Thursday, January 21, 2010

Shooting White on White


One of the most challenging shots in fashion and advertising photography is to photograph a model wearing white clothing on a white background. For most part, we have seen how to do this in 'Shooting on White Seamless' tutorial. But what if you have to shoot a transparent or netted white cloth on a white background?



In the last tutorial we showed you how to control flare and light leak/spillage using flags, cutters, v-flaps etc. and all that without using a lightmeter. This time, we turn it all around and use a light meter, but no flags/cutters etc. Why? So that you can be more versatile. Really, our aim is not to write a text book and make you live by the rules, rather to show you different rules and how to break them. This is vital in inventing techniques.

So, when you are in a situation like us, to shoot a white netted bridal dress on a white background, in a small 12ft wide studio, with no flags/cutters,...you can do better than what we did here. Take a look at the lighting diagram.


You can light the white background however you like, from the examples in the shooting on white seamless tutorial. Here we chose two large softboxes with their diffusers open...you can see them hanging in the image. This provided a smooth and fairly even illumination. The reason we didn't make it completely even, is because we wanted very subtle shades of gray. The model was lit with a large beauty dish place just above her head pointing at her. A stripbox was placed on the floor for filling light on the legs.

Ok, metering time. Take your light meter and first check the iso and shutter speed settings are same as the camera. Next, take a meter rreading of the main light(beauty dish) by placing the meter under the models chin, facing the light and pop the flash. Say the reading is F16. Now, place the meter around the knees of the model and pointing towards camera. You can keep it F16, for even lighting, but we chose F13 to keep it little subdued. Now, to take the reading of the background, simply place the meter behind the models back, pointing at the background. We need to make sure that the light bouncing from the white background should be around 1 stop less than the main light. So in this case, the background should meter at F11. Reading one stop under whatever the main light reads is the one of the best ways for shoot white clothes on white background.


As always, you have to fine tune the white background like we showed it here. Also, you can try some selective toning from this tutorial here for some hi fashion effects.

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