Classic Ecomm set up question

Dave Doherty

TPF Noob!
May 18, 2021
Reaction score
Hi all, shooting Ecomm fashion for some clients, mostly god results but with certain colors, I see some glare. This is obviously a result of overexposing the background (as you do).

I understand that I need to over expose the background relative to model exposure, to avoid unwanted glare from background, by simply cranking the back lighting.

I place model as far from background as possible also.

Doing these things but the glare creeps back in and it’s pretty stressful.

Can be seen with black or navy garments.

Set up: two model lights and two back lights.

Back lights are bare bulb strobes with umbrellas.

I use a poly board on one side and neg the other.

My question is, does anyone have any tips generally?

And I was considering getting a couple of strip boxes and back lights which would control the light more and perhaps reduce glare.

My solution thus far has been to reduce backlight to grey and cut out, which is a crap solution.

Any help or positive contribution is greatly appreciated,

Dave, welcome to TPF, I'm not on here much myself.
You should post a pic of the problem you're having. Yes, with a white BG you WILL get a lot of reflection to back-light the model. I'll have to look to see if I have any dark against whit, i'm sure I do.
My goal is to blow out the BG(BackGround) to make it what is called "paper white" that means no color(the color of the printing paper, or in digi, 255.
BUT you're right you wanna do that w/o blowing out the model from behind! With 4 lights you should have pretty much full control.
My sample pics are 4 lights. two keys on octa boxes and to umbrellas on the BG.
Yes pull your model as far from the BG as possible. 8 feet if you have the room. I'm usually about 4 feet.
most of the time I flag the umbrellas to not cast as much spill on the model. You get more than enough kicker from the white BG. You can flag with real flags or I use black cloth and hang it from the lights with clothes pins. I weight the bottom of the umbrella so it doesn't spin.
The strip boxes might do the trick. I've got two but never used them for that, I use them only for bodyscapes.
Not sure where you're using the poly-board? Use some to flag the umbrellas.
I point my umbrellas more at the BG with one higher that the other to make sure my BG is white from top to bottom. You should easily be able to get it right in-camera, no need to be switching out the BG. If THAT were the goal use a green screen.
I think flagging will make all the difference. If you always use a white BG once you get it right it will be a easy. You'll might need to open up a stop for the dark colors.
In my shots I want a hint of shadow to ground my model, in your case you might want them floating?
Hope this helps and glad to help if I can. Good luck!
Hi SS, thanks very much for the reply.

Yes it feels like it should be easier than it is.

For years I worked on an ecomm set but the difference is, it was a full time gig and I was literally switching the lights on and shooting. Efficient.

The trouble with that was you kind of become clueless as you never have to set up! Just switch on.

This is that set /s.


Black flags I guess at the back, then white polys all round model for high key images.

I haven’t used flags and my backdrop is bigger and I guess therefore more “dangerous”.

I’ve definitely got my model further from the BG than in the previous set.

To answer your poly board question, it’s actually a roll of paper (same idea) and I’ve tried to imitate my previous set.

I have no flags, just umbrellas.


Perhaps you’re spot on with your prediction about lack of flags.

I just always considered them as spill blockers. Rather than glare stoppers?

Anyway, I need them either way!

Spending a lot of time and money on cut outs !

Thanks again,


PS, yeah I leave a little reflection there too.

Most reactions