View Full Version : Advice for photographic background lighting

01-03-07, 21:46
A charity that I do work for has purchased a photographic background (Calumet-Cloud Grey paper on tripod support system) for group shots, this will be used indoors to record certificate awards etc.
I intend to use 2 tripod mounted 300w halogen worklights as side mounted illuminators (hopefully to eliminate the use of flash and shadows etc.)

My question(s): Is this a viable option?; can a limited experience Photoshop user iron out major shortcomings using CS2; do you have any basic tips that could be applied. Any other comments are most welcome and appreciated, limited financial resources exclude expensive solutions.
Thanks friends,
P.S. thanks to BF Forum member 'postcardcv' for suggesting that Ipost here

02-03-07, 09:11
Hello narawood,

Firstly, a very warm welcome to WPF. Secondly, I think a lot will depend on where you place the lamps relative to your subject. 300W halogen lamps are going to be very bright, harsh sources if you don't place them sympathetically.

Assuming you are shooting digital, it will cost you nothing to experiment. Take along a couple of family members and get them to pose whilst you adjust your setup and examine the results. Depending of how far away you place the lamps, and the height/angle they are at, you may find that some form of diffuser may be required.

Try taking a look at the "Flash Technique" sub forum
I know you are not using flash, but the same basic techniques will apply regarding elimination of shadows and ensuring sympathetic lighting. You are far better off trying to get the lighting right when you take the picture rather than trying to adjust the results in photoshop later.

Hope this helps.


Jon Sharp
03-03-07, 15:57
I echo Duncan's response. 2 x 300w halagon is going to give off a lot of light.

On the plus side there should be little alterations needed in Photoshop providing you take care with your set up. I'm guessing the fact that you mentioned CS2 is that your shooting digital and can set the light balance accordingly.

As Duncan has suggested, prior to undertaking any formal shoots, practice with family and friends, set the lights at different heights, angles and distances - consider reflecting one of a large bright surface such as a nearby wall?