how to shoot people/products with clean white background?

Discussion in 'Lighting Equipment' started by roberto_leriquemo, Nov 5, 2006.

  1. shooting digital, nikon d70. system: dyna lite 1000 watt second pack and three
    heads. i have to shoot people and food and product with a super clean white
    background but am having trouble with bounce, white balance and fall off. i
    have exerimented with different set up including: 1)bounce head off white
    ceiling and use soft box/ umbrella for people subjects. 2) two heads pointed at
    white seamless at approx two stops higher than main subject light aimed at person.
    i find that i am either getting too much bounce and distorting hair or lighting
    on background is uneven or background is not stark white.
    i can achieve results by removing subject via photoshop background eraser and
    moving to new white document but i do not want to expend the effort.
    help please to learn a regular set up that i can use as a formula which always
    works.
    thanks.
     
  2. position the soft box approximately 6 feet away. angled it slightly above the subject to
    serve as the main light. For the background, make two standing walls made of black/white
    foam core. Each wall consisting of two 4x8-foot sheets angled and taped together at the
    edge so that they would be self-standing. then use 2 bare heads to bounce into the white
    side of the foam core so that they would evenly illuminate the rear white background wal


    The black sides of the foam core faced into the set. This helps to knock down any
    additional ambient light on Clarence.

    light meter reading next to your subjects f/5.6 at 1/125th the white background should
    be 1/2 stops brighter than the subject. As a rule, I usually try to stay approximately 1 to 1
    1/2 stops brighter on the background than on the subject. As you might expect, there are
    exceptions to this rule. One such exception worth noting is to determine how dark the
    overall subject matter is...good luck
     
  3. position the soft box approximately 6 feet away. angled it slightly above the subject to
    serve as the main light. For the background, make two standing walls made of black/white
    foam core. Each wall consisting of two 4x8-foot sheets angled and taped together at the
    edge so that they would be self-standing. then use 2 bare heads to bounce into the white
    side of the foam core so that they would evenly illuminate the rear white background wal


    The black sides of the foam core faced into the set. This helps to knock down any
    additional ambient light
    light meter reading next to your subjects f/5.6 at 1/125th the white background should
    be 1/2 stops brighter than the subject. As a rule, I usually try to stay approximately 1 to 1
    1/2 stops brighter on the background than on the subject. As you might expect, there are
    exceptions to this rule. One such exception worth noting is to determine how dark the
    overall subject matter is...good luck
     
  4. All are good ideas, but if you can add 1 more light to light up the subject, and 2 lights to light up the background you may have better control. Bouncing will not really give you the best results.
     
  5. trw

    trw

    One bare light...

    Light in front of model, to her right, a diffuser panel between them shading her but not the background. a large reflector to her front-left, and a small mirror to her back-left to pick up a hairlight.

    I wish I could remember the website I read this on.
     
  6. thanks guys, but i don't really understand this set up.
    if i tape 2 4x8 sheets together and will use as bounce, won't both sides be either white or black? you say face the black into set to cut down ambient but how can the black face in if the white is to bounce in as well?
    also, won't there be visible lines where the pieces are taped together?
    your description sounds as if i am building a box with one end open to shoot from so there will be either all white or all black facing into the set and the back will have a split.
    what am i not getting here?
    and where can i buy sheets of foam core that large?
    finally, will the foam core work much better than the white seamless hung from a stand that i have been using?
    thanks very much.
     
  7. With people: light the background seperately. Meterthe light falling oin the background
    and if necessary make the background lighting about 1/3rd of a stop brighter than the
    light on the subject (as mewasured with an incident meter. You may need to place shield
    (AKA" flags") to keepo the back ground light from spilling on to the subject or being seen
    by the lens, which would cause flare.

    For products, put the light in a large softbox softbox on a boom and position it over the
    set. generally you want it more on the bac kground than you do on the front of the
    subject but play with positioning. It als osometimes helps to use a diffusion scrim across
    the the top of the set and a foot or two beneath the softbox. You can then position
    "gobos" of other diffusion materials or black mat board on the scrim to further tune the
    light. Also try tilting the soft box in relation to the scrim to make a really nice gradated
    light fall off.

    And use "Super White" Seamless background paper.
     
  8. Roberto,
    One piece of foam core is actually 2 taped together one side black and one side white then
    make four boards like that.....then take two of those boards and with the black side facing
    out tape one long side together with black tape to creat a V...the inside of the v (white side) is
    facing the background and has the head in it and the outside black side faces the camera but
    it is out of frame....
     
  9. Hello Roberto, You might also try placing a softbox behind your subject facing the camera.
    00Ihy4-33386684.jpg
     
  10. The foam core is not the bacground...it is sort of a very large open ended soft box to light
    your seamless background evenly....your pointing your strobe head into the inner V white
    side to bounce light in a even way onto the background...you can buy these boards at art
    supply stores like Pearl
     
  11. simple answer is to determine your exposure for the subject, then add two lights in umbrellas to evenly light the background. Set the exposure for the background to be 1.5 to 2 stops above the subject. Keep the subject out in front of the background at least 4 feet but more distance is better. Then light the subject as you normally would. The backgorund and the sweep need to be lit evenly or you will experience off color whites in areas with fall off. The other easy way to salvage the shot is to use a layer mask in photoshop.

    Regards, Jules
     
  12. Manfrotto has a new product demonstrated at Photo Plus in NY that you shoot a background
    light into, which lights the background up; sort of like having a large softbox behind the
    subject. it's quite large. I stood in front of it for a quick portrait by the salesperson and it did
    the trick.
     
  13. I have successfully used a slide projector screen. It bounces light like crazy, allowing me to use less flash power and/or smaller f stops.
     

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