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White Background Lighting Technique with a Softbox for Tight Spaces


On this video portrait photographer Joe Edelman looks at how to easily shoot an image with a white background when you are in a tight space.

Photography is a lot about problem solving. If you need to shoot a white background portrait and you must do this in a tight space where you simple can’t get your subject away enough from the background – there is a way around this  (the best way to shoot a portrait with a white background is simply by distancing your subject from the background and lighting both your subject and the background separately – but this requires some room).

So how would Edelman suggest that you do this? well, this is pretty simple actually – use a softbox (preferably a large one – at least as large as the entire background that you are trying to fill in your frame). The way you do this is put your softbox behind your subject and put it on max power. Than look at your camera when the “Blinky” is on to see if you are overexposing the background – turn the light’s power down until the background stops to blink and push it back 1 stop up again – the reason for this is that you will probably get a lot of flare which doesn’t look good).

What you do now is use you main light with or without a second light or a reflector for fill – you can even use a white cardboard with a hole in the center for your lens and put it over your camera to reflect some of the light from the softbox back to your subject – a nice trick actually but it might prevent you from making eye contact with your subject.

You can find lot more lighting tutorials on our photography lighting section here on LensVid and more on shooting white white backgrounds – here. You can also check out a few of Edelman’s previus videos we posted here on LensVid on this page.

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