Home Studio Photography – white seamless shoot
Home studio photography is a fun and rewarding way to produce professional quality images on a budget, and in this series we've looked at some of the challenges that you'll need to overcome to ensure your canvases look great. This week we're going to dive head-first into one of the most technically difficult methods a photographer will have to face – the full-length, white seamless shoot.
Lighting the background
Achieving an evenly lit background is relatively easy if you have the correct gear. The best way to do this is to use two lights ─ one either side of the background ─ into reflective umbrellas, shot so that they cross each other. That is, the left-hand light is used to light the right-hand side of the background and vica versa. If space is a real issue it's acceptable to omit the umbrellas and use something smaller, like a softbox or reflector: as long as the light is evenly spread you're good to go.
Lighting the floor
If you happen to walk past a home studio photographer's house and hear some industrial language, you can be pretty sure that he or she is trying to light the floor on a white background shoot! Many photographers simply wave the white flag at this point and resort to using post-production techniques to overcome the shortcomings in their knowledge. This is okay if you only shoot a few images at a time, but if you have dozens to process it soon becomes a chore. The other problem with this method is that it's easy to end up with your subject floating in a sea of white rather than being grounded by their shadow.
Thankfully, there’s a relatively simple and cost-effective solution: white hardboard. This durable material is often found as a backing panel in cupboards and drawers, but for photographers it's virtually a gift from the gods! Take a trip to your local DIY hardware store and pick up a couple of large sheets (approx 2m x 1m) and lay them down where your subject will be standing. As the light from your background strobes hits the board it will help to create a seamless white floor with a beautiful sheen and soft shadows.
Light your subject
Now you've solved that age-old problem, you simply need to light your subject nice and simply with a single strobe through your favourite modifier in exactly the same way as we've previously discussed.
Next time we'll look at some of the potential problems you're likely to face and how to overcome them.