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How to Set Up Studio Lighting for White Backgrounds

Learn how to set up studio lighting for white backgrounds from professional photographer Chris Ryan in this Howcast video.


My name is Chris Ryan. I'm a photographer. We're here at my studio, Chris Ryan Photography, in northwest Portland. If you'd like to see more of my work, please visit my website at, or if you'd like to follow my daily activities, go to my Facebook page, Chris Ryan Photography in Portland, Oregon. Today, I'm going to talk to you about studio photography. How to set up your photography studio for a white background. The first thing you want to do is change your background from whatever color you're using to white, so we'll do that. Now that we have the white background set up, basically the lighting is the same as a normal photo shoot. You light it depending on the style you want to portray, and/or the subject matter that you're shooting. One thing about using white specifically is that sometimes you wanna throw some light on the background to make that background disappear. Just separate your subject from the white background. To essentially make it look as though the space goes on and on and on and on. As well, if you have some flaws in your paper, you can use the white light to cancel those out as well. And here we have a light that I would use for the background. Currently, it has an orange gel on it. We take the gel off...we take the grid out because we want a nice broad spread on the light. And if we're working with a person, and we're just doing a head shot, then we use the light directly behind them. Because the subject will block out the light, so you don't see that lighthead. If we have a group of people where you can't exactly position this light directly behind someone, the next best thing is to put it off to the side. And if you have two, you put another one off to this side. They both shoot at the white background, essentially making it disappear.

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