Why is my background all dingy?

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by Cinka, Jul 18, 2009.

  1. Cinka

    Cinka TPF Noob!

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    I'm shooting product and while the color of the actual item is pretty spot on, I noticed the background (which is pure white seamless) is dingy.

    I'm using: 40D, Alien Bees B800 on right (about 1/16 power), white bounce on left, custom white balance using Whi-Bal card in post. 125 sec, F13, ISO 100 - the item is about a foot from the backdrop.

    Is there a way to get the background white?? What am I missing here?

    [​IMG]

    Thanks!!!
     
  2. Garbz

    Garbz No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    You need a light exclusively on your background. Or you need to photoshop it. Otherwise what you're trying to do would cause the image to be over exposed.

    Oh and you have a dust spot on your sensor on the bottom of the frame which may need cleaning at some point.
     
  3. Cinka

    Cinka TPF Noob!

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    That's kinda what I thought. Except, how do you light the background when you're shooting small items? Overhead? Sides?

    BTW, how you can tell it's a dust spot on the sensor and not the lens? Just curious if there is a difference? I didn't notice it until you mentioned it. Good eye!
     
  4. Sw1tchFX

    Sw1tchFX TPF Noob!

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    You can do this two ways:

    get your subject supported, and like what garbz said, light the subject and BG separately, you'll need alot of space for this.

    OR

    You can do what most people do nowadays and again, light your subject and background separately, but keep the background gray. That way, you have no spill at all on the object, and you can easily do a clipping path to knock out that background.

    The 2nd is the easiest for doing large numbers of product, say 50 or more, simply for consistency. Nuking the background will react differently from subject material to subject material, leaving it gray is so neutral, you'll never notice it.

    Either way, you need to get your subject off that seamless one way or another if you want your subject to "float"
     
  5. Moglex

    Moglex TPF Noob!

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  6. Cinka

    Cinka TPF Noob!

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    The only time I would ever really need a pure white background is when clients (as in this case) don't want me to do photo editing or remove object from background - they want images as-is, which means faster delivery. When I was working for a large company, we used to remove the image from the BG in photoshop which took away the natural shadows, which I personally like.

    I may be too critical of my own work, but are you saying the grey background isn't bad? I might want it a tad lighter. I guess I'll play around tomorrow since I have some extra time before I deliver the second round of images.
     
  7. Dwig

    Dwig TPF Noob!

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    The classic approach is from behind and possibly below.

    Use a translucent background sweep and place a light behind the background aiming through it. You may also want to use an elevated clear table onto which you place the bottom of the background sweep and the subject. You can then aim another light up through the bottom of the sweep.
     
  8. BKMOOD

    BKMOOD TPF Noob!

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    Use a gray card. You'll get pure white backgrounds. Works like a charm. Your camera is viewing the white background as an over-exposed area and darkens it, making it somewhat gray. Same with trying to get pure black. Your camera views it as an under-exposed area and lightens it, making it somewhat gray.
     
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2009
  9. andrew99

    andrew99 TPF Noob!

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  10. Cinka

    Cinka TPF Noob!

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    Thanks everyone! Excellent tips! Very helpful!
     
  11. Sw1tchFX

    Sw1tchFX TPF Noob!

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    When i've worked with people on catalog shoots, we shoot in front of a gray seamless so there's no spill, it's neutral, and it easily contrasts against the product.

    This way, our graphic designers can clip out the product, and paint it white. therefore the client can do whatever they want with it later.

    microwaving a white background will create really bright specular highlights on reflective materials (eg. some plastics in shoes, skin, glass), gray backgrounds aren't so bright so they can be easily removed if need be.
     
  12. Cinka

    Cinka TPF Noob!

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    That's interesting. I forgot that when I first started doing high volume product work at a large company, we used a grey background. Later, the graphic editors complained and we changed to white. I agree that grey might be a better route to go. generally speaking. In this case, the client doesn't want me to do any extra photoshopping. She wants to simply grab the images and upload to her site - I don't think it looks good and it doesn't give consistent results. Not in my case, anyway.

    I did try nuking the background - which resulted in some really great highlights and a neat glow effect - Only problem was light spillage on some of the items. This method has not been perfected yet :)
     

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