Skip to main content

photo & video

Creative Studio Lighting

Lesson 6 of 12

Silhouette on White Seamless

Lindsay Adler

Creative Studio Lighting

Lindsay Adler

buy this class


Sale Ends Soon!

starting under


Unlock this classplus 2000+ more >

Lesson Info

6. Silhouette on White Seamless

Lesson Info

Silhouette on White Seamless

So let's talk about that whole how to get a background to be pure white because I get that a lot so let's let's piece it apart you do need if you're going to do a full length shot you do need to lights if you're trying to do a full length shot and you're lighting with one white light you're not about to get it white and you do need to be able to start with the white background it is a huge pain in the butt to try to change something that is greater white if you're trying to make it look like that high key look so start off with the white seamless that's what I have here um the vinyls okay the cloth is what I usually run into a problem because then I get the wrinkles and then the wrinkle shadows and of having two photoshopped out I spent more hours of my life photoshopping out wrinkles than I would ever like to admit to anybody because I had a white fabric one but I would definitely go with the white seamless and so in what you want are two lights facing the background all right? So her...

e the thoughts of or the things you have to consider the lights that are facing the background um you need something on them so they don't kick back on your subject so if your subject's standing here and you have a bare bulb it'll hit your subject, and that might not be what you want, but also I do setups where it's on purpose, so just we're going to cut that out, ok? We're gonna pretend we'll do that. I do that for creative purposes. So anyway, that's, why I have the silver reflector dish is on there is because I'm trying to prevent that kick that life that would get on your subject that you don't want, um, something else that you might consider that works great is senna foil if you gotta bear bowl when you just want to put the center foil, you know someplace over here that's fine, or like I said before, the gobo ana stand will work fine, so let me turn this pack on, all right? And so what you need to do is a little bit a little bit of it is space a little bit of its space, because if you have a really small space and you've gotta have your light right up against the background, you guys can see it right here that it's more focused on what you're trying to do is get even spread on the background, so what you want to do is try to pull your light as far away from the background is possible, same thing with the other one slip, which one is this plugged into okay good and what I used to do is I point one of these lights lower a little bit lower not super low but a little bit lower so that it lets the bottom half of the seamless and the other one I point ah little bit higher so I make sure I have the top half of my seamless lit and I usually cross them a little bit so I have the top or the one on the right pointed a little bit more to the left and then I'll have the one on the left pointed a little bit more on the right and it kind of we'll help sweep them a bit but the further back you could make them better and that's what you need some kind of dish or something on your subject okay now what I'm going to do right now is create a nice clean silhouette that's what I'm going for um this comes back to if you have a small space you will not be able to get a silva if you have white walls in a small space it won't work because the light will bounce around everywhere so this is one of those cases when you need that black foam core it's not expensive it's definitely worth it get the v flats and so what you would do is you'd put the v flats that let's say this is the white wall you'd put the v flats like, right here so that the blackest towards the subject and so that light wouldn't be bouncing off the wall onto them as much as possible. If you don't have the flats, you'd hang back a black background if you have a black background, tack it up something like that you make do trust me. I've done a lot of that. Okay, um, so the next thing I'm going to do is I'm gonna bring you out here, and I'm gonna stand you on this piece of plexiglass here. Yes, please. No one is perfect. Thank you. And I actually need the other trigger for this setup. Okay? All right. So what I'm doing as I'm looking and I'm making sure there isn't any light hitting my subject and there's not you find a way to do it somehow. All right, so the next thing I want to dio is this beauty dishes not on. Okay, we're doing a silhouette right now, so I'm gonna move it out of the way and face it the other way. So no one's confused, although I will have someone saying, you bouncing off the wall. Okay, so something like that. And now when I'm in silhouette, I gotta pose her for silhouette, because right now, so look she's lovely, but it looked kind of blob like straight on you know, you won't really see anything. So what have you, teo? As I wanna have, you turn this way and I'm gonna have you take your left leg, put it out in front and pop it up on the toe. Okay, so you have can't quite see, but what it does is it gives lots of nice curve, all right? And I am going to flew the dress because dress flu thing is essential to pretty photos, right? Good. And the plexiglass that I have in my studio, you could get a piece of plexiglass it like glass cutters, they have it, they have it at, like home improvement stores, but you want to get it, you know, maybe four by eight foot something like that, but the shiny glass, because what that will do is that is what will give you the complete smooth white background from top to the beginning with what this means is like if I shoot this without the plexi, it'll look bright white on the background and then in the foreground, the bottom will look great, but you can't light it because if I light the ground, then it bounces back up on her, so the only way to make it look white when it's not is to add shiny plexiglass, because then it catches the reflection off the back of the background. All right, so let me give my late a test here, get a little justice. I just pointed at her. Okay? All right, so I think we're just about ready for tether. Okay? And so what have you do is you put that hand on your head perfect with that other hand here and then I need to see your profile. So she's looking at me, I just seen blob's, so