Muslin Question

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by HEO2NE, Feb 14, 2008.

  1. HEO2NE

    HEO2NE TPF Noob!

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    Forgive me if this is a stupid question but I'm venturing into Group Shots and portrait shots and bought some Muslin fabric for a backdrop from a Fabric store trying to save a few bucks but it is so thin! I was going to try a dye pattern or something. Why is Muslin so popular if it is so thin you can see what is behind it? I'm mobile alot of the time and can't always setup the background against a clean wall. I started draping a Black Muslin behind whatever other one I was using to make it thicker. Any help would be great. I have two Flashpoint 1220 strobes with a softbox and an umbrella.
     
  2. Big Mike

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

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    Muslin is popular, I think because it's thin...which makes it less heavy than other fabrics. A 10' x 20' piece of canvas could weigh 40 lbs.

    The way your backdrop looks in your photos...depends a lot on how you light it. If you restrict the light that is behind it, you shouldn't see anything behind it. Also, since you are using strobes, it should only be ambient light behind the backdrop...and you can reduce the ambient exposure by using a faster shutter speed.

    As for how the backdrop looks in the photo...if you want it dark, then don't put any light onto it. Since you have to light the subject, move them farther away from the backdrop, so that the light falls off.

    If you want the background to be light/bright, then you need to light it. It's very common to have a light that is aimed just at the backdrop for this purpose.
     
  3. HEO2NE

    HEO2NE TPF Noob!

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    Thank You...I'll play around with the lighting a bit and try to reduce the amount of light behind it.
     
  4. Big Mike

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

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    As an example, I shot these in a hotel room (with strobes) and to the naked eye, the curtains were showing a fair bit of light coming through the fabric. The sun was hitting them directly.

    However, in terms of light for the exposure...the light coming though, didn't register at all.

    [​IMG]
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  5. HEO2NE

    HEO2NE TPF Noob!

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    Big Mike,

    I tried some of what you suggested and was shooting @250 SS. I had an SB600 light for a back hair light, 24x36 soft box on camera left and a 40" umbrella on camera right. Light meter showed 1 F stop less on the camera left soft box which was positioned 2.5 feet from her face. The umbrella on camera right was about 3 to 3.5 feet to the monolight unit. This is the only picture I would dare to post out of embarrassment. I would really like the background to be a strong black. Obviously I have never messed with studio lights before.

    Thank you for any input and help...

    How can I attach the picture?
     
  6. raw-bee

    raw-bee TPF Noob!

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    I thought the same thing but played around with it - I dyed it charcoal grey (needed 3 boxes of black RIT dye for that) and then used grey paint to mottle the background. I'm pretty happy with the results. Here is an example:

    [​IMG]

    The cool thing with a grey background is that you can tweak colors to make it look different - it looks very blue here but I played to get it that way. :)

    Robbie
     
  7. raw-bee

    raw-bee TPF Noob!

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    OH if you want black, get black velvet from the fabric store and sew pieces together to get the size you want - it comes in 50 in width. It absorbs light well, resists wrinkles, and is very very light. I did this one with black velvet - (2) 50 in widths sewn together:

    [​IMG]

    Robbie
     
  8. HEO2NE

    HEO2NE TPF Noob!

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    I could not see you pictures in your post for some reason but thank you for the idea on the velvet. I went and bought another piece of muslin today and did the DIY background via die tie and it came out pretty good. Going to shoot with the family and some friends tonight and if I can figure out how to do a photo attachment I'll post some of them (assuming they come out half way OK).
     
  9. raw-bee

    raw-bee TPF Noob!

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    Oh I'm sorry! I has password protected this directory, but she did sign a release so I'll relink to another source - sorry about that!

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    [​IMG]

    Robbie
     

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