Best iPhone App for Background Editing
May 6, 2020 6:57 AM   Subscribe

As part of WFH, I have to take pictures of various clothing items. Since I don't have access to the photo studio at the office, I'm shooting in a subpar setup in my apartment using my iPhone. Is there an app that can easily remove the background and substitute a plain white (or different colored) backdrop?

Free is fine, but I'll spend money if need be to get rid of ads or other stuff that makes the workflow slower.

I have ZERO experience with graphics or photo editing programs. So it will need to be very intuitive.

I also have use of the shop DSLR camera, which can shoot RAW files, but that seems a bit overkill for what these are being used for (eBay).
posted by computech_apolloniajames to Technology (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I did something similar to this a couple of years ago, and what I found was getting that uniform background is much easier physically than digitally. For me that was constructing a makeshift lightbox out of cardboard; the dimensions of clothing might make that difficult for you.

Try to find a portion of wall in your home that is uniformly colored and large enough, then point a diffuse light up from the floor onto that wall, to obtain the most even coloring you can. With this as your backdrop you'll find it's much easier to edit digitally, and you might even find that you no longer need to.

For that digital editing, I've gotten a ton of mileage out of Snapseed, which Is now available for iPhone. It's not a full-fledged editor but it does have a nice "selective" editing tool that might do the trick. It's free (on Android at least) and intuitive.
posted by dbx at 7:27 AM on May 6, 2020

Facetune is marketed as being for face/body tuning but I use it to remove things from the background of product shots. It's pretty intuitive and can all be done in your phone with your finger. You need the premium version which is $10/year.
posted by assenav at 9:04 AM on May 6, 2020

Yeah, even starting with hanging a solid color sheet is going to be 1000x easier than trying to remove a random background later.

For some examples why, here is an article on how the new iPhone SE figures out what is the "background" for measuring depth using a single camera and no focus pixels. The TL/DR: lots of machine learning and the fact people typically take pictures of people and pets.
posted by sideshow at 9:47 AM on May 6, 2020

I have a part-time job that involves taking photos of items against a white background, and I use this $9 white foam roll from Michael's along with my iPhone. I end up buying a new roll every year or two when it gets grungy. This might be slightly too small for your items but I've been able to maneuver it around to fit my needs (I photograph grocery items rather than clothing, but some can be very large like 72-packs of t.p. back in the pre-Corona days).
posted by jabes at 11:12 AM on May 6, 2020

Response by poster: Thank you for all the answers. The issue with a physical backdrop or background is that I'm not hanging it, as the clothing item (various cycling clothing items, jerseys, bib shorts, shorts, caps) needs to be laid on the floor. I don't have a mannequin or other means of hanging the garment. There is white paper back at the office which I can bring home on my next pickup/dropoff, but there is the matter of having to set up and roll up the paper multiple times a day (small apartment, two cats who roam everywhere).
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 10:11 AM on May 7, 2020

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