Father Christmas was good to me this year! I have been hankering after some compact studio gear to enable me to quickly set up a portrait session and get quality, repeatable results every time. I saw the work that a college did on photographing the kids at his school and was very impressed so begged Santa for the Lastolite Hi key background and some more studio lights to use with it.
I am delighted with the background and have been playing with it making my long suffering family pose. It unpacks quickly, is self standing and takes one or two flash lamps in the sides to illuminate the interior. Once this is done, any normal studio set-up can be done around the model without the need for any back lighting as that will come from the background. The balance of light is to get the exposure coming from the background 1-2 stops higher than the light you are putting onto the subjects. Once this is done a completely shadow free shot can be taken regardless of how close to the background your model stands! This has great advantages when working in limited space since the whole thing is only 6"x7" and a couple of feet deep.
I have still to experiment and perfect my set up but here are a few shots from my first attempt with it.
I am getting some falloff in these shots as I tried putting only one lamp into the background and the illumination isn't quite even enough but with one each side that problem should go. All in all I am very pleased with the results. The only real problem is working out how to twist the background back into a circle to get it back into the carrying case!