Create A Studio Style Backdrop In Photoshop

    Jennifer Farley

    If you’re showcasing a product on your website or in a print ad, you can make it look more professional by giving it a decent background and by adding a few special effects.

    For my “product,” I’m using a photograph of a non-descript media player which I downloaded for free, here from Stock Xchng. Thanks to Pzado.

    1. Create a new Photoshop document. For this example, set it to 800 x 600 pixels with a resolution of 72ppi.

    2. Fill the entire document with black by pressing D to set the Foreground color to black and then pressing Alt + Backspace (windows) or Option + Delete (Mac).

    3. Select the Elliptical Marquee tool from the toolbar and draw out a circular marquee. Hold down Shift to constrain it to a perfect circle as you drag. Fill the circle with white. Press Ctrl + D (windows) or Cmd + D (Mac) to deselect the circle.

    Black Background White Circle

    4. Choose Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur and set the Radius to about 90 – 100 pixels so that the hard edge of the circle is completely removed and you get something like this.

    Black Background White Blur

    5. Select the Rectangle Marquee tool and drag out a selection that covers approximately the bottom two thirds of the document.

    Two Thirds Selection

    6. Press Ctrl + J (windows) or Cmd + J (Mac) to make a duplicate of the selection and put it on it’s own layer.


    7. Using the Move tool, drag the new layer down to the bottom third of the document. This will be the surface our product will be reflected on.


    8. We need some contrast between the two layers. Make sure the top layer is selected and choose Image > Adjustment > Levels. Drag the middle slider to the right to darken this layer. Click OK. Press Ctrl + E (windows) or Cmd + E (Mac) to merge the two files.


    9. Now to add a bit of color. This background effect looks good in many colors, but dark blues and greens tend to look very stylish. Choose Image > Adjustments > Variations. The variations dialog box lets you see how your image will look in various hues. Click on the More Cyan preview. This adds more cyan to all of the preview images.


    In the top of the screen you can see your Original and Current Pick. Press More Cyan once more so that your Current Pick looks something like this. Then click OK.


    10. Ok, now we’re ready to place our product. Open up the image of the media player that you downloaded from Stock Xchng. This image is much larger than the background we have created so we’ll need to take that into account in the next few steps. I used the Pen tool to make a selection around player but you can use any selection tool you want, just make sure that you don’t include any of the white background in your selection. If you want to use your own product, photograph it on a white background.


    11. With the selection made, press Ctrl + C / Cmd + C to copy the selection. Go to your background image and then paste in the speaker by pressing Ctrl + V / Cmd + V. As already mentioned, the media player will appear huge compared to the background. Press Ctrl + T / Cmd + T to perform a Free Transform. If you can’t see the Free Transform handles, simply press Ctrl + 0 / Cmd + 0 to fit the
    image and the handles onto the screen.


    Now drag the bottom right corner handle inwards, while holding down the Shift key. If you want to rotate the media player, bring your cursor to the edge of the transform corner handle and drag in a circular motion.


    12. To make a reflection, duplicate the media player layer. Press Ctrl + T / Cmd + T to bring up the Free Transform handles again, then Right-click or Control Click  inside the bounding box. From the drop down menu that appears, choose Flip Vertical. Drag your flipped image straight down until the edge of the player touches the reflected edge so you get something like this.


    13. To improve the reflection, lower the Opacity of this layer to between 10 and 20%. Remember that this is quite a stylized piece so it should look semi-realistic but it won’t look 100% real.


    14. Drag the reflection layer under the media player layer.

    Layers With Reflection

    15. Now to make the reflection fade away a little more authentically, we’ll add a layer mask. Make sure your reflected layer is selected in the layers palette, then click on the Add Layer Mask icon at the bottom of the Layers palette. A white thumbnail appears on the layer. Click on the thumbnail to select it. Now select the Gradient tool and choose a Foreground to Background gradient.


    Click at the top of your reflected image, and then drag downward to the point where you want your image to fade away.

    16. Now we’ll darken the whole image a little more. It reduces the size of the glow but it looks more dramatic overall. Choose Image > Adjustments > Levels and drag the middle slider to the right.


    Your image should now look like this:


    As a final touch, I added some text. The typeface used here is Century Gothic in bold for the heading and regular for the rest of the text.


    And there you have it. This is a template you could reuse for many products and it’s easy to change the background colors with variations or hue and saturations adjustments.