I want to see personality head to a little bit more to the right. Just like that. Great. Actually, put your hand down in the back, get a struggling, um, something I notice in silhouette is if you photograph someone in silhouette and they have their hair down, it looks like they have a goatee. So I'm just gonna have you pull the hair on the back side behind your head behind your shoulder. Perfect. Yeah. Just watch for goatees and nose hair e don't look like that if you're shooting in silhouette and the person has their hair down, so just watch for that. Perfect. Great. So when I photograph full length I back up sit down zuman because that makes him look taller versus if I get down really close here it's going to emphasize her thighs and it's not usually what you want to do all those years you find so it's not a big deal um, but I'll back up yeah, right now I'm perfect right now I'm using a twenty four to seventy two point eight signal ins. Okay, let me put my tether back in and what I want to dio is I am attempting to make my background lights around f sixteen to make them light won't to make it pure white what you needed to be is that minimum for the silhouette you need it to be like we're gonna add a light and later you'll see this, but I need it to be if I'm shooting f sixteen on the background I'm shooting at a round off eleven of sixteen here, so that late will be white when I'm shooting eleven and there's nothing on her face so she stays solid black she's far enough ahead those back legs would be of sixteen I'm going to shoot well, we'll see if eleven maybe of sixteen here let's give it a try and shoot hoops I have this on multi click okay, just one more time, all right, perfect can you see with the plexiglass how if it were bigger and you wouldn't have any gray, it makes completely smooth and shiny white now, the only reason that her dress is not all in solid silhouette, it is because it's a shiny dress and it's going to pick up everything but it more or less isn't silhouette overall because I have a great on it. I need a good on that one, okay, so notice see how that would oppose helped her with there, gives a nice curve, gives a little bit more shape, you can actually see her profile. All right, so this is nice and this is this's fine it's high impact what I like this for two is if I have athletes and they have, like, a lacrosse player or something because he's standing there he's got his lacrosse, that cannon is hip, and then I have him turn his head to the sign. So you see all of this really great shape and then a profile, so that looks cool. Um, but a lot of times when people for portrait, so I'm sure you've had this when you put them in still about to look, but you can't see me here like no it's arts, and then they're like, you can't see me, uh, so what we're going to do instead is a safe thing, good so we're gonna inside we're gonna light her, and what I'm going to dio is I'm going to use a bt dish with the grid, so this looks kind of nineteen forties ish because what it will be, it will be a silhouette on her body and then just a highlight on her faith. So like we did over there by adding a grid, we focused the light on her face. It'll be the same thing here just now. We put her body in silhouette, so I'm gonna have you meet her this in a second for me and one of the things over for the bucket, I said if you move closer with the bucket, it'll stay focused longer if you move back, it spreads out more wolf I'm trying to get this just to focus on her upper body. I want a smaller great is I have? I only had the twenty five here, so but if you had a ten that would help you focus the light even more, and I'm basically going to be annoying and put that on top of her, ok? So if I put this right on top of her and her face, sorry, if you check my hand, ok, ready you guys can't see it's but light on my fan blade in my hand and my hand it's dark by here it is dark by mid chest so I can just have a spotlight on her face and it charles down the body a couple tips ifyou're looking like, well, that's a nicely placed beauty dish. Um I would use a boom arm if I could boom it out over the scene. It will be a little less annoy. The other thing is I am aiming some of my background solid white so I can just paint white you know, if you have to photo shopped for space wise um but just try to get out of your way and ah, boom arm would help you a little bit and also a smaller grid with gives me more focus you can actually backup of it. All right, so now let's talk about another option if okay, I'm breaking my rules come not going to show you it, but what you would probably dio if you need a little bit more space, you know, like well, that is on top of her well, the thing that allows you just back up and have more focuses the grid and also a deeper bucket. So if you went ahead and invested in one, I would get one of those tele zoom reflectors or long throws, same names the same thing, so what you can then do is have a very similar effect but you could have it backed up and not on top your subject as much because it's a deeper bucket it'll throw the water of the light farther and you can add a grid to your deep bucket and so then it lets you focus and back up even more so that's why I have those tools said if I'm photographing somebody, I don't need to be on top of them and their face like that so could I have a meter reading on this? Because I don't even know what it's that over here I'm giving us back for good let's get a little test here carry on your face it's going to really write comptel crazy, right? Yeah so I thought okay decrease in which one's plugged in here but so is this one perfect of eleven ok, great that's what I want to be on more or less so I'm actually going to change my picture teo black and white I'm just changing it for the preset for the picture style just cause this is this is going to scream like nineteen forties to me so that's what I wanted at time someone to switch it real quick await when I say real quick then that's not going to find it right just there we go so was changing it to monochromatic if I ever did black and white in real life two color and then switch it but I'm doing for demo sake so I'm gonna sit down backup zoom and can turn your head to me a little bit and put your right arm up okay well soft and in turn your face towards me a tiny bit good just like that good take a look there of a little I'm so bad it framing this one ok head this way towards me good price you will see