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DPChallenge Forums >> Photography Discussion >> Backdrop Question
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12/08/2004 03:05:49 PM · #1
I have been doing some home studio shots and am seeking some backdrop advice - form the cheap DIY set of folks, please.

I used a black T-shirt for a couple of shots ' . substr('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_challenge/282/thumb/124483.jpg', strrpos('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_challenge/282/thumb/124483.jpg', '/') + 1) . ' as shown here and here ' . substr('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_challenge/281/thumb/124487.jpg', strrpos('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_challenge/281/thumb/124487.jpg', '/') + 1) . '. Not too bad, but picks up lint something fierce. I used a sheet recently, and that seemed to work fairly well. I need to get some of hte proper colors...and a better way to hang it.

What have you found that works well? (or won't work well) and where is a cheap place to get top sheets?

Message edited by author 2004-12-08 15:07:26.
12/08/2004 03:08:36 PM · #2
I was also going to ask the same question as I had a hard time getting it right for my Yellow challenge submission. I was using one of my black tshirts and it didn't seem to be black enough or reflected some light.
12/08/2004 03:13:32 PM · #3
At my local walmart, in the fabric/craft section, I have found, on two seperate occasions, some really heavyweight fabric (black and white) in the $1 a yard section. I bought four or five yards, screwed a curtain rod into the wall, and stapled a pocket along one end of the fabric to hold it up. About an $8 backdrop, each.
12/08/2004 03:13:34 PM · #4
Doesn't work: Black poster board, fabrics with any sheen, woven cottons with close-ups

Does work: Bringing the subject away from your backdrop (but not in the case of things that are set on the fabric), setting the blackpoint (in PS) to the lightest color in your fabric post-process, dark, dark blue blankets from a popular airline, (and I've heard) velvet.

Anyone know where to get inexpensive velvet?
12/08/2004 03:19:03 PM · #5
For small items I use sheets of poster paper and a homemade PVC light tent. I generally drape a sheet over the top of this PVC frame to get better light distribution. I took it off for this shot to show how the PVC frame was contructed and the poster paper was attached.

' . substr('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_portfolio/9932/thumb/98631.jpg', strrpos('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_portfolio/9932/thumb/98631.jpg', '/') + 1) . '

For larger shots I use the $20.00 roll of photographic background paper I buy at the local pro photoshop. You can see the blue roll in the shot above. I attached a hanger to my garage ceiling like so:

' . substr('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_portfolio/9932/thumb/98674.jpg', strrpos('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_portfolio/9932/thumb/98674.jpg', '/') + 1) . '

These shots were created using the small PVC light tent:

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This shot was created using the larger $20.00 roll of white photographic background paper and a small wooden table top:

' . substr('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_portfolio/9932/thumb/64724.jpg', strrpos('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_portfolio/9932/thumb/64724.jpg', '/') + 1) . '
12/08/2004 03:55:21 PM · #6
The only truly good thing to use as a black background, if you really must, is velvet. It's slightly more expensive than 'cheap' - ut not that much - and you will understand why everyone uses it once you have a go.

E
12/08/2004 04:19:35 PM · #7
I've never really worked much with backdrops...I just used my first one today. Tore down the curtains in my room...it's a burgundy red shade, worked pretty well.
12/08/2004 04:35:16 PM · #8
some good information here
12/08/2004 04:47:37 PM · #9
I was thinking about getting one of the greenscreen backdrops so that I could use digital backdrops. Any advice? Likes / Dislikes?
12/08/2004 04:48:03 PM · #10
I have used this paper from time to time, very very black
Black Paper
12/08/2004 06:30:15 PM · #11
Originally posted by KaDi:

Anyone know where to get inexpensive velvet?

1. Remnant table at the fabric store. I bought a 1/4 yard or so of a couple of colors, for macro work. Also, check for velveteen, brushed denim, or flannel -- fabrics with a "nap" are what diffuse the reflections to make a flat background. Corduroy could produce interesting lines as well. Make sure you check in the upholstery fabric section, not just fancy goods.

2. Thrift stores -- see if you can find an old dress or something you can cut up.
12/08/2004 06:39:57 PM · #12
WalMart carries white and deep black demin material that should work well.
12/08/2004 06:41:49 PM · #13
Originally posted by scalvert:

WalMart carries white and deep black demin material that should work well.

