Take that Hi-Key shot the easy way

Because it opens on all four sides you can either use it in a portrait and landscape orientation.  I have one Interfit strobe pointed into on the right.


I got an early birthday present! The Lastolite HiLite Background totally rocks. Think of it as a giant 6×7′ wall of light to put behind your subject. Although I’m getting better with my lighting all the time, it’s still a pain to get a white background to be perfectly and evenly lit. Well that is no longer a problem for me. The HiLite Background is a collapsible, portable background that takes about 5 minutes to setup. Once it’s setup it’s about 1′ wide. All four sides can be accessed via zippers, but the idea is that you stick one or two strobes on the end(s) and fire right into it. The beauty is that the strobes don’t have to be that powerful or expensive. I even tried it with an Nikon SB800 speedlight and got good results. However, I did buy a dedicated low end Interfit strobe that I run on a very low power setting (I need to turn it down even more now that I look at the histogram/clipping warning of my latest shots).


Here’s the shot I got of Model Ada from the above setup


Lastolite also sells a vinyl train so that you can create a semi-seamless background. Although the HiLite background is 7′ tall, that may not really be quite tall enough depending upon your subject. So you may want to use it for portraits of people that are seated or on a posing stool.

Lastolite makes a smaller version of this background that is 5’x7′, but trust me, you’re going to want the bigger one. It’s interesting that I’ve now used it 3 times and the first and last times I was able to fold it down in about 2 minutes. However, the second time I wrestled with this thing for 15 minutes to get it back into the bag. Go figure!

If you’re looking to do easier Hi-Key, this is your answer! It goes for $473.99 at B&H Photo.

  • Cary

    Hi Terry,

    I’v noticed that you are posting a lot of photography stuff lately. I really enjoy seeing all the new stuff that you are using. My point…last year I bought a D80 and the 18-135 3.5 lens with it. I would like to experiment with new glass. In your opinion, what would be “my next lens” to add to my arsenal. I would appreciate a money is no object as well as a money means everything recommendation for an all purpose lens.

    Thanks again for your valued opinion.

  • I blogged about this thing recently myself and it just looks awesome. Glad you got it and liked it.

    It looks like such a great handy invention compared to dragging my backdrop stand and background all over the place….guess the only issue is if you’re looking for versatile colored backdrops.

    Thanks 4 ur thoughts on it!

    • Hi Jen

      If you want to use different coloured effects behind the model, then simply try placing a coloured gel on the head. Lastolite now do a series of “bottletop” covers that can be placed over the background, although you cannot use the backlight with these. However, this does give you a great, simple backdrop setup for portable studio purposes.



  • Happy Birthday!! (Am I late?) Thanks for the review on those Lasolite backgrounds! I might just pick one up soon. How are those new Elinchrom’s working out for you? Thanks to you, Scoot Kelby, and Joe McNally I thought I had my monoblocs chosen but now I’m thinking I like the Style RX. Any geek who passes up the chance to control lights with a computer just isn’t a geek in my book! You wouldn’t happen to have had any experience with White-Lightnings or AlienBees to compare the Elinchroms to would you?