Sunday, December 13, 2009

Studio Lighting: Part 3- Shooting on a white background

The key to photographing on a white background is simple, over expose the background while avoiding lens flair, and exposing your subject correctly. Sounds easy yes? Well there are a hundred and one ways to do it and depending on your subject matter the techniques change. I'm going to focus on portraiture since that's what I do, but below are some links to tutorials that discuss how to work with a white background when shooting products, on location, etc. For the family portrait above the set up is simple. Key light is at camera right with two background lights pointing directly on the background.  Exposure is 1/200 @F13 ISO 200. The background lights are parallel from each other. This keeps the background evenly lit so there is no shadow or gradation of tone where the light would fall off. There was no need for any other fill lighting since the white background actually does a great job of acting as it's own fill card.
 For the next image Terice is modeling (She loves to have her photo taken which is good because I'm always using her as a stand in!) The set up here is your classic three light pattern: Key at camera left (and about 20 degrees from me for a broad light across the face), background light directly behind her, and rim light for the hair and a little fill. Oh and Terice (since I know you're reading this) that was a great hair day for you. Exposure for this image is 1/250 @F7.1 ISO 200. The thing I like best is the rim light on her neck and jaw. I love it when my shadows are delicate and the light is playful. It makes people look great and in turn they think I'm some sort of magician. 
Later this month I'm photographing a huge family group. There are two many of them to shoot all together so instead I'll be shooting them on a white background individually and then creating a panorama in photoshop. The white background makes it easy to combine (no long hours required) and shooting the people individually makes for great smiles on everyone instead of a group photo that is so-so. Don't worry I'll blog about that with details of the shoot and post processing. For now you'll have to spend your time pouring over these other blogs and become a master at the trendy/timeless look of the seamless white background.


1 comment:

  1. Good post.Can you update the post with information on the settings for key light, hair light and background light