  No, really.  I was going to write that I was off to do some knitting, but I don’t want to lie to you.  Next on my to-do list is making baby food.  To the food processor I go!


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