why i'm doing this one is a mystery to me but so often i see or hear where someone has no clue what they are doing, i thought i'd give it a go. first of all, any image whose tonal range has a majority above 18% middle grey is considered "high key." now let's suppose that you would like to set up a studio in a basement or a garage on a budget. we start by going to a local flooring retailer. we play let's make a deal on the ugliest piece of linoleum in the house. "i'd like to buy a piece of your butt ugliest linoleum about nine feet by twenty feet. i don't care what it looks like as long as it's cheep." now we take this home and staple it to the wall starting at the ceiling, ugly side down. when it hits the floor we pull it out for a nice 30 degree radius. (no horizon line) next we duct tape it to the floor all around. now we have a lovely studio sweep of the back side of a ugly linoleum. no you not done yet. get some good white paint (not gloss) and paint. now you have a lovely high key studio background. while we're painting a two foot wooden step ladder and a wood bar stool would make good beginning props so paint them too.
the correct distance between the subject and the background is 4-6 feet. this allows for shadow fall off and out of focus in the background from depth of field.
now the fun part, exposure... film was much kinder and digital is less forgiving.
the background should be two stops brighter than the subject. here's where everyone screws this up. they take a hand held meter and take an incident reading of the subject, then they take the same meter and take a reading off the background. WRONG, thanks for playing but no cigar. taking the incident reading off of the subject is correct, set the camera for it. the background is white and much more reflective SO we take a reflective reading off of it. if you do a incident reading off of the background to get your two stops you will most likely have three and a half.
background lighting should be even, ideally two lights at a 45 degree angle. on a budget i'd a couple of those garage lights that have round reflectors, use regular light bulbs and have a clamp. clamp them to the ceiling joist and aim them down towards the center. someone makes cheap slave strobes ($20 US) that screw into a normal light socket. for about $60 you have perfect high key lighting.
i was at the studio of a master photographer that actually took two of those strobes, bought a three foot section of white gutter, installed the end caps, fixed a light bulb socket to each end and mounted this thing above the subject area. once he screwed his slaves he had a beautiful three foot hair light.