Breaking down the basics of shooting against a white seamless

by Gannon Burgett

posted Thursday, February 26, 2015 at 2:14 PM EDT


A white seamless background is one of the most versatile options when it comes to photographing a subject, be it a still-life or portrait. To pay homage to the simple and resourceful tool, Zack Arias has shared the first video of a two-part series that walks through the basic workflow of using a white seamless.

Arias begins the video by explaining just how much space you’ll be needing to properly set up a white seamless. After breaking down the suggested area, Arias dives into the gear required to set it up, including the lighting, which can be as basic or extravagant as you see fit.

In addition to showing how best to set up the area, Arias also breaks down how best to approach lighting a white seamless. For this first video, he uses continuous light so we can see in real time the changes various positioning and light modifiers have on the resulting image. Through the use of hot lights and side-by-side comparisons, Arias’ video does an excellent job of putting into context how lighting ratios and other variables affect the final product.

Beyond the information in the video, it’s worth pointing out that this entire video – along with most others from DEDPXL – is monochrome.

This creative choice may seem insignificant, but it dramatically impacts how easy it is to consume and focus on the content rather than the other distractions that can often appear in BTS videos. For this particular video, it proves even more useful, as when Arias is showing off the example shots, you see the changes in tonality far better than you would if the video were in color.

To read Arias' article that accompanies the video, head on over to Arias’ side-project, DEDPXL. We'll be sure to update this post with part two when Arias releases it. 

Update: Arias has released the second video in the series. In it, he covers the use of strobes and how best to post-process images shot against a white seamless background.