Blowing out

We all know the white backgrounds, but to be honest I think they have had their longest time.
Now a days for example I just love the light grey backgrounds a lot more… we still use a white background for this but we just don’t light it, creating a very nice modern look. However if you still want to play with white why not try the following.


Normally we meter the model incident and add 2.5-3 stops to the background (metered reflective) to create a really nice white background without blowing out details like hair.
In the following shots I did something else, and I really like this technique. Instead of using a strobe as main light I just use the strobes on the white background and meter towards the camera (incident) to get a “correct” exposure on the face of the model. The main light source in this case is in fact the whole studio, or in other words all the light that scattered around the studio and reaches the model from the front. This will result in a very blown out background really wrapping around our model as you can see here :

Manon November 22 2013-92-EditNow if the effect is a bit too strong you can always lower the exposure a bit on the the model or move the model further away from the background.


This technique also works very nice for portraits, but watch out with models with really light blond hair :-)

Manon November 22 2013-99-Edit


So in short.
Place two strobes on the background on full power.
Now meter in front of the model towards the camera (no strobes are used in the front) and set the camera to that reading as a starting point, after this it’s all up to your creativity.

  • Share
  • Kirk Grames

    Thanks for the tip! Do you have any plans to produce an “update” video on your post processing? I would like to see one that covers your entire workflow (using multiple filters). Are you still using Topaz(clarity) and Exposure? I really enjoy watching and reading your content. I will be ordering your book (kindle version) this friday. Thanks again!

    • http://www.frankdoorhof.com Frank Doorhof

      As soon as everything slows down a bit I will be working on a new series.

  • Richard Bremer

    Frank, when setting this up in my attic studio and try to do full bodies, I notice that the floor is not blowing out. Any tips on how to fix this?

    • http://www.frankdoorhof.com Frank Doorhof

      Plexiglas on the floor. Works wonders.

  • EeroM

    This is so cool wow. Funny thing is that the last meetup group shoot , I suggested that we let the BG strobes with umbrellas to spill light onto the models sides to add a rim light glow. The shoot theme was Christmas and she even wore a santa hat. We did however have a 5foot octabox to light model.