How to get the white background bright

brothersanju

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Hello,

I have just started photography of some objects using a digital camera and white muslin backdrop.
When I look at the photo it does not show the white background bright as it looks in the product photos. How can I do that please.

I do not have budget to hire professionals nor to buy expensive software. Please help.

Regards
San
 

jwbryson1

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I think it's easier to do it with a grey muslin background than with white when it comes to post processing, but it's my understanding that you need to blow out the background to ensure that it's white and not grey. I have a white muslin backdrop that I have never used, but I think I read on this forum that lighting the backdrop can help blow it out and get it white.

I may be wrong in which case I'll get shredded by somebody who knows more than me.
 

MTVision

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I think you need a light on your background to get it pure white otherwise it will probably be shades of gray. Not 100% sure
 

cgipson1

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You do need to light your background separately from the subject and expose the background anywhere from one to two stops brighter than the subject...... you will need to keep the subject far enough away from the background to make sure the "light splash" doesn't blow out the subject any, also.

Like this:
charlie1.jpg
 

KmH

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Yep, you need more light on the background to keep it white in the photo.

Light power drops off as a square function with distance. It's a physical law of nature (Inverse Square law) inverse square law - Bing

A medium gray background can be use to make a white or black background if the photographer has a solid understanding of exposure. Using colored gels on the background lights a gray background can also by made a wide variety of pastel colors. if you want good saturated colors from gelled lights you need a black background.

Since you can't afford to hire a pro, you'll instead pay in the form of the time you will spend learning to accomplish on your own what a pro can do.
 

unpopular

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Ok. Here are some pre-requisits: Your background must be brighter, or as bright, as the specular in your subject. If the subject is brighter than the background, then the subject will be over exposed, just as the background should be. Second, you will need the background the be as evenly lit as possible. Try lighting using two soft boxes on either side and maybe even large reflectors - You can use foam core sheets or sheets of foam insulation. You'll want to light the backdrop by itself and the subject by it self, so you'll want lights for the backdrop and lights for the subject. You could prob. do it by just lighting the subject carefully but this avoids shadows.

Now you're going to want to meter off the background and provide enough exposure that it is white. I prefer doing this in manual mode myself. It may not be a good idea to provide so much exposure that it blows out completely, but enough that it's white without clipping. Clip out only if you need to. Next you'll need to adjust the light intensity that is illuminating the subject - don't adjust the camera, adjust the lights, so that they are providing enough light to properly expose the subject.

So essentially, you're exposing for the background and lighting for the subject - make sense?
 
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brothersanju

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Definately makes sense. Just narrowing down to implementation. I feel so uneducated by looking at the advice and tips from you professional guys. If I use 2 softboxes to light the mannequin, will I need softboxes to light the backdrops as well. how many watts / K should the lights be please?
 

willis_927

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I believe if you are to meter the subject, and meter the background seperately, you will want to have the background about 2 stops brighter than the subject in order to have it blown out white.
 

Big Mike

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Definately makes sense. Just narrowing down to implementation. I feel so uneducated by looking at the advice and tips from you professional guys. If I use 2 softboxes to light the mannequin, will I need softboxes to light the backdrops as well. how many watts / K should the lights be please?
Depending on how you can place the lights, and the characteristics of the light and/or modifier...you may need one or two lights for the background. You probably don't need softboxes for the background lights....as long as you can use one or two lights to get a fairly even spread of light on the background.

The power and color of the light will depend on the power and color of your 'main' lights (and thus the exposure value that your camera is set to). The color (type of blub) should be the same as your main lights.
 

unpopular

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I believe if you are to meter the subject, and meter the background seperately, you will want to have the background about 2 stops brighter than the subject in order to have it blown out white.

^^ that is provided that the subject is light-skinned person. If the subject is a dark-skinned person, then the background would need to be 3-4 stops brighter. I don't like these arbitrary measurements because they don't take into account reflectance.
 
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unpopular

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Definately makes sense. Just narrowing down to implementation. I feel so uneducated by looking at the advice and tips from you professional guys. If I use 2 softboxes to light the mannequin, will I need softboxes to light the backdrops as well. how many watts / K should the lights be please?
Depending on how you can place the lights, and the characteristics of the light and/or modifier...you may need one or two lights for the background. You probably don't need softboxes for the background lights....as long as you can use one or two lights to get a fairly even spread of light on the background.

Exactly. it doesn't matter how you get there, so long as you have a flat background. How you light your subject is up to you, but white backgrounds tend to look best with softer shadows.
 

gsgary

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Another thing to be careful of is light boucing off your background, like the shot above with the gentleman with the silly hat notice his right shoulder
 
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brothersanju

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Please suggest the power of the bulbs also as I will end up buying anything. Will it be ok to use 2 x 125W(525W equ) Daylight Bulbs for the softbox for the subject and slightly higher bulbs for the background? If I use these continous lights I hope there won't be any use to use the main lights?
 

cgipson1

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On the background itself, I just use bare speedlights or monos with aluminum bowl reflectors, setup just far enough away for the spread to cover the background. I will sometimes use barndoors or a flag if I am in a tight spot, just to insure the background lights are not putting light directly on the subject.

On the subject I try to use a nice soft modifier, more because I prefer it.. than anything else. Even bare, harsh flash on your subject won't shadow the background... if the background is lit properly.
 

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