simple high key tutoriall

Hi everyone,

This week I have a simple tutorial for you on high key white background photography. It's easier to do than you think! First off what do you think the background is? It’s a speed-light inside a large soft box. Make the big soft box the background, set your camera to manual, expose for the main light at somewhere between 1.5 and two stops darker than the background and you get a blown out background with a properly exposed subject. That's it. Simple right? Well it is!

In this case, the camera was set to ISO 200, using 1/250 second shutter speed, aperture was set at f/2.8 – the soft box which is the white backdrop for this head shot has a speed-light inside set at 1/4 power. The other two speed-lights providing the front lighting are setup with shoot through umbrellas in a clam shell lighting configuration. For those who don't know what "clam shell lighting" is it is simply one light directly overhead of your subject and one directly underneath to form a "clam" on your subject. In this case the light above the model is set at 1/16 power and the light pointing from the bottom up is set at 1/32 power. No ttl metering here just simple straight forward manual flash. The amount of space needed to do this shot was about 50 square feet.

I used the Nikon SU-800 to trigger the three flashes. You can use whatever your brand of flash/speed-light trigger and DSLR camera you have at your disposal. If you only have access to 2 speedlights that is ok to. Use one speedlight to light the sotbox positioned in the back for your white backdrop and use your second speedlight to light the top of the model. Now in place of your third speedlight just use a large silver reflector positioned underneath and as close the subject's face as possible while keeping it out of the camera frame. You'll get near the same clamshell effect. It’s simple, quick, effective and produces reliable results. Try it for yourself. For those of you that are interested in seeing this technique executed in more detail and live I do plan on doing a beginner's strobist style speedlighting workshop sometime early 2013. Keep an eye open on my blog posts or at my Ron Gergely Photography facebook page.