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Lighting White Seamless

Lighting White Seamless

 

In this blog post we will talk about seamless backgrounds. Our goal is to find out how to create a seamless background for a close up portrait, half body portrait and a full-body portrait.

We have a selection of reflectors to choose from to light the background. We rather focus on lighting the background than the model itself. In a second blog post we will focus on how to light a model with a single light source and a seamless background.

What is a seamless background and where is it used?

A seamless background enables you to separate the subject from the background. You can see this in your daily life nearly everywhere just look at a cover of a magazine. The model normally is shot on a pure white background and afterwards her cutout is placed with all the other graphics and colors on the cover. Studio photographers also often use seamless as well as product photographers.

Is there a right way for a seamless lighting?

The answer is yes and no. Basically the background needs to get overexposed. Keep in mind that you only want to overexpose the background and not the subject. If the subject gets over-exposed, then the edges of the subject can burn out. To avoid this it needs a certain amount of practice. Set.a.light 3D can help you with this and gives you the ability to see and recreate your lighting results over and over again. A “wrong” seamless happens when the background is not overexposed enough, then Photoshop will have a problem to create a clean selection and this will cost you a lot of time in post processing.

Light distribution with different flash units

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Here you can see how different the light spreads by the three flash reflectors. We compare them to see which one has the broadest light emission. The first one is a reflector M with a diameter of 23 cm and a depth of 18 cm. The second one is a reflector S with a diameter of 23 cm and a depth of 13cm and the third one is a reflector with a diameter of 34 cm. Our choice for all three setups is reflector M because its lamp shade is the roundest among the light shapers. Its light emission is ideal for the distribution over large areas. You can see that on the left image. It creates the widest and roundest light beam.

Setpan 1: Close Up Portrait

We start with a face portrait. Our aim is a background free of any shadows. Because we only need to fill a small area with light one flash should be enough. As you can see the reflector is not visible in the background because we only take a picture of the close up.

Positioning of the light source

In this PDF you will find all the relevant information about the light setup with exact details: Seamless for Close Up Portraits

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Setup 2: Half body portrait

For a half body portrait one single light source is not sufficient anymore. The background needs to be filled out by a broader light surface. Otherwise the light fall off to the sites of one light will give you a gray vignetting in your image.

seamless_one_light_half_body_portrait_one_reflector_1

Positioning of the light source

When positioning the flash reflectors you should make sure that they are symmetric and aligned at the same height. Several useful information on the positioning of the flash units you’ll find in this PDF: Seamless half body portrait

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Setup 3: Full body shot

If we only use two flash units for a full body shot we will have a problem because of the vignetting around the legs and the feed. These are very hard to cut out later. Also unwanted shadows can occur when the light sources are not aligned properly. Therefore we decided to use four light sources. Two light sources lit the background the other two the floor. Make sure that your setup is symmetrical. This ensures a shadow free lighting of the fore- and background. Please note that it requires a certain room size for a full body shot with an equally lightened background. In our setups we chose a background that is 5 meters width to make sure it is properly lit.

Positioning of the light source

To keep the foreground on which the model stands shadow free, the two flash heads should be tilted so that the foreground is uniformly illuminated. You can see in this PDF what we did for a full body portrait: Seamless full body portait
seamless_four_light_full_body_portrait_1_EN

Conclusion

A perfect seamless shot requires a shadow free background. You have seen that the number of flash units depends on what kind of portrait you want to take. The more you wanna show of a model the more light sources are required.

Here you can download set.a.light 3D file for your own studio photography and try all the three setups by yourself: “Seamless Background

If you have any great tips and tricks how to get a good seamless background please share it in the comments.

Have fun trying out,

your elixxier Team

This post is also available in: German

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