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DPChallenge Forums >> Tips, Tricks, and Q&A >> Backgrounds -- Help Please :)
Showing posts 1 - 7 of 7, (reverse)
10/03/2008 05:52:39 PM · #1
How on earth do you get a background to be either completely black or completely white?? Do I have to buy some accessories for this, or is it a matter or technique (or both)?
10/03/2008 06:10:49 PM · #2
The cheapest method would be to use black or white posterboard as a backdrop. Then in Photoshop, you can use selective color to change the blacks to blacker or the whites to whiter, in case you need an extra boost of "completeness" to the color.
10/03/2008 06:15:32 PM · #3
Black velvet will absorb pretty much all light hitting it - EXCELLENT for photos

As mentioned above, you then adjust your levels so that things turn completely black..
10/03/2008 06:22:29 PM · #4
Photography is about light. Getting the BG to be black or white (or any shade of gray inbetween) can be done solely with light.

Go outside about midnight and shoot a person using your flash. What's the BG look like? Black huh? Didn't look like that at noon now did it? What's changed? The light. There is no light on the BG.

Pick an exposure for your subject. If the BG is 3 stops darker it's gonna be black in the photo. If it's 2 to 3 stops above it's gonna be white, or blown out (same thing really).

It's easier if you start with a BG that is the close to what you want as an end result but not 100% necessary.
10/03/2008 06:59:08 PM · #5

I have often asked the same question to myself and others. For me, it wasn't so much about outdoor stuff as all the cool macros I saw photographers pulling off. For example, the recent 2nd place photo 'J'alepeno by ' . substr('//www.dpchallenge.com/images/user_icon/21.gif', strrpos('//www.dpchallenge.com/images/user_icon/21.gif', '/') + 1) . ' sekarmalathy.

Here's what seems to be the most common response. Find a very dark place, like a basement room. Use something like black velvet or another black fabric as your background. As mentioned earlier here, black posterboard can also work if it's matte. If you're in the States, this is commonly available at Staples or another office store. To get light on the subject, but not the background, use strong lighting aimed directly at the subject from the sides and from the front if needed or if possible (your camera flash can work quite nicely here). As for the side lights, you can buy some expensive lighting or use a good old home remedy. I've used a flexible desk lamp before. And I'm realizing as I write this just how desperate I am. :)

I'm sorry I don't have any samples posted here of my own work. Mostly, I'm newer to this and learning as I go just like you. Hopefully, we'll get some posted sooooon.

Have a great night.
10/03/2008 07:10:10 PM · #6
just like prof said, it's just a matter of correctly using your lights (assuming you have some) and it doesn't really matter if you're using strobes or continous lights (even tho strobes are a lot easier to work with).

for all my studio work i have one black and one white backdrop both made of cotton/molton (they absorb light pretty well). if you adjusts your lights correctly you get to make them look them from completely white to completely black and all greys inbetween.
ok a few examples out of my portfoilo

' . substr('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_portfolio/30000-34999/33535/120/553765.jpg', strrpos('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_portfolio/30000-34999/33535/120/553765.jpg', '/') + 1) . ' black background, single strobe from upper right, no other lights involved (model was positioned about 1.5m (5 ft.) from the background).

' . substr('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_portfolio/30000-34999/33535/120/724599.jpg', strrpos('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_portfolio/30000-34999/33535/120/724599.jpg', '/') + 1) . 'white background, one remote flash set up right behind the model to blow out the background, main light from upper right about 2.5 stops lower than background light.

' . substr('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_portfolio/30000-34999/33535/120/724538.jpg', strrpos('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_portfolio/30000-34999/33535/120/724538.jpg', '/') + 1) . ' white background, same setup as above, but BG light and main light about leveled power to achieve a nice grey tone (the gradient was achieved by "snooting" the BG light to focus the beam).

you can also use your white background to get any color you want by putting a color gel infron of the background light.
here's one example:
' . substr('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_challenge/0-999/712/120/553770.jpg', strrpos('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_challenge/0-999/712/120/553770.jpg', '/') + 1) . '

Message edited by author 2008-10-03 19:14:38.
10/04/2008 02:13:07 PM · #7
Wow! Thank you so much to everybody! :D These are *great* tips, and I'm really excited to try some of these things out. As of now I can probably only afford some velvet and to stick a desk lamp or two at the sides of my subject (thanks for the flexible desk lamp idea, ' . substr('//www.dpchallenge.com/images/user_icon/31.gif', strrpos('//www.dpchallenge.com/images/user_icon/31.gif', '/') + 1) . ' greigner!), but I can't wait till I'll be able to beef up my accessories and try out some of the more advanced techniques suggested here!! :)
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