Taking photos of people or products against a clean white background is perhaps one of the most common studio photography techniques in use — and an essential skill for any studio photographer using off-camera flashes and lighting. That hasn’t stopped the US Patent and Trademark Office from granting Amazon one of the most bizarre and seemingly needless patents we’ve heard of in a long time: a studio lighting setup that allows photographers to “achieve a desired effect of a substantially seamless background.” Yes, Amazon now holds a patent for taking photos with a “near perfect” white backdrop.

The details of the patent itself are slightly more focused, calling out specific lighting placement and even the placement of a 21-inch raised…

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