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jz1220's avatar

What is the most basic lighting setup I need to achieve the "Apple" style photography?

Asked by jz1220 (829points) March 31st, 2008

Here are examples of the lighting I am looking to achieve:–1c0c47a5d722038365269ba10ecfd783.__big__.jpg

Basically, a pure white background from floor to ceiling with very even lighting on the subject.

I know very little about photography, and I’ve been Googling all day but I can’t seem to wrap my head around the professional photography lingo. If anyone could explain this lighting set-up to me in layman’s terms, I’d be eternally grateful!

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6 Answers

sharl's avatar

I’ve forwarded your question to a much better photographer than I. My approach would be to find a nice smooth curved product table, preferably one that you can light from behind (made of opaque white perspex), and light the front using a softbox (a big white tent that fits over a light so you don’t get any highlights. If you can’t get this then use bounced light only, and take lots of test shots. You might find the required equipment in a local art/design college or university department (we have it at mine, but that probably isn’t much use to you).

Upward's avatar

It’s shot in a large studio on a curved white background so no bottom edge is seen. The backgrond is evenly lit with at least 4 lights. Light the people with soft lighting by bouncing off a white surface.
Hint: it looks easy but it’s not.
if at all possible hire a pro or use a easier set up.

jz1220's avatar

@shari, Thanks for forwarding my question, I look forward to what your photographer friend’s response.

@upward and shari, How does this set-up sound?
I will have a white seamless background, and then two lamps facing away from the background into silver umbrella reflectors? Will that be enough lamps if I tweak the positions of them just right? What do you think about having one additional light coming through from behind the seamless?

Upward's avatar

The trick to the setup is to light it EVENLY as well as softly. Lighting from behind will cause a shadow at the bottom edge of the background. Silver reflectors will produce hard shadows. The background needs lots of evenly placed lights the people need very soft lighting.

bpeoples's avatar

I agree with Upward, this isn’t a super-easy lighting setup.

With the white seamless, you have to make sure that the curve at the bottom is smooth enough that you can light that evenly. You can do the background with two lights (don’t worry about reflectors, but put a little diffusion on the front to even them out). To get the background white, you’ll want it to be 3 to 4 stops brighter than the foreground. That means (in very simple terms, ignoring a lot of the reality) that if you’re shining 100w of light on the foreground folks, you’ll want to shine 800w of light on the background.

The second link didn’t work for me, but it looks like they’re doing the “standard” 3:1 ratio for a right key. That means that the lighting on the people from the right is about 3x brighter than the lighting from the left. (Look at the “Mac’s” face). It’s big and soft, you could try shining your light through a bedsheet that’s about as tall as whatever you’re shooting. Realize that you’re going to lose 2-stops of light going through the sheet, so if you want to get 100w of illumination, you need 400w shining on the bedsheet.

If you’re shooting people, “some lights” will probably not be bright enough. You’ll end up with motion blur from the long shutter speed (I assume your lights are not flashes?).

If you’re just shooting small product, check this out:

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