One Light Portrait with White Background

One Light white background
One of my clients is a wig importer for Irish Step Dancers. There’s a niche for you. I shoot a couple of times a year for her. In this case we are shooting some styles she wanted to update before setting up her online store (another of my projects…) and we used her two beautiful daughters for models.

I wanted to keep the background white, but not white ‘blown out’ as the hair on the wigs was very important. I chose a large soft main light and fill cards for the lighting, and added a sheet of fome core for the background. One light… several duties.

I chose a large softbox for the main light and then added a 4×8 sheet of fome core for the background. However, I turned it toward the main light so I could get maximum light on it. Then by placing the model 2 feet in front of it, the shadow was thrown off view of the camera.

A V-card was added for the fill and it came in pretty close to give me some nice skin tones as well as clean highlights on the hair. You can see in the setup shot below that the model sat toward the back of the main light as well as in front of the background. You can also see the angle of the background turned to gather as much light as possible.
Lighting Setup for the Wig Shoot

This light gave me very soft, directional light, a white background and soft contrast on the shadow side of the face. All without blowing out any of the hair which was the point of the shots. Here is an additional shot of a blonde wig with the white background and clean highlights.
One Light white background
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This is a place for photographers.

Hi, I'm wizwow - also known as Don Giannatti. Photography has been the focus of my life for most of my adult years. I have written three books for Amhearst Media (available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble: keyword 'don giannatti'. Lighting Essentials is my flagship blog and e-zine with a slightly different slant than most photography related sites. If you are interested in becoming a better photographer, check out Project 52 Pros.

Thanks for visiting.


  1. This is a great setup.
    Getting the background to be white with a single strobe was always challenging to me.

  2. Thats sweet, this looks like a very cost effective setup as well as simple. I like simple and cheap.

  3. But — it’s not white! it’s a sort of creamy colour. It just looks grubby.

    • Actually, you are wrong.

      But thanks for commenting.


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