White seamless background photography has been a staple of both portraits and products, amongst other things, for decades. It’s one of those things that almost all photographers (at least the ones who end up doing it for money) will probably learn to do at some point, just so that if they’re asked for it, they know how to do it. But it’s a style that I’ve seen so many photographers struggle with.
The concepts involved in photographing a well-lit subject in front of a pure white background are fairly straightforward, but there are lots of different things that come into play when you try it and things to think about that can easily catch you out while you’re learning. In this video, Ed Verosky walks us through not only the process of shooting on white seamless but the potential problems that can come up, too.
It is, no doubt, a tricky concept to wrap your head around if you’re a beginner. Especially when somebody tells you that you can make that same white background look white, grey or even black depending on the power of the lights, where your subject is positioned relative to the background and the camera settings you choose. It’s a delicate balancing act and changing one element of your shot to compensate for a potential issue that pops up can cause two or three issues to take its place – which you then also need to solve.
Even if you’re not planning to turn your photography hobby into an income, learning to photograph people (or things) in front of a white background can be a very rewarding and valuable lesson to learn. Although it may seem like a very simple shot, it will teach you just about everything you really need to know about how flash works in the studio. And if you still weren’t quite sure how the inverse square law worked before, you certainly will after.