Full Length Commercial Photographs

by William Lulow

For a couple of days, I have been shooting people in a large energy company for some of their corporate marketing materials. Sometimes images like this need to be full-length shots in addition to head shots. This takes a bit more set up and lighting time than just regular corporate portraits. Lighting for full length shots has to be balanced between lighting the foreground (subject) and the background. If you want the background to reproduce as white, you need to light it separately from the subject. Here are some shots of my setup procedure:


Raw space I had to work with. This conference room had plenty of space to set up a full roll of no-seam paper and enough ceiling height to shoot full length images. This next shot shows how the background was set up:


You have to have room for what is called a “sweep” in order to shoot full body shots. This next image shows how the lighting was set up:


I placed a flash head with a small umbrella on each side of the background in order to distribute the light evenly across the background. The black shades are to prevent the light from spilling onto the subject. Two lights are set up to light the subject as well. The light from the umbrella is a portrait light and is designed to be a bit softer than the light from the light box on the left, which is used to fill-in the subject as well as add some direct light to the white foreground paper.

This is a sample image from this setup:


The background is fairly evenly lit both in front and in the back and the subject just pops out at you! I take camera meter readings from the background to make sure it is roughly one stop brighter than my main light. Then I tweak my fill-in light so that some of the light hits the floor as well as the subject. The combination of the main light plus the fill ensures that the foreground will be white as well. Any subtle differences in tone can be altered easily in post production.