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I have little experience in this field of photography. I would like to get a "shadowless" photo on a gray background. An example of what I want I found on the Internet:

Click for full size
enter image description here

My results are unfortunately bad. I use two 180x120 softboxes and radio synchronizer. One softbox was placed right in front of the target another softbox 45 degrees from the target. They are set to the same power. I use Canon EOS 5D Mark III with Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM lens. I upload simple example (ISO 100, F9, 1/125). Although the photo is slightly underexposed

enter image description here

The photo was unsuccessful. As I understand it is surely the wrong scheme of light. But I can not understand how to achieve a shadowless effect as at the top of the photo. And of course my photo doesn’t look like a contrast compare to others.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Imgur doesn't seem to be resizing the 2nd image properly - I've posted about it on Meta - photo.meta.stackexchange.com/questions/5821/… \$\endgroup\$
    – Tetsujin
    Dec 16, 2018 at 18:08
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    \$\begingroup\$ You said product photography but you posted portrait photos. Have you read any books on studio lighting? \$\endgroup\$
    – Alaska Man
    Dec 16, 2018 at 18:43
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Alaska man Many internet stores photograph their products on models (sweaters, etc.) But you are right, I edited my post to avoid misunderstandings \$\endgroup\$
    – SysRq308
    Dec 16, 2018 at 20:52
  • \$\begingroup\$ Note that if you look very carefully at the background, you do see some slight shadows that may provide useful clues. \$\endgroup\$ Dec 17, 2018 at 0:09
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    \$\begingroup\$ Putting shoes on the model will already improve the image a lot :) Especially since the kind of background used does not feel like anything you would want to walk on in socks. \$\endgroup\$ Dec 17, 2018 at 10:32

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Your results would improve if you change your lamp placement so that some shadows are realized. I am talking about the face as well as the garment. Set the frontal lamp at ½ power and the side lamp at full power. If the power is non-adjustable, back-up the frontal lamp so that it is about 1 ½ times the distanced from the subject as the side light. Such a lash-up will create the shadows you need to give an illusion of depth and add some pizzazz. Too much diffused light results in flat photographs.

The above set-up will create shadows on the background. You can remove these shadows via your photo editor or – illuminate the background with a dedicated lamp. You adjusts its power and or distance from the background to darken or lighten. For a permanent set-up – use a translucent background and illuminate from the rear. This will yield a shadow less background provided you can evenly illuminate.

Also, if editing using a photo editor is not your forte, consider, shadows are not as distracting if they are restrained.

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The picture used as the example has probably been retouched in photoshop to even out the background and get rid of any unwanted shadows, a procedure that is quite easy in photoshop and very common.

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This is a very late response, but hopefully useful.

If there is light there are shadows. You can either project them somewhere you do not see them or illuminate them with more light.

1. The first idea would be to use a background further away so the shadows are only projected on the floor. This also gives you the chance to illuminate the background more easily to kill those shadows. This means you need to use more than only two lights. You probably need 3-4.

2. But another tip to have a flatter background is to put your model on a glossy white floor. Shadows are less prominent on a white floor because the perceived image depends more on the background. So, if you evenly illuminate the background, your floor will be also even.

Of course, you will have a slight reflection of your model on the floor, but normally this reflection is easier to retouch than a shadow on the back.

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In the reference example the model is standing with legs fairly far apart. Contrary to what you say, there is still slight shadow visible behind the legs. It's also fairly obvious that the photo was retouched because the shadow looks unnatural.

In your example legs are close to each other, so the shadow visibility is amplified.

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In the example photo you'd like to recreate, the model is standing on a continuous backdrop, such as this:

enter image description here

By letting the backdrop make a gentle curve as it approaches the floor, you eliminate the hard light transitions between vertical walls and the horizontal floor. The continuous backdrop, in conjunction with multiple large diffuse lights (as in the product image above), shadows pretty much disappear.

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I attached a quickly smashed together light setup.

You will have 2 large soft boxes (diffused) as main light and fill. And in the background 2 strip soft boxes (diffused, no grid) with overlapping lights on the background to eliminate the shadows.

For both fill and key: Bigger softbox is better in this case, as the light wrapping around is helping to minimize shadow.

The fill is better placed as much away as possible (and your room and strobe allows) as this would even out the light.

