Tech Talk for Pro Photographers: Gear, Lighting, Resources, Etc. See Post#1.
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Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Borås, Sweden
Well, re. backgrounds. It all depends on what you want to express in contrast in the pictures, how much shadows & light you want to hit the subject etc. But some tips re. when to use what might be useful.
To get a white background, you need well first a white background, and then enough light on the background to create a proper separation. Usually 3 lights with two on the background and then one main light on the subject. How much the background needs to be overexposed to burn out to white depends on the media, film requires more than digital.
A grey background is great when you want a neutral background and your clothes go towards black or white. You can light it almost as hard as you want and the grey background will stay grey. This as opposed to a white background lit with only a main light which will turn towards white if you crank up the light power.
A black background you use when you want black (or dark grey) surroundings. Quite often this is used with dramatic lighting (deep shadows, high contrast) aswell and can be quite tricky. Remember that a black background (paper) lit with a lot of light will turn dark grey, not black so you need to control your light ratios carefully.
Some photographers like to claim that all you need is a white background and truly, there are instances when you can just go with a white background and create both white, grey and even black images from it. But then you also have the instances where you do need grey and black (as mentioned above). It all depends on which type of image you want to take.
So that would be the first thing you need to decide, second would be the lighting and third the background =)
Have fun on your shoot.
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