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Photography Question 
Andrew Laverghetta
BetterPhoto Member Since: 9/13/2004

studio black background


I'm looking to buy some better background for my studio style photography. At the moment I'm using white muslin but I find it impossible to get the text out of it for what I do plus it's just not fun to work with. I've used paper backgrounds in white and red and I loved it. The biggest problem that I've had has been with black backgrounds and making it look like a large black abyss, like an unending black space. I'm looking for a type of background that won't reflect like as some have in the past. Right now I'm on B&H and I'm looking at some backgrounds. I prefer very wide backgrounds, around 108inches and a good length to where I can talk full length shots both standing and laying horizontally.

I see a

58x120" "velour classic portrait photo backdrop"

"widetone seamless paper background - 107"x12yds #20 super black"

"velvetine paper background 52x20" midnight black"

Right now I'm leaning towards the widetone seamless paper because it's so large but I was worrying about getting those reflections again. B&H goes on to say,

"Widetone Seamless Paper Backgrounds are high quality, fine tooth non-reflecting surfaces available in an array of vibrant colors."

It says it's non-reflective but I just wasn't sure.

Has anybody had experience with this background or the shipping of these HUGE backgrounds?



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9/25/2006 3:57:01 PM

Mark Feldstein
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/17/2005
  I don't understand what you mean by "impossible to get the text out of it for what [you] do."

The surfaces of any background paper will be reflective regardless of how its made if they're not lit properly. Remember, angle of incidence = angle of reflection.

As far as width goes, 108 inches is slightly less than 9 feet. In the realm of studio work, that's not all that long. It's ok but not a real substitute for a seamless shooting cove. When you start working horizontally, it still gets tight unless your subjects start adjusting their limbs.

As far as the shipping goes, they're always shipped in a sturdy, cardboard shipping tube that doubles as it's own case, assuming you can roll it tight enough to get it back into its case . I haven't had one buckle or break on me before delivery. And...check out the seamless at Superior Specialties

Their bright white seamless is especially good for doing high-key lighting.

Take it light.

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9/25/2006 6:37:18 PM

Andrew Laverghetta
BetterPhoto Member Since: 9/13/2004
  woops! I think I meant to say texture and I must have gotten ahead of myself.

Also, for some reason I may have though subconciously thought about it but the actual concious thought of the angle of incidence part hadn't really made it into my mind. How would I go about lighting something black to keep it from reflecting? Maybe higher and further to one side?

I think the big reason why I mentioned about 9 feet as being wide is because many of the other black back grounds are about half as wide or not quite as long.

I need to correct myself, the velvetine paper is 52inchesx20feet. Still that doesn't seem very wide for how long it is. The velour backdrop is 58x120" so that doesn't seem too bad but it's only 58inches wide, just over 4 feet so it doesn't seem like you get get much there.

Thanks for your help and insight!


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9/25/2006 8:17:05 PM

Rebecca A. Steed
BetterPhoto Member Since: 5/6/2005
  What I have discovered works great is a black fleece blanket. It doesn't reflect much light, because it is a blanket. I used it in the picture at this link (as well as all my black backdrop photos) and I've never had a problem with it. I also use a black bed sheet sometimes, depending on how much blackness I need in the area. The only downside to the black fleece blanket is, everything sticks to it but men and money if you're not careful!

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9/26/2006 6:35:23 AM

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