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Photography Question 
Beth Huling
BetterPhoto Member Since: 12/29/2007
 

Studio Backgrounds


I am considering opening a storefront portrait studio. Any advice on a digital studio (greenscreen) vs. a studio with all the props and backgrounds?


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12/29/2007 1:46:27 PM

 
A C
BetterPhoto Member Since: 12/6/2004
  Have you shot with a greenscreen or backgrounds? I purchased a greenscreen, backgrounds, and lights a while back to experiment at home. But after developing my own style more, I decided that's not the direction I want to take my photography, so I sold it all.
I recommend getting a greenscreen and a few different backgrounds to experiment with ... or better yet, there are some studios that rent to local photographers by the hour or day. Use their backgrounds and lights, and see if this works for you.
But back to your specific question - I would go with the backgrounds and props. You'll save yourself a ton of time editing photos, and you can put more of that money back into purchasing backgrounds.


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12/29/2007 2:27:26 PM

 
John H. Siskin
BetterPhoto Member
John-Siskin.com
John's Photo Courses:
4-Week Short Course: An Introduction to Photographic Lighting
4-Week Short Course: Getting Started in Commercial Photography
4-Week Short Course: Portrait Photography Lighting on Location and in the Studio
  Hi Beth,
I often use a medium grey fabric background. I change the way it photographs, by moving my subject in relation to the background (and the subject lights). Then I can change the color of the background with a gel over the light for the background. You can make your own backgrounds also! I have an article here at BetterPhoto about that: www.betterphoto.com/article.asp?id=176
Thanks,
John
P.S.: Donít forget insurance and a business license!


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12/29/2007 4:03:39 PM

 
Bob Chance
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/19/2006
  Beth:

I've had reasonable amount of succes with chromakeying. Should you choose that option let me make a few suggestions.
There are several 'greenscreen' programs on the market, but no matter how simple or complicated the program you choose to use, there are some things you could do at the time of the shoot to ease the burden on the program.
Make sure you have plenty of distance between your background and your subject. Light reflecting off the background tends to leave a greenish aura around your subjects if they are too close. I recommend at least eight feet.
If that is not possible you may need to backlight your subject.
Also, make sure your background is evenly illuminated and recieves the same amount of light as your subject. If the background is too dark or too light, your program might have trouble. Also try to get out any wrinkles if using a fabric backgoung. The shadows caused by wrinkles could cause proglems.
I choose chromakey for space and money considerations. I don't have money for a variety of different conventional backgrounds, nor do I have the space to store them.
Greenscreening means I only need one background and there are tons of digital backgrounds to be purchased or you can make your own.
The trick to making it believable is to have the same type and quality lighting between your subject and the chosen background. For instance, you wouldn't light your subject from the left if the background youv'e chosen is an outdoor scene with the sun coming from the right. Again if using an outdoor scene in bright sunlight, don't make your portrait lighting too soft or you subject will look flat in the final pic. Also watch for exposure and especially color tone. Best of luck.


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1/2/2008 4:08:28 AM

 
Beth Huling
BetterPhoto Member Since: 12/29/2007
  I wanted to respond back to all the suggestions. I do not know if I should respond as a comment, or just add another answer... so hopefully you will each see this. Thank-you for taking the time to respond!
To Cherylann C:

I have a greenscreen, but no I have not used it often. I typically shoot location portraits. My goal is to improve in the studio and learn more about lighting etc... I am concerned about the computer work. In the past my subject had a green halo and just looked fake.

John S.:

I am thinking about taking your course in studio lighting starting Jan. 9

Bob C.:

Thanks for this information I had no idea the space between subject and background made such a difference. All of my images have resulted in a green halo, and I do have a fabric bkg so knowing that wrinkles will in fact add to my time behind the computer, I will iron them out. I use photoshop, the magic wand never works for me.


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1/2/2008 8:38:29 AM

 
John H. Siskin
BetterPhoto Member
John-Siskin.com
John's Photo Courses:
4-Week Short Course: An Introduction to Photographic Lighting
4-Week Short Course: Getting Started in Commercial Photography
4-Week Short Course: Portrait Photography Lighting on Location and in the Studio
  Hi Beth,
I hope to see you in my class! Thanks so much for thinking of taking it.
Happy New Year!
John Siskin


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1/2/2008 10:27:04 AM

 
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