A white background tutorial from 2012. Published. Copyrighted upon creation. Etc. Enjoy.


Stand up to bullies.

in other news: Belinda and I finished working on, The Lisbon Portfolio. The photo/action novel I started back in 2002. I humbly think it is the perfect Summer vacation read. And the perfect, "oh crap, I have to fly across the country" read. It's in a Kindle version right now at Amazon. The Lisbon Portfolio. Action. Adventure. Photography.  See how our hero, Henry White, blows up a Range Rover with a Leica rangefinder.....

Remember, you can download the free Kindle Reader app for just about any table or OS out there....


  1. It's occurred to me that they want a patent to defend themselves against patent trolls who say Amazon's photos infringe on their patent/copyright?

  2. Hmmmm. It's occurred to me that they want to go after other online retailers who set up a studio and start shooting products on white backgrounds that look the products on white backgrounds that they, and everyone else in the world shoot. My mind puts the patent troll shoe on their oversized foot...

  3. I don't see how Amazon got this patent. There is so much prior art published on this very technique, and it is hardly novel thinking on their part. What next? A patent for clicking a button online to buy something? Oh, wait...

  4. See, I'm thinking Jedi mind tricks. I once sat next to a guy who worked on advertising campaigns for GAP at a wedding - I asked him if they minded that whatever campaign they create will inevitably be ripped off by all the other mid-price yuppie fashion labels the next season. His response was that it would bother him, if he was an artist, but as a "business creative" he thought it was great that GAP was setting the tone, and every competitor's ad was also functioning to remind people about the GAP. Maybe the same effect is being intentionally sought here?

    The thing about this Amazon patent is that it would be almost impossible to litigate. It's not a trademark on white backgrounds as part of your brand identity, but a patent on producing a characteristic type of white-background image using EXACTLY their set up. To sue and win they'd have to prove that you produced the signature look with an identical set up, down to the angles and positions of everything in the studio.

    So why file an indefensible patent? Could just be bean-counter over-reach, but maybe they published this KNOWING it would set the internet grumble-machine to medium rant and WANTING to get the process out there to be copied. The reflective/transparent floor thing is a clever and easy trick that others could adopt without necessarily violating the patent. A lot of product photographers may make use the ideas in the diagram, and the end result will be that everybody's product photos look like Amazon product photos, so every ecommerce sight in the world will have a little bit of "Amazon-ness" built right into it. Just looking at the product photo anywhere else on the we would serve as a subliminal reminder to check the Amazon price...

    Not that that's less evil, but it's differently evil. Now, as to whether or not the apparently incompetent hacks in the patent office should ever have granted recognition for this studio set up as a genuinely novel "invention"...

  5. It's a good policy to assume they are up to some form of rat bastardry for sure Kirk.

  6. As obvious as this patent seems to be, there actually is more to it than most of the press about it. I still think that it's a bad patent, but you might find this analysis of it to be interesting:


    It also seems to be a much narrower patent than is generally stated. It involves a setup to require no post-processing, and the claims include specifics.

    Hopefully this will bring more attention to the many problems that our patent system has.


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