Sunday, July 19, 2009

White Seamless Shooting

I've always wondered how images like this were made.
Thanks to Zack Arias' Blog, now I know how. The key to this shot is to light the background using separate flashes from the subject.

This weekend...

I set up my garage studio with a 9-foot wide roll of paper as a background. I used two tile boards as a white floor so that the model (in this case, my daughter) could stand surrounded by white. The set up is shown below:

Starting from the back...
we have two ProMaster LS3 light stands (~80.00) with a Manfrotto telescoping crossbar holding a roll of the Savage white paper. (BTW- You've gotta love the B&H catalog picture of white paper; just a white square!)) I have two 15 LB sandbags keeping the whole thing stable. There is an "A" clamp On the paper to keep it from unrolling. The paper gets pretty heavy once 6 feet or so is unrolled, so keep a firm hand on it or the whole thing will unroll and you'll lose the 40-dollar roll on the floor of your garage. Keep an A-clamp in your pocket and clamp it so it won't spin.

In front of the paper...
we have two speedlight flashes that are able to be tripped as slaves from the main flash. I had to play with the power on the SB900 to evenly light the paper. I ended up with it set at about 1/10 power. The Vivitar 3600 is fixed at 1/4 power. Normally You'd use a light meter to dial in the flash power to get an even spray across the paper. I didn't have a light meter, so I used the camera's histogram function to try to push it as far right as I could. Too much light and it will start to wrap around the subject. You'll lose contrast, so dial it back just a bit.

The subject stands about the same distance from the background as the two speedlights. You don't want the background light to hit her. She stood on two Home Depot tile boards (vinyl sheets used in cheap apartments as a shower wall) These provide a nice bright floor on which to stand. Make sure to clean shoes with Windex or you'll be photoshopping footprints.

In front of the subject...
is another light stand with my home-made diffuser and the grip head. You can see the 10 lb counter balance hanging from a bungee cord. The main light is the SB600. I'd much rather use the SB900 here, but the 600 only has one IR sensor meaning I had to keep it close to the camera or it wouldn't fire.Straight out of the camera, the image wasn't perfect. There were some shadows and grey spots that needed to be taken out. Luckily, Zack's PhotoShop tutorial helped a lot in post processing.

I think the final result came out nice!

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