Grey Background Photography: Guide For Pro Photographers

Updated on May 4, 2024 in Photography by

Grey Background Photography: Guide For Pro Photographers

Unlike other photography backdrops, Grey background photography is the most versatile photography style.

From pure white to complete black—photographers can use a grey background to get their desired backdrop just by adjusting light and its distance from the background.

There’s a reason why more and more photographers are keen on learning Grey background photography.

Why use Grey background Photography?

Why use Grey background Photography?

Being a neutral color, a grey background does not affect the color of light that falls on its surface. This allows photographers to achieve a range of colors using lighting, distance, and color gel filters without a need to balance them with the backdrop color.

Additionally, if you are using grey color as the background, it offers:

  • Neutral Backdrop: For any backdrop, it is important that it should not be a distraction. Rather, the backdrop should highlight the subject of the photograph. Grey background for photography does exactly the same. Being a neutral color, it ensures that the viewer’s attention is on the product and the model.
  • Timeless Aesthetic: Just like a white backdrop, Grey background photography ensures a timeless aesthetic and product presentation. While other trendy colors and hues might change over time, Grey background photography has stood the test of time. Show real life case to support this argument
  • Enhanced Contrast: Grey backgrounds provide better contrast compared to white backgrounds. Especially in times when the product itself has lighter tones, the grey background photography creates a visually appealing separation without taking attention away from the subject.
  • Adds a little mood and texture: Depending on the shade of grey background, it adds a little accent and mood—without affecting the product itself. Moreover, it ensures that the images on the website stand out from the background of the website itself. Hence enticing customers to click the the product images even more, increasing product page visits.

How to start Grey Background Photography?

The very first step is to determine what result you are looking for. Grey background photography allows you to capture your subject with various backgrounds.

To get started, let’s take three scenarios:

  1. Black background using Grey backdrop
  2. White background using Grey Backdrop
  3. Colorful background using Grey Backdrop

It is important to note here that there are various shades of grey, namely light-tone grey, middle-tone grey, and Charcoal Grey.

Middle Tone Grey, also known as 18% grey, is a mid-point between black and white. While Light tone and Charcoal grey will have some effect on the background, Middle Tone Grey will act as a neutral canvas for photographers.

How to get Black Background Using Grey Backdrop?

To achieve a black background using a gray backdrop, we will position the subject away from the background and closer to the lighting.

According to the Inverse Square Law in photography, the intensity of light will decrease as the distance between surface and source of light will increase. Resulting in less light falling on the surface.

Hence, the further the background is from the light, the darker it will get.

Since Middle tone grey has no reflective quality of its own, the background for the image will turnout to be completely black.

Black Background Using Grey Backdrop

Let’s understand the scene with an illustration.

1. In the above image, A and B represents the distance between background & subject as well subject and camera respectively.

2. To get a black background on a grey backdrop, we increase the distance A, that is the distance between the subject and the background. We will also place lighting closer to the subject.

3. Also, we will keep the decreased distance B, that is, the distance between the camera and the subject.

As a result, we should get a completely dark background with a well-lit subject in the frame.

How to get White Background Using Grey Backdrop?

To get a white background using a grey backdrop, the photographer will have to add additional white strobe light that directly falls on the backdrop.

Now, position the subject at a distance where white light doesn’t make the details burn out. This will depend on the exposure and intensity of the light one will use.

Because of the grey background photography, the white light is reflective, and it will be affected by the background itself. Making it easy to capture products and models on a white background using a grey backdrop.

White Background Using Grey Backdrop

1. In the above illustration, we have added an additional white strobe light that is illuminating the grey background—which now appears to be white.

2. We reduce the distance A and adjust the lighting to make the subject look appear in natural lighting.

3. Regarding the distance B, that is camera and subject, we will try to keep it close. Enough to ensure that details are clearly visible.

How to get Colorful Background Using Grey Backdrop?

Getting a colorful background using a grey backdrop is another skill that can help the photographer capture creative product and portrait images.

Place your strobe light facing towards the background and apply color gel on the light. This will change the color of the light, falling on the background. Now adjust the distance between light and the background if you need dark color or light color.

Once you have the desired background color on a grey backdrop, place your subject right before the lighting and capture it.

Colourful Background Using Grey Backdrop

1. Just like White background using grey backdrop, we will put a strobe light between background and the subject. Furthermore, we will add a filter gel that is used to change the color of light.

2. Now, to adjust the intensity of the color, you can increase or decrease the distance between background and strobe lighting to get inverse results

How to get a different background with a Grey backdrop in Photography?

Hand Picked Grey Background Ideas For Photography

For photographers looking to remove background and replace it with grey backdrop, here are a few handpick grey background ideas that you can use.

Solid Grey Background

Solid Color Grey Background

Grey background photography has seen a rise specially in eCommerce product images. With more and more brands looking to white background alternative, grey is often their go-to color for product photography.

Depending on the brand’s style, eCommerce uses a solid grey background. Some of the most commonly used Grey background color codes are:

  • #F2F2F2

Texture Grey Background

Textured Grey Background

Photographers also use textured grey walls or stock images for marketing and portraits. A grey background for commercial work can easily be found on stock image websites like Unsplash, Pexels, and Adobe Stock.


Above, we have shared a grey background photography guide that shall help you understand the basic use cases of a grey backdrop.

Needless to say, we are seeing a rise in the demand for grey backgrounds for product photography as well.

Practicing grey background photography yourself will help you understand the use of lighting and distance much more effectively.

That being said, you can always hire professional photo editing services like PixelPhant to replace the background for bulk images. Get a free trial of our service right away.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Grey background good for photography?

Grey background is a good choice for photography as it is highly versatile and allows the subject to stand out. It can be used with various lighting setups to create different moods. Grey background photography is great for product photography, portrait photography, editorial photography, food photography, and more.

How to remove grey background from photos?

To remove a grey background from photos, you can use the PixelPhant AI background removal tool. You can remove the background from product and model images without losing the quality or size of the image.

How to add grey background to an image?

To add a grey background to an image, remove the existing background using the PixelPhant AI background removal tool, and place the new transparent image on a grey background. You also work with professional retouching services to get consistent and high-quality background replacement service.

Beautiful product images across your website.

Background Removal, Clipping Path, Color Correction, Cropping & Resize, Retouching, adding Shadows, and more.

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