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Might sound like an obvious question but would like to hear your response on practical reasons why are the backgrounds of most product images in ecommerce white? why not black?

I have seen on website's like blogshops where they show the product worn on the street. however its still mostly presented on a white background as the primary product image.

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Because white is only color that can hold all other colors on it without causing eye stress or limiting the choice of second color.

If you look at this Adobe Color Wheel, you will see that each color has specific colors that go along with it well - in a way, they limit the type of color the products should have to be displayed in on a given background color. But you can't limit the type of color a product should have to be displayed on your e-commerce website - so white wins..

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In addition to Dipak's correct answer about the color white, I would like to mention the psychological effect a product image on a plain color background has in comparison with contextual product images shot (for example) on the street.

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A plain background will bring focus to the product and allows the user to take a better look at the product. It can reduce any anxiety the user might have about whether or not the product is going to work for them or fits them.

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A product can be described to have certain ports and outlets, but user like to be able to see it to make sure.

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With clothing, this allows the user to see all the stitches and wash fades (or whatever you call the lighter parts on the pants in the image) more clearly.

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Contextual images can enhance any properties the product might have. Like this portable speaker which is highly portable, sturdy and apparently sandproof.

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For this couch it's works to see it in a contextual setting. It gives more information about it's size and other properties. It's even an opportunity to sell other products. Just look at that nice lamp! And what a coincidence, it's listed in the suggested products! ;)

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  1. White is the colour of light. To make a good product shot, you need lots of light. If the background was any other color, you would see that there are light 'stains' on it.
  2. Black background products are associated with luxury. Black is the only other option, since it is just as neutral as white. Gray shades may not match between the photos and coloured background gives risk of the wrong color pairing. The product may be hardly visible or just looking bad (pink product on red background).

As you see, for the black background we have the light reflections, so it's not entirely black. White would make it much more practical.

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