Hi everyone! Newbie with a backdrop question

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by soflmomof2, Aug 29, 2007.

  1. soflmomof2

    soflmomof2 TPF Noob!

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    Hi everyone. I am beginning to dabble with some in home portrait sessions. My first volunteer is my 8 month pregnant sister in law. I would like to do mostly black and white shots with a really black background/ drop. I have been looking to see which to get and was hoping to get some feedback as I need to get it ordered. Please keep in mind- I don't want to spend a fortune on this as I prefer to shoot outside pictures (beach etc.).
    Question: Is there a difference between soft black, black and jet black muslin? Are you able to see thru it? I don't have any equipment, (don't laugh) but I was planning on pinning it up to the cream wall. Will you be able to see light thru it? Should I have her sit away from the actual backdrop? 100% vs 50/50 vs black velvet? I want real black- not any kind of gray. I read that someone went to JCP for some black velvet blankets and used those? I can't spend alot for this one time. Saw a few on Ebay...unsure of who/ where etc. Any opinions on size as well? My brother is 6 foot 3 inches- I was thinking a 10x13-
    Looking forward to hearing input. Don't laugh-but I will have to figure out how to get back to my posting to read the replies!
    Thanks!
    Michelle
     
  2. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Welcome to the forum.

    I actually use a black king sized bed sheet. It isn't as good as something like velvet but it gets the job done. You can pretty much use any dark fabric...the trick is making sure that you have a lot less light on the backdrop than on the subject (at least three stops less). Also, I often use photoshop to make sure the background is how I want it.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  3. droyz2000

    droyz2000 TPF Noob!

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    If you do not want to use a sheet, you can always hit up your local Joann Fabrics and pick up some fabric to create your own backdrop. You can make your own way cheaper than what you can purchase them.
     
  4. pandinus

    pandinus TPF Noob!

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    This is great, I'll have to remember this for when I get my new place. (I'm planning on creating a small "studio" in my future flat...)

    Thanks.. :)
     
  5. soflmomof2

    soflmomof2 TPF Noob!

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    Thanks everyone.
    Mike, I love those pictures. I just really love the black background. I will check out the sheets today. The average price for the muslin on Ebay was about $60 with s&h. Just was trying to see what would be most cost effective.
    I am taking a private lesson for the basics about using my Rebel. I never really used any of the creative modes...so I really don't know about using the "stops". I will get out my manual and read up on it.
    This is something totally different, but I have just begun to look PhotoShop- any suggestions for tutorials? I was overloaded. Right now, I just want to use it to either darken/ lighten, crop and maybe turn the photo into b&W then color a particular item (like flower etc.) Question: can you change the background to a totally different color? I would prefer to take a good picture and not have to edit as the program seems so involved- I am afraid I won't be able to edit it as I want. I am looking for a good tutorial so I can get over it already. I love seeing the pictures that people edit with all the cool stuff it can do.
    Thanks again for the replies and the welcome. I look forward to chatting and getting everyones advice.
    Have a great holiday weekend!
    ma:wink:
    P.S. If going to Joanns- wouldn't you be able to see the seams if having to piece it together? They do have the black velvet for $11 a yard- comes in 54 inch width.
     
  6. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Hi Michelle,
    Photoshop is indeed a big and complex program. You will probably never have to know it all, so don't worry too much. There are some basic tools that can be used for 90% of what you will do in photo editing. I suggest finding a book on Photoshop.


    Depending on the fabric and the lighting and the seam etc....you may or may not be able to see the seam in the fabric, if you use a joined backdrop. There are ways to keep it to a minimum when shooting, but it's actually pretty easy to clean up with Photoshop.
     
  7. soflmomof2

    soflmomof2 TPF Noob!

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    Again, thanks for your help. I think I will head over to BB&B to see what they have for black sheets. It is next to a Joanns.
    Have a good one!
    ma
     
  8. jstuedle

    jstuedle No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Remember, even a white wall without light will shoot black. Any dark background underexposed will be a rick deep black as long as your lighting is setup to expose only your subject. Have fun and experiment with your lighting, that is part of the joy of this craft.
     
  9. soflmomof2

    soflmomof2 TPF Noob!

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    thanks john. I guess that is just it- I have to play around and see what I get.:) Have a good night. I will post some afterwards....
     
  10. Mike_E

    Mike_E No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Hi, just a quick tip on using bed sheets. You'll have a lot better luck if you get a 10' stick of PVC and clamp the bottom of the sheet so the sheet is stretched in all directions because the wrinkles will shine enough to show if you don't.
     
  11. acaldwell

    acaldwell TPF Noob!

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    Mike E,
    I figured that one out on my first try with a sheet the other day!
    In Photoshop I was able to smooth some things out and darken the black to make it look better, but I am also sitll learning the program so tips like yours help so I don't have to edit as much! (even though I should've known better, duh!) You're a genius ;)
     
  12. Mike_E

    Mike_E No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    LOL thanks but the really good bit is to cut the pipe in half and get an inline connector so that you can store it. ;)
     

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