momentarily it's gonna pop up in a sec okay so it looks very like nineteen forties glam right looks kind of old fashioned in style could I have the black and white highland in her face and silhouette down their body what it would probably do I think that's a good example the one that's up right now something like that um that would be a good example because it's it's drama you know that's the cool shape and then light on her face okay now for the great background if I'm meeting here in that backgrounds f sixteen and I'm a f eleven it needs a little bit more light you need to be at least a stopover but probably stop and a half stop and a half is going to give you more of a white background so what I would go do now is pump that up from f sixteen two f eighteen f twenty two the problem comes in when you go over to stops above that's when you start getting such a blown out background that search to wrap and it gives you lend slower because it becomes its own light source so right now maybe it's not quite as white as I'd want it and that's okay I could take it from sixteen up to eighteen or twenty two there we go so lighten it up just a little bit on the back there let's try that one and I'll be the same thing but more perfect just like that and then hand up to your neck good and if you watch it's going to start to give you a little bit more ramp around so I would say it's just kind of the balance there you're aiming for like one and a half stops over not to not one but you can you turn that from seven down to six that top one yeah pretty close oh, good question. I definitely get that question I mean shoot this real quick and I'll answer let me give it a test so we re tethered okay that's a word to me c camera yes he can. Okay, good. Oh, no it's gonna be an error that day when you test this for me and so you get to shoot um so I usually shoot at half eleven for a couple reasons if I wantto like f eleven it's nice in the middle because then if I want ah highlights were brighter I contain the highlight of f sixteen if I want to more subtle I could make it a fate if um on the low end or the really high end it's harder to get the light that can go lower or higher so I use your pick in the middle also if I have subjects that are moving I'd rather be shooting at eleven because if I'm asked two point eight and they move and then I missed the eyes like it's nice and safe I shoot I don't shoo on like different backgrounds I shoot on like white and black like usually or a color unless amount location that's a totally different story so I don't care about narrative the fields except if maybe I'm doing a really close head shot and I want just the eyes and focus then maybe I'll go down to something wider um I think there's a shot later today we'll shoot pretty wide like five six something like that thank you no problem let's try that again think it's working fine now system perfect right there look beautiful perfect yes okay good awesome hubble questions over there well thank you for clarifying that I think there were still a lot of questions about thie f stop and why that and so I guess maybe just again clarifying about that the wrap around and and why we can see sort of that it's not fully white down on the bottom or perfect okay, so ideally oh here's a couple things um if you ever had in your your studio like I used to have this problem as well if you're shooting on um like a black background and you have this to barn doors sometimes it highlights in the backgrounds not black anymore one solution is actually camera angle because I'm gonna I'm gonna take a shot and show you hear when I'm shooting here ok ignore my ugly frame I'm just des moines you're okay if a shoot here you're going to see a little bit more of the area that wasn't lit versus if I get down low figure down really low you see very minimal of it and she'll see us in a second and by the way also see how much taller she looks at a low angle so see how you see less of that gray area because when I'm high I can see the whole thing when I'm down low because of my angle it reduces it it takes it from being wide to looking at it on a plane just like if you're looking at a countertop, the countertop will look really big above and then you get down and look like a flat plane um but what you would want to do is have white plexiglass that's it take two pieces of white taxi last one here one there another one that people use aa lot is tile board because it's super cheap and it's slightly um has a little bit of a sheen on it or a little bit of a loss so they'll put down two pieces of tao bored it won't be the same kind of reflection as you would get with glossy plexiglass but if you put those down instead of paper which just eats that light then it will stay completely white from front to back and then if you need so late the background of high more you just pump it up a little bit um but I usually aim for if this is f eleven background f sixteen deaf eighteen and then you adjust a little bit better okay? So timeless memories had a question again about the distance from the models of the background are you standard at eight feet? Is that just across the board for the most part as in general general? But it had to do honestly, I'm sure you guys have had the same thing is if you have a studio that you used to, you get comfortable where you have your model where you have your lights because you're working within your studio space so for me it was eight feet cause that was in my second space ever hand that was a ce far as I could get her and that let me have a little bit different you can absolutely do this without a doubt in a smaller space completely um I could move her back let's want it let's try this ready? Let's try to see how small of a space I could do this and I'm gonna have you back up onto the paper you're fine keep going keep going keep going because charm right there. All right, so then what I'm looking for it's a little hard with these lines I'm looking for any spill on her from the side lights here so I'm looking to try to not get that on her and still get some so it's pretty good and I also will do this and just see if I see any light on my hand pretty good so we're gonna try to shrink the space that we need to save this one a little bit higher um what I would probably do because these air so focused is that would probably if I needed to work in a tiny space, take him off bare bulb it and then put a gobo so it doesn't hit her because right now it's focusing