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Flash and Studio Lighting Equipment, Techniques and Setup: Discuss White Background and Windows?...Hi I have been asked to take some photos of dancers against a white background. I avoid white backgrounds usually ...
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Old 18-05-2015, 13:51   #1 (permalink)
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White Background and Windows?

Hi
I have been asked to take some photos of dancers against a white background.
I avoid white backgrounds usually but have no choice this time.
The hall has windows along one side. If I place the background in front of the windows, will these help to illuminate it or make things more difficult?
I have 2 lights but I Need these both at the front as there will be small groups involved. Do I need to buy another light to overexpose the background?
Thanks in advance!
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Old 18-05-2015, 14:08   #2 (permalink)
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Re: White Background and Windows?

I don't think that the windows will light the BG evenly, or if it is dull the light will be too weak for anything. you have not given us any idea of the dimensions of your set.

Have you thought about hiring another light or light set, or using a reflector(s) too?
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Old 18-05-2015, 14:22   #3 (permalink)
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Re: White Background and Windows?

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I don't think that the windows will light the BG evenly, or if it is dull the light will be too weak for anything. you have not given us any idea of the dimensions of your set.

Have you thought about hiring another light or light set, or using a reflector(s) too?
Sorry. The background is 3m wide if that helps.
I could possibly buy one more light cheaply on eBay if this will make things easier.
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Old 18-05-2015, 14:39   #4 (permalink)
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Re: White Background and Windows?

You can light a 3 metre BG with one light, but not evenly unless you can position the light directly behind it in the centre with either a very wide angle reflector or no reflector, and even then the BG lighting will probably no be even across the 3 metres. For that width IF you want even BG lighting two lights would be better.

I'd avoid buying cheap e-bay specials as if they play up you will have little or no support. Hiring would be a better option as the company will still be there if you need them. Your decision in the end though.
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Old 18-05-2015, 14:47   #5 (permalink)
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Re: White Background and Windows?

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You can light a 3 metre BG with one light, but not evenly unless you can position the light directly behind it in the centre with either a very wide angle reflector or no reflector, and even then the BG lighting will probably no be even across the 3 metres. For that width IF you want even BG lighting two lights would be better.

I'd avoid buying cheap e-bay specials as if they play up you will have little or no support. Hiring would be a better option as the company will still be there if you need them. Your decision in the end though.
Ok thanks for this. What about one of the budget interfit kits?
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Old 18-05-2015, 17:07   #6 (permalink)
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Re: White Background and Windows?

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Ok thanks for this. What about one of the budget interfit kits?
Interfit have had good press so should be OK. Not sure about the power though as AFAIK they start at 150 watt which might not be enough to evenly light 3 metres.
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Old 18-05-2015, 20:15   #7 (permalink)
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Re: White Background and Windows?

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Interfit have had good press so should be OK. Not sure about the power though as AFAIK they start at 150 watt which might not be enough to evenly light 3 metres.
Great. Thanks for this
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Old 18-05-2015, 21:28   #8 (permalink)
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Re: White Background and Windows?

Just to update, I have just bought a used interfit kit on gumtree so will try my best with that. Any tips on setup gratefully received
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Old 18-05-2015, 22:19   #9 (permalink)
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Re: White Background and Windows?

I'd go for one light on each side with a standard reflector and if necessary flags to prevent spillage onto the subjects. You could light from the back, but this might give issues of flare around the edges and maybe the walls or ceiling if the light is not well controlled if you are going to need to use most or all of the BG. I think it will be easier to light from the front.

Set the BG lights about the same or 1 stop over the key light for starters. You don't want light reflecting from the BG and affecting the light on the subjects. You will have to experiment with the distance and angle from the BG to get it even if this is what you want. If you get hot spots with reflectors a diffuser will even it out more.
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Old 19-05-2015, 00:15   #10 (permalink)
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Re: White Background and Windows?

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I'd go for one light on each side with a standard reflector and if necessary flags to prevent spillage onto the subjects. You could light from the back, but this might give issues of flare around the edges and maybe the walls or ceiling if the light is not well controlled if you are going to need to use most or all of the BG. I think it will be easier to light from the front.

Set the BG lights about the same or 1 stop over the key light for starters. You don't want light reflecting from the BG and affecting the light on the subjects. You will have to experiment with the distance and angle from the BG to get it even if this is what you want. If you get hot spots with reflectors a diffuser will even it out more.
Thank you so much for this. Can I make my own flags out of cardboard or will that look very amateur?
Am I better with brollies or soft boxes for the subject lights?
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Old 19-05-2015, 00:17   #11 (permalink)
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Re: White Background and Windows?

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Thank you so much for this. Can I make my own flags out of cardboard or will that look very amateur?
Am I better with brollies or soft boxes for the subject lights?
Sorry - I just noticed that you said standard reflector
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Old 19-05-2015, 00:40   #12 (permalink)
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Re: White Background and Windows?

