Lighting a background
Evenly in Tight Spaces?
Q. Ok I have one
Most of the work done in my studio is art nude or headshots, but my issue sometimes
is lighting a white or other color seamless paper background evenly, for 3/4
or full body shots. My studio is 18’x24′ which gets the job done, but for this
task, I find it much easier in a larger space to create more distance and use
flags to avoid spilling on the subject. What techniques and modifiers do you
suggest to accomplish this in the space I have? Thank you for a great and helpful
Well using softboxes for a background is an ideal way to go as the can be directed
inward from both sides crossed center so the light feathers and produces a soft
even controlled light source across the entire background with little spill
outside the area, and a small card attached to the side toward the subject and
extending the side of the box longer can create a flag that keeps the spill
almost nonexistent on the subject.
Next best would be umbrellas feathered as well, but the nature of umbrellas
is harder to control and even feathering is harder to effectively control as
they are inherently uncontrolled sources.
That said you can use them than place flags between them and the subject, this
is a workable approach but not so easy in small studios and is only suggested
if softboxes are not easy to come by or usable.
Another approach that is workable (see diagram below) and has been used as a
last resort and often as a easy approach in larger spaces is the direct head
or bare reflector aimed at two flat on either side of the background bouncing
all the light unto the background itself. Almost as if you were going
to shoot the lights at the subject from behind as rim lights but than placed
two white cards angled to block the light from the subject and redirect all
the bounce toward the background. This is best achieved with v flats (in
large studios these are often 4×8 foot tall taped sheets of foamcore white/black,
but you can use 3×4 sheets as well)