the light and I needed to spread out I need to spread out just not hit her so seo no and try something like that okay all right, so that'll be I can no problem get this right now for a head shot the problem is with these teo silver reflectors now it won't get the bottom of the scoop is much so you'd have to try to compensate for that so let's see if I could get a little more for the bottom over here okay smooth this and so let's see if I can do it in like all right let's try something like that dress losing all right so I can run a little test here. Okay. So tiny but all right so if she weren't a reflective dress and more looks diff totally different on my screen poland let's wait for the next into pop of little caylee pump this up a little bit about that okay, here we go and had read towards me looked right at me good so I can get pretty clothes and of course she's wearing a shiny dress so like keep that in mind but it would be darker on her body I'm moving a little bit closer so you can do it in a smaller space it's just like tweaking it so it's a little closer how's that your pretty blue eyes okay closed in a little bit more it's same thing okay think that'll because yeah that'll be okay good so what I was doing there to tweak it was looking and because of how the light's bouncing around the bottom half of her body so there you go okay the bottom half of her body was in dark enough so I'm thinking about the bucket I backed it up a little bit too far and she's getting a little bit of spill from that wall so what I need to do is I need to close down on her face a bit so that this will become darker I need to make the basically the face be brighter and this part be darker so if I move the light closer it goes from basically here was f eleven and spills down her body versus here it could make it up sixteen and so on a shoot of sixteen this area gets darker because the only light it was getting was bouncing off the walls and so now it's going to be darker so that's what you kind of have to tweak with if you've got the back black three flats I put that on either side it eats up the light that would help you in a small space but then some how many feet square is that not? I mean not that you can definitely do it just might have to photo shop out some stands not ideal. Okay. Do you guys have any questions pretty good okay, how about you guys? How about the internet? All right, so let's see, um yes, we did you talk it all from for hamza about the focusing modes and the point that you're using or does it matter in this scenario sure especially with the new cameras that have the sixty one points too many to choose from too confusing oh that's a good question for me right now that's actually late it's what you're saying I'm shooting after eleven so it doesn't really matter at f eleven plus they've got enough contrast in my scene that more or less I move the points kind of in the area of her face I do have the sixty one points there I actually used the clusters usually not the exact point you can make small clusters of four five points and so it's it's roughly on her face it doesn't really matter at off eleven it will matter more if I switch over and shoot a faded will start to matter if side point six it'll definitely matter to weigh it would absolutely matter so enough eleven it's less crucial but I don't use a single point I use a cluster and I've used it on her face and it's nice because it's usual what's lit and has most contrast so it's it's pretty fast focus and I am I think right now I'm on ah multi shot which I shouldn't have a like it's double clicking when I don't intend it to sometimes I use you stew on single shot I don't need to shoot you know kind of rapid fire in the studio but my packs and heads can, which is why I have the nice expensive facts and heads giving up likeability if I want to. So lindsay, before we go to break out a question coming from liz and I've seen many regarding this how large other background, how large is the background you're working with and just to give her an idea of proportion and distance you could just talk about the distance, the lights to the model, the lights to the backdrop the size of the hole yeah, just to give people in okay, I'll give you an idea of a couple of first of all a I'm horrible with distances so when have dave help me? Can you judge based on where it is now and where it was before? Just kind of you can throw out some numbers to me um but I'm working with a nine foot wide seamless and I usually have it right now. I have it nice and high because it was easy for me, but usually I have it about nine and a half to ten feet. I have a twelve foot studio ceilings I moved for that reason to s o know have much higher settings, but I would say nine feet wide, usually ten feet tall how far back to her let's measure this first distance and you get something you can step on the paper it's fine you can separate out in the paper finding is that five feet I'd say five feet but usually where he had her like I said was eight feet usually um these lights from the background and give me a little bit measurement there that's fine s s so fif about five feet in this instance as well, so but but before I kept the lights basically in the same place I moved him in a little bit so you should have the subject eight to ten feet those background lines might be five or six feet if I'm flipping them around for the barn doors it's the same thing I used to have them four to five feet behind at that back you know, forty five were maybe even like sixty degree angle behind depending on how much space they have to work with, um the main light right now like a foot and a half to two take a foot and a half from her face. The only reason is because if you only have a beauty dish and you want that focus on her face, you add the grid and you've got to move it really close. But if I were shooting this I wouldn't use a beautician I would use my long sir with a grid which gives me a lot more distance and at that point I'm closer to three and a half feet give me a little more flexibility for the beauty dish on the other set up. Actually, I'm very close because that's, where my sweet spot is for that beauty dish on the other set up. I was about would you say about three feet, something like that from her face, about three feet from the face for the beautician that's. Very common. I love the sweet spot at three, feet to four feet, and then beyond that, it's. Not that sweet spot that I love anymore.

