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FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre General Photography Talk 
Thread started 04 Jan 2012 (Wednesday) 22:38
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Using a bed sheet as a backdrop?

 
toastyphoto
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Jan 04, 2012 22:38 |  #1

I've been doing off-camera lighting outdoors for quite awhile now, but now I'm starting to explore indoor setups. Right now I'm expanding my lighting gear so I don't really have money or room for seamless paper, etc.

What are your thoughts on using a bed sheet for a backdrop? Can this look good?


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Jan 04, 2012 22:48 |  #2

Bed sheets work perfectly fine for backdrops. Just be smart about placement, since they're thin and can allow backlighting (such as a window) to pass through. Otherwise, they're pretty much the same as using a muslin. A bed sheet and some cheap clamps from home depot are the ideal cheap setup.


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Jan 04, 2012 23:04 |  #3

If you had a white wall, I'd use that & attach the sheet at the bottom with white tape.


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Jan 05, 2012 01:57 |  #4

Just make sure there is not a big ugly stain on it!  :p


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JAE ­ Photography
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Jan 05, 2012 06:44 |  #5

If you use a sheet make sure it's not wrinkled to the point where it looks like a guy hung a bedroom sheet up in his living room. A lot of set ups like this look cheap and tacky because the photographer doesn't put much effort into it. If all you have is a sheet that's all you have. Make the best of it :)

If you have a white wall you can do a lot of cool stuff using only the wall also.


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Jan 05, 2012 07:42 |  #6

BushWacker wrote in post #13649526 (external link)
Just make sure there is not a big ugly stain on it!  :p

HA!


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Jan 05, 2012 13:28 |  #7

You can use a bed sheet, and there are a few ways to go about it. In almost all the cases, one of the key things to keep in mind is subject separation from the background. You're almost always going to need several feet between the subject and the backdrop/sheet - otherwise it's quite obvious that the subject is just standing in front of a bedsheet.

Option 1) Use a white bed sheet, and light it brightly enough that all the white is blown out. This is good for a "high-key" style which is common in many glam-style portraits. It's very difficult to do without at least two flashes - one for the backdrop and one for the subject - but I guess it's possible if you're creative with your lighting gear. If you have two flashes, use one flash on partial power to light the subject (and a reflector* for fill), and a second flash on high power to light the background, either from the front or the back. With a bed sheet it would probably be pretty easy to light it from the back and blow it all out to white. Check this out for some great theory that you can adapt to your needs, even if you're not using paper you can blow out a white wall or bedsheet just the same way: http://www.zarias.com …torial-part-1-gear-space/ (external link)

Option 2) Use a white bed sheet, don't light it, and let it fall to gray. in this scenario, you'll light your subject in such a way that virtually no light falls on the backdrop, and use a wide aperture for a shallow depth-of-field so that the wrinkles (etc) in the sheet are out of focus and therefore not objectionable. To accomplish this relatively easily with one light, you'll put your main light to one side of the subject and a reflector* on the other side of the subject. Put the light/reflector as close to the subject as possible without getting them in the frame, both to increase the relative size of the light, and to decrease the necessary intensity of the flash. The backdrop will be very slightly lit from any light that bounces off the walls, ceiling, subject, and reflector, and back onto the backdrop.

Option 3) Black background. This is similar to #2, but use a black bedsheet instead of white. It's tough to accomplish this if you're indoors, as "splashing" and bouncing light will still light the backdrop. If you have a huge room with high ceilings, or if you can set up outdoors at night, it's easier to pull off. A second light source to use as a hair or rim light will really help your subject pop out of the black background, especially if they have dark hair.

* a $2 piece of white foam-core board from the craft store makes a great reflector for things like this


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Jan 05, 2012 13:33 |  #8

http://www.diyphotogra​phy.net …in-photography-background (external link)

Look through that thread. There are DIY options for you better than a bedsheet.




  
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Jan 05, 2012 13:51 |  #9

gonzogolf wrote in post #13652090 (external link)
http://www.diyphotogra​phy.net …in-photography-background (external link)

Look through that thread. There are DIY options for you better than a bedsheet.

Yeah, I agree. I bought several yards of black fabric from IKEA that I use for a black backdrop, and a roll of white seamless isn't prohibitively expensive.

... and if I'm feeling lazy and I still want a black backdrop, I'll just shoot outside at night and not bother putting up any backdrop at all.


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benfringuello
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Dec 28, 2014 13:31 |  #10

I always light the white sheet to make sure nothing shows through that may be behind it. Also, I try to iron them as well as I can but I always end up using the photoshop blur tool to fix some wrinkles.




  
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Dec 28, 2014 13:36 |  #11

benfringuello wrote in post #17354365 (external link)
I always light the white sheet to make sure nothing shows through that may be behind it. Also, I try to iron them as well as I can but I always end up using the photoshop blur tool to fix some wrinkles.


How does one 'try' to iron a sheet?



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Dec 28, 2014 14:41 |  #12

Strontium wrote in post #17354371 (external link)
How does one 'try' to iron a sheet?

I imagine it's along the same lines of 'trying' to make a useful comment.


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Dec 28, 2014 14:45 |  #13

BrandonSi wrote in post #17354461 (external link)
I imagine it's along the same lines of 'trying' to make a useful comment.

Touche. Sarcasm begets sarcasm. Necro thread begets sarcastic replies.



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Dec 17, 2018 02:32 |  #14

Strontium wrote in post #17354469 (external link)
Touche. Sarcasm begets sarcasm. Necro thread begets sarcastic replies.

What does necro of sarcastic replies beget, Fallout boy?


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Dec 17, 2018 05:33 |  #15

icor1031 wrote in post #18772377 (external link)
What does necro of sarcastic replies beget, Fallout boy?

I'll tell you in 4 years.



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Using a bed sheet as a backdrop?
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