Achieving The Perfect White Background.

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by candylover, Jan 26, 2010.

  1. candylover

    candylover TPF Noob!

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    Hello,

    I'm trying to get a white background but it's so hard. I'm wondering if anybody has any suggestions. I have included some pictures. Including the way my strobes are set up. The background still looks Grey. I tried following Zack's tips, but it doesn't seem to be working for me. He doesn't even recommend what kind of strobes you might need.
    I have 5 strobes The 3 of them have 200 watts and the other two are more powerful and contain 3 light bulbs per each head (250 watts).

    Do you guys think I should get strobes with more powerful watts? If so what would you recommend? or Is it the way they are set up, cause I did try moving them. Please let me know. I will really appreciate it.

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  2. fiveoboy01

    fiveoboy01 TPF Noob!

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    I'm not an expert here but I'm going to assume that you need to blow out the background to get it white in the photo. Do you have the background strobes turned up all the way?
     
  3. Josh66

    Josh66 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Yeah, you need to overexpose the background by at least 1 or 2 stops to make it white.
     
  4. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    First of all, I don't think you are working with 'strobes'.
    A 'strobe' light is a light that outputs it's light as a burst or flash. What you appear to have are just lamps.

    That's OK, you don't need strobes...especially if you are shooting still subjects.

    My guess is that your problem is with metering. When a camera sees a scene that is mostly white like this, it just thinks it's a bright scene and wants to expose it as a 'average' scene....so you get an underexposed (grey) image.
    What you need to do, is adjust the exposure away from the camera's metered reading. In this case, you need to add exposure. You can do that by adjusting the EC (exposure compensation) or by putting the camera into manual mode and inputting the settings yourself.
    If you are using actual studio strobes, then you would need to have the camera in manual mode.

    That should help, but there is another issue.

    If you adjust your exposure so that the background is white, that may make your subject too bright. So what you need to do, is control the amount of light that is hitting the subject compared to the amount of light that is hitting the background. This is why we use separate background lights.
     
  5. kundalini

    kundalini Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    From your setup shot, it looks as if all your lighting is on the subject. You will need to nuke the background for white. If you're following Zack, then I'm sure you've seen this tutorial. Notice how he is hitting the background with separate lights and using barn doors to prevent wash.

    (you've also got a hot spot on the toe of the shoe)
     
  6. jnm

    jnm TPF Noob!

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    you really should only need 1 light for the background in order to blow it out for a subject that small. as said before make sure your background light is set 1-2 stops brighter than your subjects light. when they are the same power or the foreground is brighter is when you can run into issues of the backdrop looking grayish, especially if you need to adjust the exposure down a hair. if you cant adjust your foreground lights to be less powerful throw a layer or 3 of white bedsheets in front of it, just do it in a way you wont burn anything down. it will soften the light too, if thats what you want. you can also pull them further back to reduce their power.

    also, it can be toughest to blow out the part of the paper at the bottom that creases so experiment with elevating your subject on a box 1-2 feet up, still using the paper and plexi.

    to save these pics you can always use the brush in lightroom to select the white area and bump up the exposure, but it's best to get it right first.
     

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