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Photography Question 
Rhonda Royse
BetterPhoto Member Since: 4/20/2009

Vinyl Background

I have just purchased a new vinyl background - and am so excited because I was getting tired of ironing. First - I have a free-standing stand. Second, once I put it up and tried to unroll just a bit ... well, a day later it had completley unrolled - a pile on my floor. So now re-rolling it, there are wrinkles all over and it does not look crisp anymore! How do you get the wrinkles undone? Any ideas for the future when I don't want to unroll the whole thing? Also, it is on carpet - the only place in my house. And it seems to cause some wrinkles. Ideas for that too? Thanks!

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4/29/2011 7:16:08 PM

Lynn R. Powers   Both vinyl and seamless background paper need to have a hard floor under them. In the case of seamless, a girl walking in heels with the paper over carpet will put holes in the paper and, with vinyl, you will have a lot of cute dimples that are difficult to remove.
I am guessing that when you say that you have a stand that you really mean two stands with a bar of some sort that runs between them to put the background on. With seamless, you run the bar through the core and pull out how much you need. Only a couple feet in front of where the subject will be. Or only pull it out until it reaches to the floor or less.
Using vinyl or muslin, you should drape it over the bar and clamp it or use gaffer tape and fasten the back and the front together next to the bar. I looked at your gallery and, unless you are going to start doing full-length photos, there is no reason that the background needs to go onto the floor.
For full-length photos, have the subject bring the shoes with them that they will be wearing for the shoot and insure that the soles are clean.
The reason some of your photos show the wrinkles in the background is because the subject is too close to it. The subject should be five-six feet away. Then use a larger aperture for your photos to keep the background a blur like you have done on a couple of them - most notably the one of Riley with her brother(?). Make use of your DOF button to insure that the background is a blur. The only exception to this is if you deliberately want a distinct shadow projected onto the background.
Moving the subject further away also allows the shadows to be cast far to the side and out of sight.
As far as cleaning and taking out the wrinkles in the vinyl, you will have to wait for a reply from someone else. That is why I use seamless background papers and muslin for backgrounds. The muslin stays hung and I cut off the part on the floor and roll out some more with the paper. Seamless paper comes in widths as small as 56".
Good luck!

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4/29/2011 11:47:04 PM

Gregory LaGrange
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/11/2003
  You may not be able to get the dents and wrinkles totally out of vinyl. Like an old chair that gets the indentations from people sitting on it, vinyl gets stretched and it stays that way. That is why it's not often used as a background. It can also be shiny.
Use large A-clamps to keep the roll from unrolling. You might end up going back to muslin, so in case you do, keep it stored on a roll minimizes the wrinkles. And many people get a hand-held steamer so they can steam the wrinkles out as it's set up for picture taking. As opposed to trying to lay it out, iron the wrinkles out, then hang it up for picture taking.

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4/30/2011 1:11:54 AM

Bekkie Harper   Using a hair dryer on high heat can help to soften those wrinkles after you re-hang your vinyl. It's worth a try.

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5/3/2011 10:17:40 AM

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