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DPChallenge Forums >> Photography Discussion >> Background help please
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03/11/2007 12:52:26 PM · #1
I live in an apartment, have very little space to shoot, but love it. I don't have much space to be able to separate subject from background at all.

I'm looking right now for background options - I have not been able to find a BLACK velux/velour/fleece blanket anywhere. Lots of other colours - blues, greens, dark chocolate brown even - but no black.

I do have a Henry's locally - should I look into getting some paper to pin on the walls, and maybe a throw rug for the floor ? Or can I unroll the paper right onto the floor and not wreck it ?

White or black ? My walls are that horrid off-white "builder's beige", with Crayola-toned accents in crayon, marker, and finger-smudge variations.

Please help me !

Oh - mostly - I'm getting shots of my children (3 months, 2 years and 4 years), and friends or their kids.
03/11/2007 12:54:26 PM · #2
Have you checked the craft sections in Wal-Mart or other places that sell materials? You might be able to find some solid black cloth there. And you can also choose how big a size you want to. Hope that helps you some...
03/11/2007 12:56:21 PM · #3
Originally posted by bex85:

Have you checked the craft sections in Wal-Mart or other places that sell materials? You might be able to find some solid black cloth there. And you can also choose how big a size you want to. Hope that helps you some...


Yep - did that today actually. Nothing that was straight black. Lots of stuff with prints, or in greys and colours. But no black.

ETA : did find a blue fuzzy blanket for baby pics though at WalMart today - I'm looking forward to using that soon.

Message edited by author 2007-03-11 12:56:53.
03/11/2007 01:04:52 PM · #4
Although I havent picked one up yet, I was considering buying a black curtain and using a portable wardrobe or some kind of pvc hanger???
03/12/2007 02:31:50 AM · #5
I have seen a thread similar to this in the past for a tip that might help you but only came up with This one...quoted from there:
Originally posted by joebok:

You can also use photographic effects to isolate the subject while you are taking the photo. Depth of Field and Zoom are usually the easiest. It was very helpful for me to do some experiments with my equipment - take the same photo at every aperture, compare. Take photos of the same thing at different focal lengths (moving the camera so the subject is the same size).

Lighting can also be very helpful - if you are inside this can be as simple as using a flashlight to illuminate your subject more or in a different way than the background. Outside, if your subject is close you can use fill-flash to light the subject and darken the background.


Maybe you can make it work but just getting as dark a color as you can and working with the above tip. They also mention adjusting the colors in postprocessing by using selective color adjustments...hope this helps.

good luck.
03/12/2007 03:20:49 PM · #6
i went to a fabric store and found felt. 6ft x 6ft pieces for about $5. I got a black and a white one.
03/12/2007 04:29:25 PM · #7
I bought a set of Black solid bed sheets...gave me a floor covering and a back drop...
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you can touch up the saturation to make it darker...as you see in Gavin's pic it looks alittle brownish...

Message edited by author 2007-03-12 16:31:57.
03/12/2007 04:39:47 PM · #8
Great ideas - thank you.
03/12/2007 04:51:02 PM · #9
Is there an ikea in ur location as they do sell a black flee blanket for only $3.95. This same blanket also comes in red, beige, orange, yellow, etc...
03/12/2007 04:56:25 PM · #10
Discount fabric bins at Walmart or fabric stores. I got several yards of both black and white for under 15 dollars.
03/12/2007 04:59:46 PM · #11
THESE PEOPLE

have wonderful fabrics :) and not too bad on pricing either... I have ordered from them and got my stuff in less than a week.
03/12/2007 05:10:51 PM · #12
No Ikea locally - but I would love an excuse to check one out !
03/12/2007 05:35:52 PM · #13
We have Jo-Ann Fabric stores around here.. and they do sell the black velvet (though it is the color most often out of stock it seems). What about shooting outside... maybe at a local park? There's bound to be some playground equipment for the kids to use or at least some trees. Good luck!
03/12/2007 06:14:39 PM · #14
Originally posted by kteach:

We have Jo-Ann Fabric stores around here.. and they do sell the black velvet (though it is the color most often out of stock it seems). What about shooting outside... maybe at a local park? There's bound to be some playground equipment for the kids to use or at least some trees. Good luck!


Jo-Anns seems to be strictly a US chain. We have something called "Fabricland" but it doesn't sound like it's got as much selection.

Too cold yet for an outdoor shoot - I'll get to that in a few more weeks. It's still hovering right around freezing, and I don't want to tote my 3-month old out in that if I don't have to. Soon though.
03/12/2007 07:47:03 PM · #15
Black velvet is definitely the stuff to go for, you should be able to get some from a curtain or fabric shop.

Velvet really does seem to soak up stray light. Most other black materials reflect or scatter some light which requires post-picture fannying about.

Keep the light off the velvet, run a lint roller over it to pick up the bits which you can't see but the camera can ;)
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