White Backgrounds for Product Shots

FotoFuze is a site I ran across back in April, and although I most likely will not have a need for it, this online editing tool might be something that is cupcake with sprinkles on white backgrounduseful for bloggers who take their own photos of products they review, and for those who sell their own products on places like eBay or Etsy. The tool allows you to upload a photo (of your own of course, or a “free to use” photo from somewhere like morgueFile, remember copyright rules apply) with a not so great background, and transform it to a product shot on a white background. If the object or product in the photo is nice and clear, FotoFuze can help you clear out the messy or busy background and replace it with white.

Easy – honest! For those just starting out with product photography of their own and who don’t own photoshop, this can be pretty helpful.

The First Image Test Using FotoFuze

A test image of a calculator showing original background and new white background.I spent some time with FotoFuze running a couple of tests. The first image I uploaded was old shot of a calculator, on a background that wasn’t really white (actually, it was far from being white). The photo I uploaded was the original size (3008 X 2000 pixels), used their mask tool and processed the photo to the white background. Fairly quickly too – since the outline of the calculator was simple, it didn’t take long. And the processing was fast. But, what I got back was a much smaller image – one that was only 570 X 378 pixels. The results, however, were pretty decent for an online tool that only took a few minutes. Certainly they’d be very usable in a blog article or in an online shop where images don’t need to be 3000 pixels wide.

Testing With A Smaller Image

The second test I ran was an old flash gun photo, on a very rough looking background. The results A vintage flashgun for camera.weren’t bad – there’s a little shadowing at the bottom of the flash gun that I couldn’t control, and the colouring on the flash gun is slightly different, but again – for an online tool and for someone who has no experience in “fixing” a background, the results would be very acceptable (in photoshop, I could do this as well and still have the flashgun it’s original colour, but the point here is for those who don’t have photoshop the results are suitable). Before uploading this photo, I resized it to 450 X 450 pixels, just to see if I’d get a smaller one back, or the same size one. What I got back was 570 X 570 pixels. I’m not too sure why it “upsized” the one I got back, but it looks okay.

Sizing Photos

Part of the idea of my second test was to see whether the “downsizing” was based on a percentage of the original image size, but it obviously isn’t. I’m not sure what the maximum upload sizes are, or how they decide the size you get back, but I suspect no matter what you upload, it’s going to come back at 570 pixels.

That being said, they do have an option to get a “paid” account which allows for more features than those offered in a free account. The paid account allows you to get back larger images (I didn’t find any indication of what size those larger images would be, or if it would be the original size.), and also allows you upsize images (apparently more than what they did in my second test). The site is also supported by ads, so a paid account would be ad-free, and you get faster processing time.

What I discovered in running these two tests within a few minutes of each other was that while the first image processed in no more than a few seconds, the second image took longer to process. While it was processing a notice came up indicating that the process time was based on your site usage – so the more you use within a certain time period, the longer the processing will take. That I assume is only for free accounts, and paid accounts probably don’t have that restriction. This video from FotoFuze gives you a quick idea of how easy it is to “fix” your backgrounds.


How to use FotoFuze! from FotoFuze on Vimeo.


Paid Account, Privacy and Gallery

Another feature of the paid account is a sales tool for Etsy fans. Since I don’t use Etsy myself, that has no interest for me, but it may be quite useful for those with shops.
Shows an image being fixed in FotoFuze.
While I was checking out the FotoFuze site I noted the front page had a slideshow that displays “recent fuzes” with the before and after image (no longer there), so naturally I wondered if the images are accessible by others.

During my second test, I noted a button next to the processing options which allows you to select “private” for the images you process, so you aren’t sharing your images. I logged out and looked at my account page, and what I saw was the calculator photo (which I didn’t make private) and not the flash gun photo, which I did make private.

You can test that if you want by doing the same thing – run a couple of your own tests making some private and some public and then log out or have a friend go to your gallery to check which images they can see and which they can’t.

Details

Their terms of service are simple, and they have options for anyone wanting to file a DMCA notice if one of their images has been used without permission. The sign-up is simple – a username, password and email address is all that’s required for a free account. There is also a contact link to ask questions, or request help.

Summary

Personally, I am not too likely to use the FotoFuze Service, mostly because I can manage (now) to take photos on white backgrounds that actually have a white background. Setting up a proper studio with lighting definitely helped with that (as did some years of experience), but when I need a boost to my background, I just use Adobe Photoshop. After having paid $600+ for it (then multiple $200 payments to update it a few times), I sort of feel like I better use it.

FotoFuze looks great for beginners though, and for anyone who doesn’t want to purchase an expensive piece of software. The other bonus is that you can access it from any computer, so long as you have an image (like on a thumb-drive or laptop) you can still edit photos anywhere, even when you aren’t at home.