Inspired by Zack Arias’s white seamless tutorial and needing to take head shots for a friend’s daughter who is involved in acting, I recently ordered two light stands, a crossbar, and a roll of white seamless. My dining room and our computer room both have large north facing windows with Palladian arched windows above them for lots of natural light.
Ultimately, the computer room provided the best lighting setup, angled right in front of my desk. (I could claim that my desk is usually much neater, but I wouldn’t expect you to believe me.)
I messed up and only got a six foot wide roll of white seamless, so I won’t be using it for any large group shots. 🙂 I’ve already decided this stuff is probably the most economical way to buy drawing paper for your kids, although I won’t be sharing that thought out loud or my roll might disappear.
Those clamps are insanely hard to squeeze open, but they keep the paper from unrolling.
[I ordered all of these things from B&H Photo and paid no shipping, a perk for NAPP members.]
As far as lighting goes, I’m using sunlight, bounced on-camera flash, and a reflector. Amy and Angie from iHeartFaces gave me a Lightscoop at BlissDom. I’d never tried it, but decided to see if it would block and deflect my on-camera flash, while triggering my external flash unit placed to the side. (That sentence doesn’t even make sense to me, so I hope you get it.)
The funny thing is that I started using the Lightscoop and completely forgot about the external flash. For $30, it’s really an inexpensively brilliant little contraption.
My kids are good sports and let me experiment on them.
Here are a few of the head shots for our friend.
[How many pictures are too many in a post? Will Flickr explode?]
I manage to completely blow out my first shot each time I begin. I also tend to really like those blown out shots.
The key elements have been keeping the focus on the eyes, watching for catch lights, and having someone who is paying attention hold the reflector.
Lens vignetting really shows up with the white background. To eliminate it, you can drag the Amount slider under Post-Crop Vignetting (in the Effects panel of the Develop module) to the right in Lightroom. You would drag it to the left if you wanted to add a vignette.
If you start to wash out clothing color and detail when using this slider, just use the adjustment brush to increase the exposure on the darkened areas instead.
What do you think? Do you like the white seamless background effect? It definitely isolates your subject.
Some day I hope to create a real studio when we’re able to finish our basement, but for now I’m thankful for what I’ve got, and a location that can utilize natural light.