Class Description

Creative Studio Lighting is part of our special bundle Lighting Toolkit.

Join award-winning photographer Lindsay Adler for an introduction to the essentials of creating high-impact studio lighting with minimal fuss or expense.

Drawing on years of experience, Lindsay will introduce you to the basics of studio lighting and give you strategies to apply these basics in creative ways. Along the way, you’ll explore unusual light modifiers, crafty ways for working with limited gear, tips for ensuring that light is flattering, and more!

This course will inspire anyone ready to take their work to the next level, whether you’re a veteran photographer or just starting out.

Ratings and Reviews

Student Work

Related Classes


Justin Tui

This is my second course purchase from Creative Live amd im a short way in but already love it. Lindsay Adlers style of teaching is easy going and simple to follow along with. Her personal work is amazing too so i feel confident that im getting knowledge from a trustable source. Im definitely going to continue to invest in more content from Creative Live and I rock the podcast everytime a new ep comes out.

a Creativelive Student

I love watching Lindsay work, she teaches with ease as if it were a one on one session. Would love to assist her or at least attend one of her workshops soon. This course was very helpful as well as opening my eyes to a few things that were always there, but just able to see them, thank you Lindsay

Tracy Whiteside

Only 1/2 way through but I knew in the first module that Lindsay Adler is the best instructor!! So easy to understand, great demonstrations, LOVE HER!!!