muslin vs seamless paper

Discussion in 'Digital Discussion & Q&A' started by mitsugirly, Jul 8, 2009.

  1. mitsugirly

    mitsugirly TPF Noob!

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    I've always wanted to achieve the very white NON WRINKLED look on pictures.

    Do most of you use the seamless paper and lighting to achieve this? I bought muslin several months ago and it's the worse when it comes to wrinkles. I mean THE WORSE! The muslin that I bought is HUGE!!! So there's really no way to store it when switching backdrops without creating wrinkles. I have an entire extra livingroom set up for picture taking, so I never have to take down anything...unless I'm switching backgrounds.

    Do you suggest seamless paper? If so, where is a good cheap place to get it? What size do you suggest I would need for doing full portraits of people? How do you set up the lighting to achieve the full white look?

    Any suggestions on a way to get wrinkles out of my muslin? I've tried throwing them in the dryer and immediately hanging them up...still wrinkled. I tried wetting them down then the dryer...still wrinkled. Short of ironing them...which I think would be impossible because of the size and would probably end up wrinkled by the time I got down to the end of it. UGH! :(
     
  2. Phranquey

    Phranquey TPF Noob!

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    Yes, the effect you are looking for will best achieved with white seamless. As far as ordering, I couldn't tell you, I get mine locally. The common sizes are 26", 53" 107", & 140" widths, available in varying lengths.

    Muslin is designed to have a certain amount of wrinkle to it to give texture to the photograph. The thing you want to avoid is the fold lines from packaging. I store my muslins rolled up in small kitchen garbage bags. When I pull them out & hang them, if I want to reduce some of the wrinkles, I use a portable hand steamer.
     
  3. Rere

    Rere TPF Noob!

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    This is what I do:

    I have bought many different muslin backgrounds in different colors and some patterns over the last six years. I believe my background stand is 12 feet across with the four poles in it, but I usually only use three poles. So I usually buy10 x 12. There are times when I reverse the width and length.

    I used to carefully fold up the material, until I realized that the creases are extremely hard to steam out. Yes, a hand steamer will take out the majority of the wrinkles while on the background stand. Now I do not fold the material, but roll it (like Phranquey suggests) the best I can and stuff it up into a bag so that the wrinkles will be random--and yes, at times I haven't rolled, but simply stuffed. This gives a more pleasing look than the deep creases that folding gives. I never ever fold any more.

    In my studio at home I leave two pieces of material up all the time (I put them on shower curten rings, which makes it faster and easier to slide the material over to change backgrounds when shooting a client.

    But many times the colors that are up will not work with a particular client's coloring, so I have to change the materials. And, of course, on location, I have to put the background stand and material up in the client's house or where the event is located. So, if the wrinkles are real bad--though random, I'll steam some of them out, bu usually this takes too long to do on location.

    I've found that when shooting that playing around with the lighting/studio lights and settings will help minimize the wrinkles. I've also tried paper, with bad results.

    The only time I use paper is for product photography, and since these, most of the time, are small objects, I might use paper. Lots of times I do product photos while standing on a step ladder and shooting down onto a table with small amounts of paper or material.

    Good luck, and let us know if you can come up with any other ideas!
     
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2009
  4. Big Mike

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

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    Paper is great, but the wide rolls are expensive to ship and can even be hard to transport. Also, it's hard to avoid getting it dirty or ripping it...so you do go though it as you use it.

    As for muslin, you can reduce the winkles but probably not eliminate them. Using a steamer or even just a spray bottle while keeping it hung up can really help.

    One key point is that you can still get a nice clean white background with a somewhat wrinkly backdrop...you just have to light it well.
    What are you using for a background light? If you use two (or more) lights to illuminate the background from multiple angles, it should be fairly easy to make it photograph as clean white.

    Now getting a clean white looking surface under your client is harder to do because you can't just blast it with light...but you could use a harder white surface under them...like clear plexi-glass over paper or fabric or that white acrylic board.
     
  5. KmH

    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish Supporting Member

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    For high key...White seamless, the 107" x 12 yards ($40 a roll). Smaller doesn't work unless you are only doing single head shots.

    I buy seamless from B&H Photo Video and since I'm a NAPP member I get free regular shipping on anything I order from B&H Photo Video (among a bunch of other perks and discounts that pay back the membership fee many times over in a years time).

    Here is a link to a great tutorial on settin up for high key.
     
  6. Phranquey

    Phranquey TPF Noob!

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  7. Rere

    Rere TPF Noob!

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    KMH, thanks for the tutorial, I also bookmarked it.
     
  8. kundalini

    kundalini Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Awesome tut Keith. Cheers...... Oh yeah, and for the seamless too...
     

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