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FORUMS General Gear Talk Flash and Studio Lighting 
Thread started 29 Oct 2012 (Monday) 15:41
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Lighting gray backdrops for white?

 
aroundlsu
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Oct 29, 2012 15:41 |  #1

OK, sorry for the confusing post title. Couldn't think of a better way to put it..

Anyway, I have a shoot Wednesday shooting people full body on white seamless paper. Singles and groups up to four people. I have a choice of buying locally either the Savage "super white" or the Savage "studio gray". The client requests the background be 100% neutral white.

Now I have done this many times with super white paper but am generally unhappy clipping the white to try and get the skin tones to a good level. I don't like seeing the blooming around the body that happens when you overexpose the white backdrop. If I was shooting 3/4 length portraits it would be easy to control the super white on set but the full length requirement makes that much harder.

So my plan was to shoot a "studio gray" (which I am hoping is about 80% gray but I am not exactly sure since instead of giving you numerical values of their products they just give you confusing names and swatches), expose it properly, then ramp it up in post.

Thoughts? If you shoot gray for white I would love to see samples.


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dmward
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Oct 29, 2012 16:52 |  #2

That is way too much work.

And by the time you get the gray to white you will have blown everything else on the high end of the tone curve.

It does take some care getting the lighting right.
You also have to have the subject away from the background. Then get the background light to read, at the back of the subject within a 1/3 stop of the main. Maybe just a little less.

The hardest part is around the feet. Easiest with white tile board.

Check out Zack Arias (sp?) site. He has a comprehensive post and there are others.


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drvnbysound
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Oct 29, 2012 17:19 |  #3

Here is a link to the blog entries from Zack Arias:
http://www.zarias.com …torial-part-1-gear-space/ (external link)


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Oct 29, 2012 17:25 |  #4

Use the white and flag any of the background that's not in the frame. Put the flags on the background side of the subjects.


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dmward
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Oct 29, 2012 18:46 |  #5

drvnbysound wrote in post #15183795 (external link)
Here is a link to the blog entries from Zack Arias:
http://www.zarias.com …torial-part-1-gear-space/ (external link)

Thanks for finding that.


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Oct 30, 2012 07:28 |  #6

dmward wrote in post #15184065 (external link)
Thanks for finding that.

Mr. dmward and I replicated this (Zak Aria's method) concept in a studio on white background and it worked very well. The trick is just making sure you meter the backdrop at multiple spots for evenness, and ensuring it's +2/+3 stops above your subject's lighting, and that your subject is properly placed so that the back of the subject (lit from bg reflection) ends up metering to about the same amount as the front of your subject.

Seconded on the tileboard for full length, though we can both attest that it's a nightmare to move unless you have a large truck. I think it comes in 8ft x 8ft sheets. If you cut it into pieces, the lines will show up in post (even tried covering the seams with white gaff tape) and you'll need to clone them out.

A shot from that test setup, some more detail on lighting at the flickr description. Again, this is on white.. As mentioned, with grey, you're going to need more power for the bg, resulting in having to increase the distance between subject and bg by quite a bit.

IMAGE: http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7020/6698300501_eafb2b4712.jpg
IMAGE LINK: http://www.flickr.com/​photos/tycn/6698300501​/  (external link)
Why hello there.. (external link) by Βrandon (external link), on Flickr

[ www (external link)· flickr (external link)]

  
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aroundlsu
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Oct 30, 2012 09:45 |  #7

Thanks. I think I have been talked into shooting on white instead of gray.


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dmward
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Oct 30, 2012 09:53 |  #8

BrandonSi wrote in post #15185907 (external link)
Mr. dmward and I replicated this (Zak Aria's method) concept in a studio on white background and it worked very well. The trick is just making sure you meter the backdrop at multiple spots for evenness, and ensuring it's +2/+3 stops above your subject's lighting, and that your subject is properly placed so that the back of the subject (lit from bg reflection) ends up metering to about the same amount as the front of your subject.

Seconded on the tileboard for full length, though we can both attest that it's a nightmare to move unless you have a large truck. I think it comes in 8ft x 8ft sheets. If you cut it into pieces, the lines will show up in post (even tried covering the seams with white gaff tape) and you'll need to clone them out.

A shot from that test setup, some more detail on lighting at the flickr description. Again, this is on white.. As mentioned, with grey, you're going to need more power for the bg, resulting in having to increase the distance between subject and bg by quite a bit.

QUOTED IMAGE
IMAGE LINK: http://www.flickr.com/​photos/tycn/6698300501​/  (external link)
Why hello there.. (external link) by Βrandon (external link), on Flickr

Brandon, forgot we'd done that.

Yes the sheets are a paint to transport (4x8) and they chip very easily. Overlap away from camera and the seam will tend to disappear.


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Lighting gray backdrops for white?
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