Creating a gradient with lights on solid white seamless background

Discussion in 'Lighting Equipment' started by brandon_scott|1, Feb 1, 2014.

  1. I am trying to refine my lighting technique for creating a gradient on solid colored backdrops. White or Gray backdrops using strobes preferred.
    Can you guys share lighting setups that you would use to create this effect? Diagram or snapshot of the actual setup please.
    Here is an example of what i'm talking about.
    Thanks for the help guys, i'll post my setup after a few people respond. I hope some people experiment and come up with something completely different from my method.
  2. Look at where the highlights and shadows are. Looks like the light was set at about the 7:00 or 8:00 position (think of a
    clock dial), with no light in the background. Possibly with a grid spot or small softbox, set at an angle above the object, but
    not directly above, based on the hard shadow on the right. Hard to tell if a fill card was used on the other side--based on
    the hard shadow I'd guess not, but you could play with that.
  3. yes, probably a softbox (w/ grid?) above and slightly in front of product and edge feathered for fast falloff on the curved upward background
  4. I did this with a softbox over the subject masked off so it didn't reach the curve of the sweep which was 8 or 10 feet behind the 1 ft high subject.
  5. Well the gradient is simply light falloff so that will naturally happen with the more space you have in the background. To speed up that process and in the normal smaller working conditions you will need to control your lights with grids and position the lights that they are not directed at the background.
  6. Start with an overhead light, not necessarily a soft box, with a diffusion screen (AKA "scrim") just over the top of the set.
    Use black Fomecore or mat board above the scrim to keep the light from going towards the back of the set. You can lean
    these flags against the lighting instrument itself, they are working like large barn doors. Also try tilting the scrim towards
    the fron of the set - this is particularly effective if the lighting instrument is in a soft box. If you have the room increase the
    distance between the object and the back of the set, and if you need to be extreme use more flagging below the scrim but
    parallel to it.

    But the real key is lighting from above, setting the light quality on the object, and then controlling the light quantity.
  7. My biggest issue when creating this is actually having the gradient fall off too fast or too slow (one of each in the images provided). I have never tried grids, but I imagine that would only make it fall off even faster. I don't have a behind the scenes shot of my first example image where I used 3 soft boxes and flags on left/right sides as well as a scrim to shade the backdrop. I was able to do that one with a shallow space between object & backdrop (2-3 ft).

    Because of the light bouncing off the walls and ceiling I hung the cardboard over the backdrop to block some of that. The cardboard & kraft paper left a horrible color cast but I was limited on resources so I made it work and fixed the rest in post. The light on the right is pointed through corrugated plastic (not opaque foam core like on the left side for reflector).
    With the handbag, I tried to keep it as simple as possible with just light placement and object position. This was not successful at all because I couldn't light the object without sending too much light to the back.
  8. Here is the handbag image
  9. How about posting the actual shot.
  10. From what I have seen commercial photographers create the venette on the background via airbrush. Makes life a lot easier.
  11. Also your lights are to hard and creates hard shadows with no soft edge transfer. large soft light source like a soft box will help.
  12. This would be an ideal gradient... easy to create in photoshop but it looks completely unnatural.
  13. Try to create the gradient in camera without the purse. Your round lights are not going to give you a horizontal straight soft edge. You will need a rectangle soft box. Position it directly above and just behind where the purse will be placed. Aim it straight down and check the results. Next make a flag and place it on the back side of the soft box to make a lip to help cut the light from spilling on the upper portions of the backdrop. Make adjustments as necessary and feather the soft box towards the background. You will just have to tinker around.
  14. Michael, that's exactly what I did with the statuette photo above. Since I also had to provide some specular highlighting to show the bronze character, I lit from both sides at about 30 deg out, and carefully masked that to keep it off the background. I used duvateen wing drapes both to keep the side lighting off the b/g and to keep the splash light from the paper from reaching the b/g. The deep separation between the subject and b/g helped with that.
  15. Charles did you have a grid on the soft box? or did you just control the light via a flag.
  16. No, I used a 24 X 36 softbox, matted down to 12 X 36 with black wrap (Cinefoil), and there was a blackwrap flag hanging down off the back of the s/b about 4-6" That gave me the straight edge of the shadow. Everything else was about keeping the front lights off the b/g.
    I couldn't use a grid because the pattern showed in the specular reflections off the bronze statuettes.

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