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No shadows on white background

Peter M , Jan 29, 2004; 04:26 p.m.

How would you suggest to set system if I have 3 monolights, white paper background, and want to shoot full-length person? And want to see white background around object w/o or w/ minimal shadows.

Additional info: I have 1 octabox (47”), 1 Photek Softlighter umbrella w/ diffuser (46”), a couple of regular umbrellas (+shoe flash w/ slave and gold/silver/white bouncer). Also I could have 1 regular softbox (approx. 1.5x2’).

BTW, is generally lighting a background with one softbox from top (e.g. boom) good idea?

Help appreciated.

Thanks, Peter


Steve Levine , Jan 29, 2004; 06:48 p.m.

Shadowless backgrounds, are the results of having the subject far from the background and the lights at an angle as to cast shadows out of frame.Lighting the background will also "wash" away shadows too.

Ellis Vener , Jan 29, 2004; 07:04 p.m.

you have to "light in layers" light the background and light the subject seperately.

Tom Meyer , Jan 29, 2004; 11:51 p.m.

I've found that (in front lighting) if your vertical subject is darker than white and resting on a white surface, you will get at least one shadow no matter what you do, unless you overexpose the vertical subject where it meets the horizontal white surface. This is because the light reflects more efficiently off the vertical subject (and toward the camera) than the horizontal surface. Backlighting the subject lets the light glance off the white surface (toward the camera) without over exposing the subject (whose back is toward that brighter light). This can produce a shadow from the subject extending toward the camera at the subject's feet. Most white background images do not show where the darker subject touches the white surface. If they do, there is a shadow, or they are retouched.

My best results have been with a powerful head just above the subject, bouncing light off a white ceiling, with a small flat or screen under that light, but just above the subject's head (to keep the hair from over exposing), and a second or third light on the subject from the front/side(s) depending on the look I want on the subject.

I prefer to have all light on the subject deliberately placed, rather than from incidental "blow back" off the seamless, although this "look" is often poresented as a deliberate effect itself. This means I keep the subject as far from the vertical part of the white sweep as my microscopic studio allows... t

as close as I can get, while keeping even light all the way down the legs/feet. Un-retouched.

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