We'll show you how! Speak to a real person
Made in the UK
Try us for free
Should I use pictures with white-out backgrounds?

Should I use pictures with white-out backgrounds?

Tuesday 16th February 2021 at 08:40

By Rob

Georgia lacey gustavian swedish antiques

Amongst the list of questions I get regularly is, 'should I use images with the backgrounds removed?', or "white out backgrounds".

So in today's article I'll answer this question, compare the two, and let you know what we've found tends to result in more sales.

Should you use images with whited out backgrounds on your website?

Although images with white backgrounds are favoured by many businesses and can give your website a clean look, we don’t necessarily recommend using them. In fact if you were to hold a gun to our heads and made us choose between whited-out backgrounds and lifestyle shots, we'd choose the latter.

The emotional purchase

Lifestyle shots (eg a shot of an item in a room setting) will help sell to buyers from an emotional point of view, sell them that "look", and help sell other items in the shot. In a lifestyle shot you can see the item in action and you can see the size of it, the colour and it gives you an idea of how it could fit in your own living space.

If a visitor is looking at a picture of an antique chair, you want to leave them thinking "wow, I love that look", rather than thinking "nice chair". It will be the look and feeling of the picture, not the item itself, which will sell them and make them buy. It's proven psychology as you can read about in our how to engage buyers brains to buy article.

This 19th Century French Sculptors Stand for example, from Appley Hoare Antiques is pictured with books on top and a wardrobe in the background. The picture creates a look, and a feeling, something that wouldn't be achieved with just the stand pictured on its own.

Sculptors stand


Not using images with white-out backgrounds helps sell more items

When you have lifestyle shots with companion items, it also gives you the opportunity to sell those other items too, because buyers will see them with the accompanying items and be more tempted to buy them, knowing they compliment each other, especially if they want to emulate the look in the image.

Companies like Ikea and RH (in the USA) have been VERY successfully using tactics like this for years. They deliberately set out their stores so that each space feels like a room, in an effort to sell as many items in each space to a customer as possible, rather than just individual items.

So if you're selling an antique desk, then picture it with an antique chair and perhaps some desk accessories set on top of the desk, just as our client Appley Hoare has done in the shot below. This way, as per the Ikea and RH methodology, you'll end up selling all 3 items, not just one:-

Swedish writing table


A comparison

With a white background

A beautiful image - Nice, clean and minimal but a little hard to tell how it's going to look in your dining room. Also you can't get a good feel for the size of it as there is no point of reference, or really appreciate this tables true beauty.
Dining table with white background

The lifestyle image

Below, this stunning lifestyle image gives you a really good feel for how the table will fit into your home. You can see the size of it, as theres a point of reference, and accompaying the table is the PERFECT chair to go with it which will help sell buyers the chairs as well as the table. This image really creates a "feel" for how this item might look in your home, where as the picture with the whited out background just shows the item itself; nothing more.

Dining table lifestyle shot

Do you still want to use whited out images?

If you're not convinced that lifesyle images work better than whited out images, here are a few tools you can use to remove the backgrounds of images.

You may also want to read the article we recently wrote on photography editing software.

  • Background Burner is a free online image background removal tool
  • Clipping magic offers free and paid options for image background removal. It also offers bulk background removal from £5.99 per month
  • Canva allows you to effortlessly remove the backgrounds from your images for a monthly subscription of £10.99. In addition to this its a great image editor and graphic creation tool
  • Remove Bg offers automatic background removal on images and you have pay as you go options and monthly subscriptions to choose from

If you'd like to talk about the images you use on your website or if you'd like to talk about taking up a website with us then get in touch with me and I'll be glad to talk you through your options with us.

We can help you sell online easily too!

We have been helping small and medium sized independent businesses sell online easily since 2004, and we can help you too.

If you need a new website for your business, contact us on...

Click here to contact us by email

or call us on

01332 896 425

As well as a hand held service, all our customers receive a copy of our marketing tips book which gives you lots of tips and advice on this on how to succeed online.


By Rob
Tuesday 16th February 2021 at 08:40

Share this article