I recently purchased a Lastolite HiLite background which allows contemporary, high-key portraits to be taken quickly and efficiently.
High-key means a highly exposed background (pure white) which gives a modern feel to portrait photography. You put the flash heads inside the HiLite to give a consistent exposure. It’s possible to put gels over the flash heads lighting the HiLite to give coloured backgrounds.
The standard lighting set-up is to use a softbox (or brolly) to give a key light and one, or two, heads inside the HiLite for the background. An added benefit is that shadows are totally eliminated.
If the key softbox light fails, the HiLite also makes a great softbox so you can still get good pictures with a bit of improvisation.
Hilites come in various sizes ranging from around 3×4 ft to mine which is 8×7 ft. I also purchased a “train” which is vinyl flooring which velcro’s into place on the HiLite.
I did notice an exposure difference between the train and the HiLite but that is easy to fix in photoshop.
The Hilite is easy to transport, set up and is free-standing so ideal for family portraits at home. It gives great results which you can see on my company’s website http://reidivinsmedia.co.uk