You could also try raising a nap on that with some sandpaper.
12/08/2004 07:07:52 PM · #14
I accidentally discovered that my LCD monitor makes an excellent black backdrop. Just switch it off, wipe the dust off, and bingo: perfect black with an anti-reflective coating.

Here's a Yellow reject I did against the monitor, it needed very little adjustment.

' . substr('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_portfolio/15231/thumb/127001.jpg', strrpos('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_portfolio/15231/thumb/127001.jpg', '/') + 1) . '
12/08/2004 07:09:49 PM · #15
For me, velvet is the absolute best for black and very dark backgrounds. Try WalMart, and the fabric stores, after the holidays, they'll usually have it on sale. Be careful that you get real velvet, not panne velvet, which is very lightweight and shiny and reflects terribly.
12/08/2004 07:10:30 PM · #16
Pretty ironic that this thread is running tonight. Having solicited advice from some DPCers, I stopped off at Walmart on the way home from work for fabric. For $14 I got heavy black & white linen AND black velvet. Now I just have to figure out how to hang it up (thanks for the pics RHolden) and I'll be in business. Never would have thought of this and it was SO much cheaper than the photographic backgrounds I was looking at on the internet ($99). Once again, DPC to the rescue!!
12/08/2004 07:44:21 PM · #17
I love this place!
12/08/2004 07:52:35 PM · #18
I love this place too, I learn something new everyday.
I've been looking for backdrop tips.
12/08/2004 11:26:49 PM · #19
I have been using black velvet and white velvet bought at JoAnn Fabrics for very little $$

I also built a light tent like RHolden shows below using these plans from Bill Huber

I also just bought (should get it Friday) a huge 9'x20' white muslim backdrop for $50! Got it on EBay. I hope it is decent quality. If so, I'll buy a similar black one.

Dave
12/08/2004 11:41:47 PM · #20
Some of the home decor stores sell velvet window pannels, probably of varying quality, but they might be worth a look - especially if they run clearance sales a couple times a year. Following GeneralE's suggestion, you can also check out the thrift stores for old window treatments and formal dresses. I'm guessing that the best prices will be found in the remnant sections of fabric stores.
12/08/2004 11:44:50 PM · #21
Velvet is the way to go as others have said... I got mine for 12 bucks a yard...

I use a combination of white poster board (the rough side) and the black velvet for my pictures, and I take them all in my dimly lit dorm room with desklamps propped on my bed. Works out pretty well as long as you can stand the low shutter speeds...

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' . substr('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_challenge/263/thumb/108923.jpg', strrpos('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_challenge/263/thumb/108923.jpg', '/') + 1) . '

Message edited by author 2004-12-08 23:47:42.
12/09/2004 01:23:19 AM · #22
Originally posted by jlsnads:

I was thinking about getting one of the greenscreen backdrops so that I could use digital backdrops. Any advice? Likes / Dislikes?


Any color will work. PS can magic wand or color range pick and replace. The backdrop has to have NO color that the main item has for the color pic version. high contrast will work for the magic wand.

of course, no digital backdrop will work for DPC entries.
12/09/2004 01:25:44 AM · #23
Originally posted by mickwest:

I accidentally discovered that my LCD monitor makes an excellent black backdrop. Just switch it off, wipe the dust off, and bingo: perfect black with an anti-reflective coating.

Here's a Yellow reject I did against the monitor, it needed very little adjustment.

' . substr('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_portfolio/15231/thumb/127001.jpg', strrpos('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_portfolio/15231/thumb/127001.jpg', '/') + 1) . '


So now I can justify that big screen plasma TV afterall!
12/09/2004 01:28:16 AM · #24
Originally posted by bestagents:

The backdrop has to have NO color that the main item has for the color pic version. high contrast will work for the magic wand.

This is true ... most commonly used though are blue (especially in video) and an ugly light green : )

The other hard part is making sure it is evenly-lit so it all seems the "same color" to the camera!
12/09/2004 01:32:09 AM · #25
Hmmm ... I've used my monitor as a background too ... no plasma screen for me : (

*Bad Taste Alert*
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