Placing the lights might get a bit finicky as you want to keep the light off the model, overlap them so, that you are getting no gradients and have them just so bright that the background just touches the pure white brightness.

If you go overboard with the brightness on the background you will lose considerable contrast in the image due to flaring. With that many lights and not much brightness difference on the model, the image will quickly look a bit flat. You somewhat have that in your example image as well.

Also you might nee to play around with the placement and distance of the fill to get the area in front of the model bright enough without flattening the image too much. You might even want to consider another strip box in front down on the area in front of the model just for that purpose.

Alternative: Background light from behind An alternative route would be to use a huge piece diffusion fabric and use the 2 strip boxes from behind. This would make placing the strip boxes easier.

Alternative: Fill from above If you have a huge fill from above, you could also make due with a lot less lights, but usually people do not have studios with a ceiling that high at the hands.

If you have a white ceiling, you could also try bouncing one light up there to see if you can use that instead of the fill.

Light Setup

Differences to a ring light

Ring Light 30cm

This setup is done with 50mm as the lens and a 30cm ring flash. My simulation simply has no bigger one in the library. Note I over exposed the image on purpose to give it any befit of a doubt.

While for smaller motives, a ring light can be a solution. For larger motives it is usually not. You will cast a small shadow rim around the subject. You won't see the most of the shadow, as it falls behind your subject, but there clearly IS a shadow (as seen in the setup image on the right part).

If that is still ok for you, and the limitation that your can only light your subject directly from the camera angle, this could still work for you.

You could of course add 2 strip boxes pointing to the background to eliminate some the the shadow rim.

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Have you considered a ring-flash?

These are often used in macro photography to eliminate shadow, but there are large ring-flashes for studio work, too.

By surrounding your lens with a light source, it ensures that the shadow is behind the subject.

Ring-flashes tend to be high-contrast, but some manufacturers have light modifiers — reflectors or softboxes — that spread out the light and make it lower contrast.

Powerful studio ring-flashes can be pricey, especially if you don't already have a pack-and-head system. I use Profoto Acute D4 with reflectors, converted to work on my Speedotron packs. I have also modified large "beauty dish" softboxes to work with the Profoto. That results in absolutely shadowless shots of even large items, but your catchlights will be little doughnuts. :-)

enter image description here enter image description here

Finally, here is a cheap (under $20) light modifier to work with your speedlight to give it ringflash capabilities. I have one, and find it is okay, but a bit uneven, and I don't really like speedlights. It may be all you need, or it may help you determine if you want to spend the money on a decent pack-and-head ring-flash.

ring softbox for speedlight

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  • \$\begingroup\$ A ring flash will not eliminate shadow behind a person. They can only eliminate shadow for stuff that is smaller than the ring itself. Therefore this solution only works on macro photos. The example of a box works, as the shadow is directly behind the box. You can even see it a bit. \$\endgroup\$ Oct 9, 2023 at 8:51
  • \$\begingroup\$ @KaiMattern, you say this as though you've tried it. I don't understand the physics of how you could possibly photograph the shadow of a light that is to the side of the lens. And since a ring flash is to all sides of the lens, no shadows! I suggest you actually, y'know, TRY IT before you dismiss it! Works for me! \$\endgroup\$ Dec 31, 2023 at 8:37
  • \$\begingroup\$ I have added an illustration what will happen if you do the shot with ring flash only. If that is working for the OP, then yes. I would still not consider it as a stand-alone solution. \$\endgroup\$ Jan 1 at 13:39
  • \$\begingroup\$ I understand what you mean. There is a faint shadow, which is what you'll get with any setup with two or more lights. If you increase the size of the ring light, it will progressively reduce the faint shadow. I used a 1 metre round reflector with the radial-firing ring light from ProPhoto. Bottom line, multiple lights will not eliminate shadows, and I still think a LARGE ring light has be best chance of reducing shadows to the point they don't matter. \$\endgroup\$ Jan 2 at 4:33
  • \$\begingroup\$ In my experience at that stage you usually have an easier setup with a large 2m diffused reflex umbrella and just setting that up behind the camera. At that size, it is usually not a big issue that you then stand in front of it and cover part of the light as the photographer, resulting a a bit of a cats-eye ring light. \$\endgroup\$ Jan 2 at 9:17

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