If you want a pro look use black mount board for the flags, but cardboard will do the same job. You can paint it black with blackboard paint if you want. I use mount board off cuts from mounting prints with bulldog clips or those cheap clamps you can get in markets on the tools stalls. Usually 1 per card. You get 10 small clips/clamps or fewer bigger ones. Sticky tape will make a mess on the hot reflector (hot from the modelling light).

I said use reflectors for the BG lighting. For key and fill lights I prefer softboxes as they have much less uncontrolled light spread. You can get good results with brollies either by firing through them or firing into the brolly and reflecting the light onto the subjects.

Try to get a decent distance between the BG and subjects (6 to 8 feet) or you will get shadows on the BG. These can be reduced or eliminated by varying the BG lighting power if you can't avoid them.

Good idea to try out some set ups before the event.
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Old 19-05-2015, 12:25   #13 (permalink)
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Re: White Background and Windows?

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If you want a pro look use black mount board for the flags, but cardboard will do the same job. You can paint it black with blackboard paint if you want. I use mount board off cuts from mounting prints with bulldog clips or those cheap clamps you can get in markets on the tools stalls. Usually 1 per card. You get 10 small clips/clamps or fewer bigger ones. Sticky tape will make a mess on the hot reflector (hot from the modelling light).

I said use reflectors for the BG lighting. For key and fill lights I prefer softboxes as they have much less uncontrolled light spread. You can get good results with brollies either by firing through them or firing into the brolly and reflecting the light onto the subjects.

Try to get a decent distance between the BG and subjects (6 to 8 feet) or you will get shadows on the BG. These can be reduced or eliminated by varying the BG lighting power if you can't avoid them.

Good idea to try out some set ups before the event.
Brilliant. Thanks for all this. I will try to practice as much as poss before the day
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Old 01-06-2015, 20:05   #14 (permalink)
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Re: White Background and Windows?

Thanks for the above. The shoot went well although some of the shots need some work done on the background. I guess I still have a lot of work to do.
Here's an example:
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Old 01-06-2015, 20:41   #15 (permalink)
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Re: White Background and Windows?

And cleaned up
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Old 01-06-2015, 21:08   #16 (permalink)
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Re: White Background and Windows?

Well done BG is a bit under exposed in #1. but I actually prefer that one as there are shadows on the floor where in #2 they look to be floating.

When you do the corrections on the BG try using the grad tool to give them something to stand on. A kind of reversal of how the BG looks in #1. Unless this is what you wanted, of course, in which case - job done.

I think a bit more contrast might improve it too.

Maybe a touch less light on the front and a bit more on the BG would help.
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Old 02-06-2015, 11:37   #17 (permalink)
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Re: White Background and Windows?

As you have your edit - OK on, this is a quick edit on my laptop using Elements

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Old 03-06-2015, 15:00   #18 (permalink)
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Re: White Background and Windows?

Ah ok - thanks v much - I will give this a shot

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As you have your edit - OK on, this is a quick edit on my laptop using Elements

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Old 03-06-2015, 15:58   #19 (permalink)
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Re: White Background and Windows?

Just thought I would add my tuppence worth to the edit, taken from the very first image. On my screen I have the BG pure white but there seems to be a slight tint in the download.
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Old 03-06-2015, 18:50   #20 (permalink)
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Re: White Background and Windows?

And here is yet another one, this time done in Photoshop on my desktop. Again, a quick job that could be improved with more time spent, You can see that I've omitted to sort out the top RH corner

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Old 05-06-2015, 18:14   #21 (permalink)
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Re: White Background and Windows?

Thanks for these. I'm slowly working my way through them all, cleaning up but trying to keep ground shadows. Do white backgrounds ALWAYS need some degree of post-processing, or with correct lighting, would I be able to avoid it in future?
It's not a hig eproblem. I'd say I'm spending 4-5 mins on each shot which probably isn't too bad.

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Just thought I would add my tuppence worth to the edit, taken from the very first image. On my screen I have the BG pure white but there seems to be a slight tint in the download.
Colin.

Quote:
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And here is yet another one, this time done in Photoshop on my desktop. Again, a quick job that could be improved with more time spent, You can see that I've omitted to sort out the top RH corner

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Old 05-06-2015, 18:28   #22 (permalink)
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Re: White Background and Windows?

With practice you can get the BG right with no further work to be done. However, sometimes there has to be a compromise and if it means getting the light right on the subject and then having to adjust the BG I think this is better than the other way around.

If I'm using Lightroom to process studio images and there is a series of pictures that have the same lighting you can copy and paste the adjustments. In Photoshop you can record an action or actions then batch process similar images. This does save a lot of time as you only have to do the editing once for each batch. This can only be done with global adjustments though, it does not apply if you have cloning or dodging and burning or anything that is applied to just one part of an image - for instance a face - cannot be replicated to another image where the face is in a different place in the frame.
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Old 06-06-2015, 13:31   #23 (permalink)
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Re: White Background and Windows?

Sasmax, I think Graham has answered your question. I have not done any studio work for some years now but I normally found I had to do a little adjustment to either a white or black BG. But then I never was an expert when it came to lighting and was only working with a basic set up.
I must look up some of my old work and post sometime.
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