Creating Seamless White Backgrounds With One Flash and a Reflector

The traditional way of making a white background go into a seamless white look involves shining a flash’s output onto a white surface at one stop higher than your main light. But it doesn’t really need to be that way. In fact, you can do it with a single artificial light source. This tutorial works well for headshots and in the right situations and tweaks, it can work with products.

Better yet: You don’t need to spend a whole load of money.

The Lighting Setup

lighting-diagram-1464108306

This looks simple enough. Essentially what you’re doing is bouncing a flash’s output off of a window shade and having a white reflector behind your subject bounce the light back. Of course, this is a much more involved process, which I’ll get to in a bit.

Here’s what I used:

However, you can do this with a much more affordable setup or even a more expensive setup. Just know that this is what I used.

Shooting

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Single Flash seamless white background setup (1 of 1)ISO 8001-220 sec at f - 1.4

So this is the setup on real life. It’s not glamorous–but it’s more than good enough to get the job done.

A couple of notes:

  • Make sure that the smoothest side of the reflector is in view of the camera. Rotate it around.
  • TTL works fine enough, but with manual flash output, start at ISO 400 on your camera and around 1/16th on your flash. Then adjust from there. Try to go for the shutter speed that is in line with the reciprocal rule of shutter speeds and use a long lens. It will let the image absorb the most ambient light in the scene.
  • Have your subject sit closer to the front of the seat. It will give more space between the person and the background
  • If you’re doing this yourself and you’ve got a connected camera, you can basically create self portraits with ease.

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Single Flash seamless white background original (1 of 1)ISO 4001-160 sec at f - 4.0

Now here’s what the photo looked like out of the camera. And below is how I edited it.

Editing

Here’s how the edit went.