Question alert!

Discussion in 'The Professional Gallery' started by russrom, Feb 13, 2007.

  1. russrom

    russrom TPF Noob!

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    Ok, I have a portrait shoot this weekend and the individual wants to shoot with a plain white bacground. I have never done this and would like to know the concerns/advise on lighting and problem areas shooting with a white backdrop. Thanks!
     
  2. Big Mike

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

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    To get a white background to appear white...it will probably need more light than the subject. When I shoot portraits with a white background, I set up my main light and then set up another light on an optical trigger and point it right at the background.

    Ideally, in a studio set up with all the right equipment...is shouldn't be too hard to get a nice white background. I'm not there yet, so I usually end up doing some editing on the background to get it just how I want it.

    With this one, I didn't have a lot of room for the background light so it was off to the side. I didn't pull the backdrop (bed sheet) tight and all the folds caused shadows...so I pretty much edited out the whole background.
    [​IMG]

    For this one, I had more room and pulled the sheet tighter...which meant a lot less editing.
    [​IMG]
     
  3. russrom

    russrom TPF Noob!

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    Thanks Big Mike, this is very helpful. My next question was do people find it easier to use sheets or a paper roll, I guess that one was answered also! Thanks again Big Mike.
     
  4. Big Mike

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

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    Rolls of paper are probably easier...once you have them set up and if you are working in a studio area. I've been setting up in people's living rooms...and I don't want to be hauling a 10 or 12 foot roll of paper around...so I've been using sheets.
     
  5. russrom

    russrom TPF Noob!

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    I am doing the same. That's not really an option then I guess. HaHa!
     
  6. jemmy

    jemmy TPF Noob!

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    I am a big fan of white backdrops... As i havent yet got a studio set up, I settle for lots of natural light and a fabric (actually white uv blockout curtain fabric) backdrop which measures approx 8m x 4m. It does the job well imo, but Im sure once my studio is built I will be loving white seamless and an endless selection of lights x :0) x Here are a couple of examples. Only problem I have had really is if you shoot in RAW and then adjust white balance to cloudy (which can be beautiful for warming up skin tones) it also warms up the white background to a rotten shade of pinky/apricot! x

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  7. Jazz

    Jazz TPF Noob!

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    I also like white backgrounds. You'll want to have as much space as possible between your model and the background. I use two lights on white seamless, one on each side, with a reflective meter reading on the background 1.5 stops more than the main light. Good luck.
     
  8. Peanuts

    Peanuts TPF Noob!

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    I love shooting on white backgrounds - except for the few issues that one can run into and are pretty much unrecoverable.
    1. If you can, get two lights for the background - I usually have one light about 1/3 of the way in on both sides. The problem of course is metering it - if you don't blast it with enough light, you have to edit it (big pain), but if you use to much, it will start bleeding into your subjects (even worse)

    2. Make sure your main light is on (sounds obvious eh?) I recently did a shoot where somewhere in the middle, the main light was turned off, I couldn't tell with my histogram or LCD because the white ceiling and backdrop were providing enough 'bounce' to make it look normal, but once it was on the computer screen. Yikes!

    Some were mildly recoverable - but still, defintely something to avoid.

    (Here was a recoverable one - not the lack of catchlights, and somewhat dull skin tonality. I had already tried to recover the skin as best as possible, if I went any further, I don't think I would have enough gamut to make it look realistic)
    [​IMG]
     
  9. russrom

    russrom TPF Noob!

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    I cant tell you guys how much this is helping.

    Jemmy, Jazz, Penuts, Thank you.

    Jazz I have a friend that told me to meter 1 stop more but I am going to play with it all. The good news is I have enough lights for a football game!

    Thank you everyone.
     

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