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“Photo against a white background” the full light setup of amazons patent

The media and public already took a good shot at this: U.S. Patent 8,676,045 from amazon is basically a photo against a white background!
Because everybody only shows drawings we thought we provide you with a light setup and make it available for download.

The patent in itself is the standard method with which photographers light an object or person in front of a seamless white background. This applies to almost every photographer – the light assembly might vary – but the result should be the same.  But do all photographers and product photographers have to fear to be sued by amazon for taking pictures in front of a white background?

We will see in the future, though it is amazing what you can patent nowadays.

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“Photo against a white background” – Top View from the amazon patent

Excerpt from the patent application by amazon. So to speak, behind the scenes. The light setting is not really spectacular.

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“Photo against a white background”- amazon setup from the site

Even the process is described in every detail.
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“Photo against a white background” – order of steps involved

Banalities like the order in which the lights have to be switched on were defined. One should first turn on the lamps for the background, then only the main light. After that the model can be placed on the podium and only then can the shooting begin. Ohhhh common, wipe the smirk off your face :)

The original patent specification can be seen here: US Patent 8,676,045

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Amazon Patent Light Setup rendered with set.a.light 3D

It is not entirely clear what amazon wants to achieve with this patent. Do they only want to protect their images on the web, so other online stores can not publish images with the same seamless background or is it a move to facilitate the brand image. It is unclear at the moment but images were taken in front of a seamless background since the dawn of photography, film and photography studios use strobes and other lights all the time to illuminate their subject.

The lawyer and photographer Dana Manner from Miami (USA), who has also uncovered this story has rebuilt the light setup in set.a.light 3D and made it available for everyone. In addition, Dana Manner wrote a letter to Jeff Bezos and demanded a clarification on the claim that amazon has INVENTED this light setup.

The whole article by Dana Manner can be read here: LINK

3D rendering of Amazon Light setup Front Right View

3D rendering of Amazon light setup front right view

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View from the back into the light setup of amazon. In order to really recreate the setup you need to have a lot of equipment and space to work.

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View from above into the studio. If you are downloading the .set file below for set.a.light 3D, you can view it effortlessly from all directions.

Setplan Exporter in set.a.light 3D – in here, the light setting can be export into a PDF.

That is how the light setup looks on a model. With 15 flashes it is not a minimal setup and can be recreated with less effort ;)
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Amazon Light Setup – Left you can see a rendering from set.a.light 3D with all lights on. On the right we have turned off the main light.

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Amazon Lighting Setup – Again on the left all lights are on and on the right we only fire the background lights.

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PDF Setplan (light diagram) from set.a.light 3D on how to recreate the amazon light setup.

One can see that the light setup works really well. Maybe with this patent amazon inspires some of you to work on your own perfect white seamless background. They clearly delivered a well made plan for you to replicate. Though, please modify it slightly before you use it in your shots.  It is possible on a smaller scale and with less equipment involved. We once showed on our blog a simpler version for the perfect white seamless background. You can try the setup in set.a.light 3D or create your own. Share them with us because we would love to see them here.

Download the “Patented-amazon-light-setup.pdf” here and get a closer look at the setup or use the .set file to have the complete setup so that you can see and manipulate everything in set.a.light 3D.

A big thank you to Dana Manner who created this setup and shared it with us.

Download: Amazon Seamless – Dana Manner.set

Please use a PC that has a good graphic card, as there are many strobe lights involved in this setup. Remember, do not publish any real work with this setup: D: D: D

As you know even if you HAVE NOT BOUGHT set.a.light 3D, you can still open setups and have a look around in our set-a-light 3D Viewer!

Also the Setplan can be printed. You have nothing more to do then to install our trial version which will convert into the Viewer after 15 days.

For more information check set.a.light 3D HERE where you can download a trail version from us.

Have fun with the setup :)

This post is also available in: German

One comment

  1. Thanks for the English translation guys!

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