The 6 things you should know about backgrounds (before your first shoot)

There are a few things I would have loved to know before my first shoot in Studio.

As you are JAGWAC (Just A Guy With A Cam), you are training on the way (that’s what I did), which is certainly a very good way to learn. But you can speed this process up, here are my tips :

1) Start with the basics : Keep it simple.

2) Black background brings a lot of drama. But you will notice that getting a real black is not as easy as you think while unboxing your strobes, because if you do not pay attention, your strobes will light the background which will look dark grey.

3) White backgrounds are easier to use. You can make it completely white by setting a strobe toward it. Or, when you put your model away (4 or 5 steps) from it it will be grey after you metered the light on your model. This is because of the infra square law. But will be more difficult to make it look black (also this is possible).

4) Grey backgrounds offer the best solution because it is easy to make them look black, dark grey, grey, almost white, totally white. It all depends on the differences of F-Stops between the subject and the background. I will explain this in details in a future post.

5) Colored background brings a lot of feel and must be chosen depending on the subject, the dresses, etc… Applying the same rules as described in point 4, you can change its brightness or its darkness.

6) You also can use your grey background and light it with a colored gel. This also works perfectly well.

My one advice : do not forget to take away your model from the background. It will makes more DOF and you will some shadows which can look very interesting too.

Tomorrow, I will be posting some studio shots I have done in the past which were not OK and will be criticizing them.

Marc Eliot

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