I love shooting on white. It gives editors a lot of options when placing images in their layouts. Normally I like to have a large studio for shooting on white – tall ceilings, a wide white background and enough room to set up at least 6 lights. My preferred setup is to place 2 lights on the background, then pull the subjects about 8′ away from the background and light them totally separate from the background. I flag off the background lights from my subject so they don’t get bleed from the background, and then use around 4 lights on the subject – 2 rim lights and then at least 2 front lights, often more. Many times I may use 8-10 strobe lights on a studio project, using each light to sculpt a particular feature of my subject.
However, when traveling on location it is much more difficult to carry around so many strobes, and even more difficult to find enough space to set up said strobes. On this project for Oklahoma Living Magazine I was shooting at The Hideaway, a pizza restaurant in Stillwater voted by readers of OK Living as “Oklahoma’s Best” for 2015. Although it was a fairly big restaurant, they were open for business and were limited on space for a shoot. For this assignment I only had enough room to (barely) set up 3 lights. I chose to shoot through a large white silk as a background – not the best option but a way to get the job done in tight quarters. I had room for two lights on the subject so I used two large gridded octaboxes left rear and front right, quite close to my subjects. Not my preferred way to light a subject on white but what I had to work with on this project.
I am pleased with the results but it required a bit more photoshop work than I like to clip out the subjects from the white background and I wasn’t able to light the subjects exactly as I would have preferred. But the results turned out good despite the limitations – good enough for a popular cover! And the folks at Oklahoma Living are always great to work with.