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Photography Question 
Sandra Wortmann
 

Black background could be a darker black


I am useing a black canvas background and the background is not a dark black on the photos. Whe I look close a the background I can see white specs on it- maybe not painted very well? What is a good thing to do about this. What would be the best way to make the background darker on these photos.
Sandy


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1/11/2007 10:02:40 AM

 
Mark Feldstein
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/17/2005
  Okie dokie Sandra, think about this for a second: If you look at your background and DON'T actually see (as with your own eyes) the white specs you mentioned they're in the process somewhere rather than on the background. Dust, dirt somewhere, dunno cause I don't know the process you use.

As for lightening up a black or any dark background, just use less light on it, get your lights back further, turn them down, put something between the light and bg to knock it down like a scrim, a gobo, flag, cutter, light panel, anything to diffuse the light and make less spill on the background. OK? Now, that's a fix on your shooting technique. Just control the lighting to avoid spill and lightening the background. Also, moving the subject away from the background will help too.

As far as P.S. goes, sorry, can't help ya. I tend to fix in the camera (on film) rather than on the computer.

Take it light.
Mark


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1/11/2007 10:46:41 AM

 
Christopher A. Walrath
BetterPhoto Member Since: 4/25/2006
  I tend to agree with Mark on this one. Definitely fix it on camera. Get your subject light enough without whiting out that you can decrease exposure by about two stops and bring that background right down.


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1/16/2007 4:21:42 PM

 
Ariel Lepor
BetterPhoto Member Since: 9/8/2005
  You always want to fix it in-camera because you could loose a bit of detail photoshopping. Perhaps your ISO is too high? Also, are you using a long shutter speed? Put the lens hood on, shoot the same way, and see if you see the same specks. I used to see specks on long time exposures with my Fujifilm because the sensor was a little dusty.

But, once you already have the picture, you can darken the shadows (darkest ares of the picture) to fix the black (unless there is a very dark part of you subject you want to keep). I use Helicon Filter, and I could help you with the specifics in regards to this program, but I don't know what program you use and am sure other programs can fix it.


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1/16/2007 5:56:57 PM

 
Gregory LaGrange
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/11/2003
gregorylagrange.org
  White spots on the print? Dust on the negative. Can be frustrating when you're doing your own prints.


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1/17/2007 12:24:11 AM

 
Denyse Clark
BetterPhoto Member Since: 10/2/2002
  Guys- does black canvas photograph black?? (or is it more gray??) I've only used black velvet (a vellux blanket actually) and it is nice & black. Maybe the problem is just the canvas?? I think she is saying when she physically looks at the canvas she sees white spots, as if the paint coverage is not complete. Sandra, is that right?


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1/17/2007 9:24:02 AM

 
Sandra Wortmann   Yes, that is right. When I get close to the background I see little white spots on the black canvas.


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1/17/2007 9:39:46 AM

 
Denyse Clark
BetterPhoto Member Since: 10/2/2002
  What is the size of the backdrop? I'm thinking you might want to move to a different material for your black backdrop, unless you can re-paint it MORE black.

I got a King size black vellux blanket from www.jcpenny.com on sale for like $40 and it's about 6' x 7' I think. Not huge but workable, and it photographs very black (in my gallery you'll see a few where I used it)


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1/17/2007 9:55:38 AM

 
John H. Siskin
BetterPhoto Member
John-Siskin.com
John's Photo Courses:
4-Week Short Course: An Introduction to Photographic Lighting
  Hi Sandra,
How about using black Duvateen thatís what movies use when they want black. It is a fabric product It works great. Movie crews throw out large pieces of it in the Los Angeles area. I know this is a retro idea but it is also good for a darkroom. Thanks, John


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1/17/2007 3:51:58 PM

 
Christopher A. Walrath
BetterPhoto Member Since: 4/25/2006
  Good call, Denyse. K. I. S. S., right?


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1/17/2007 5:20:32 PM

 
Denyse Clark
BetterPhoto Member Since: 10/2/2002
  Yeah simple, like when your computer doesn't work, you always check to see if it's plugged in and turned on first :)


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1/17/2007 6:23:50 PM

 
Christopher A. Walrath
BetterPhoto Member Since: 4/25/2006
  Ouch. :)


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1/18/2007 6:47:47 PM

 
Denyse Clark
BetterPhoto Member Since: 10/2/2002
  Oh Christopher, I dont mean that rudely, I think sometimes we just overthink our problems. I do it all the time. Sometimes the simplest solution is the right one, that's all I mean.


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1/19/2007 4:49:48 AM

 

BetterPhoto Member
  I'll add my 2 cents-

From years of studio experience, the only true way to get a black background is to:
- use black velvet or something equivalent (yes pricey, but the velvet absorbs light getting you that true black (duvateen is similar)
- move your subject farther away from your background. you will then light your subject and the fall off (of light) will be considerably less causing your background to go darker via your exposure.
- block your lights from casting onto the background (easily done with a few c-stands and a black card). that way the light falls only onto the subject.


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1/30/2007 10:44:39 AM

 
W.    You can make ANY color background - even white - appear black in a photo. As long as the difference in light levels with the (correctly lit) subject is 3/4 stops, or more. So increase the distance between subject and background - and don't light it! You'll have to move your camera standpoint back too, of course.


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2/1/2007 6:46:48 AM

 
Gregory LaGrange
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/11/2003
gregorylagrange.org
  Any jet plane is quiet. As long as you're a few feet a way...






or more


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2/1/2007 9:48:17 AM

 
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