Black and White Portrait Backgrounds

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by rp1600, Sep 6, 2006.

  1. rp1600

    rp1600 TPF Noob!

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    What's the best way to acomplish the following portrait shots using two light studio flash setup.

    1. Have background appear stark white.

    2. Have background appear solid black.

    I know i can do it in PS but wanting tips on doing it with light.
     
  2. Digital Matt

    Digital Matt alter ego: Analog Matt

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    When you've set up your lights, you need to meter the light falling on your background. If you want a white background, I would suggest sacrificing one of your lights as a backlight, and substituting a reflector in its place. Make sure your backlight is giving you 2 stops more light than your key light.

    For black, you should make sure that very little light, to no light is hitting your background. This may constitue moving the background farther from the subject, and/or moving your lights so they light the subject more from the side. When metered, the background should read at least 2 stops darker than your key, but the further it is from your key, the better.
     
  3. rp1600

    rp1600 TPF Noob!

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    Thanks. I'll try that.
     
  4. fightheheathens

    fightheheathens TPF Noob!

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    matt said exactly what i would have said.
     
  5. mysteryscribe

    mysteryscribe TPF Noob!

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    That is a very good rule of thumb but you should experiment also.

    The amount of light will actually change the background color in a rembrant type background. It will darken slightly or burn brite depending on the amount of backlight. If you just want to kill the shadows cast by the front light on a white background the rule of thumb quoted will do that admirably.

    If you are using a multicolored background experiment to find what you like best. I alway liked my rembrant with a lot of light for a dark haired woman but not so much with a blonde. I think it makes for better seperations and better focus on the subject.

    One more thing just in passing it means nothing really, but darker backgrounds for women with gypsy shag hairguts.
     

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