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Kid on seamless background – Lighting Setup

Portrait of a kid on white seamless background in photo studio

When my son just had learned how to walk, the studio sessions immediately got a lot harder to manage. He was running around all over the place, and my studio is not that big. So I tried a lighting setup that would allow me to photograph him without having to have him in that exaxt sweet spot.

Together with that, I wanted to create a light that mimicked sunlight a bit. Hard, crisp light with long shadows, almost like the light that is popular in bikini model photos here and there, but without having to have him stand against a white stone wall.

Studio lighting setup diagram for portrait of kid on white seamless background

profoto_white-softlight-reflector-beauty-dishMost of the times, in my small photo studio, the problem is to get the light as high up as I would want them. But, when photographing a small kid that just learned how to walk, that is no longer a problem.

Profoto Beautydish as main light

To get the main light to be a little harder than a softbox or an Octa but not as unforgiving as a Magnum, the white Profoto Softlight Reflector seemed as a good choice. Without the grid and placed high, it gives a light I like and enough spread to cover the small model as well as the background.

The flash was on a boom stand 2.5 meters up and I was sitting under it, trying to catch the right moment. That might be the hardest part when photographing kids, catching the right moment, or maybe keeping up with their energy?

A rim light for shadows and separation

Trying to add to the illusion of hard sunlight with long shadows, I placed a Profoto Compact with a Magnum reflector 45 degrees behind the model aimed down to create some rim light and separate him from the background a bit. It also gave some sparkle to his blonde hair, which I think adds a little to the sunshine effect.

White seamless background as reflector

The background and “floor” was one long roll of white background paper, rolled out enough to create a makeshift cyc or seamless background. When photographing small children or people sitting on white, the paper also works as a reflector to give some fill light from below.

Some postprocessing in Photoshop to remove dirt and wrinkles from the paper and even out the light a bit, nothing more.

Lighting setup diagram based on Kevin Kertz design.

If you have any questions or comments, please add them.

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