White background

Started 5 months ago | Discussions thread
Sailor Blue
Sailor Blue Forum Pro • Posts: 15,527
Re: White background

Derek 1906 wrote:

I have a small space as well.

Seamless white is very difficult without lots of space so you can separate the subject from the background. Turning the shadows into a part of the images like Donald B is one way of handling this.

I prefer the smoother light spread from white reflection umbrellas vs silver ones but either will work.

With white you have to use a black backing to reduce the stray light, light from the background lights illuminating the subject, and the chance of lens flare. Silver umbrellas have non-removable black backings.

If you get light from your background lights illuminating the subject then you have to find a way to block that light.

You can attach pieces of black paper, cardboard, or plastic cardboard to the light if it is just a bare hot-shoe flash.

If you use an umbrella or a 7" metal bowl reflector on a strobe you need to use another light stand with a clamp to hold a flag of some sort such as a sheet of black painted cardboard, plastic cardboard, black foam core board, or even black fabric in a frame.

Here is a cheap DIY Justin clamp I made with a spigot and some hardware from Walmart. I put an old umbrella bracket on top a light stand and add the Justin clamp. With this combination I can adjust the flag to any height and to any angle. It is also great for holding reflectors.

A clamp with a wider jaw would have been better but I already had the A clamp and male spigot. All I had to buy was the 1/4"x20 cap nut. With a female spigot a short 1/4"x20 bolt would have worked.

Using silver umbrellas with black backs helps with even coverage, but the problem I have is using them at a high enough power to blow out the background to pure white also wraps around the subject.

That is why I stress that the background should only be 1/3 stop overexposed. If you make the background brighter then you are more likely to get the light reflected from the background causing the edges of the subject to be overexposed.

The further the subject is from the background the better too.

I did a test and I could basically light the subject strictly from the background lights (very badly).

That sounds like a lot of stray light. Adding black curtains or black foam core boards to the walls will help. Here is a video by Zack Arias showing what he does in a small space.

One word of caution, if I remember correctly Zack is still using 1 stop of overexposure for the background in these videos, which is a guaranteed way to cause problems.  Of course this means he can show you how to minimize those problems.  Stick with a halo of 1/3 stop overexposed background around the subject and you will start out with fewer problems.

Zack Arias - Lighting White Seamless Pt. 1 - YouTube

Zack Arias - Lighting White Seamless Pt. 2 - YouTube

so what I actually do is use the umbrellas to get even coverage at a lower power, and then use the Lightroom brush to make it completely white in about 30 seconds or so.

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