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iowa_jim Mar 26, 2010 7:49 AM

Portrait Photography Backgrounds
As I've mentioned in my numerous other pleas for help, I'm going to use my T2i to take portrait photos at an upcoming school fundraiser. I've been experimenting with a white background, but the only way I've found so far to get the brilliant white like in the magazines is to photoshop out the background. As such it looks perhaps a little too informal for this suit-and-tie event (few people will wear tuxedos to the event).

What's another choice for background colors given the somewhat formal nature of the event? It's an elementary school so we don't have designated school colors per se, though all the town's schools seem to default to the high school colors of purple and yellow (sigh).

Thanks for the help!


Mark1616 Mar 26, 2010 8:35 AM

I personally like the white background but to get it you will need to blow out the whites using extra lighting. I use 2 lights with soft boxes for the main and then another 2 for the background to blow them out. You can go for anything else that you like, I also enjoy using dark backgrounds but you need to ensure that you have the lighting correct on the subjects to get good separation. This is even harder when people are wearing dark suits. Both of these are using the same background as it is the same family, just different lighting.

For me the easiest is the white and I use it more than anything as I have to worry far less about what is going on, just set the background slightly over the top so it is pure white (not too much as you can start to have other problems, similar to shooting with the sun right behind the subject) and then the lighting for the subjects. Just do a very simple 2 light setup for the front and then you don't need to worry, get them to stand in the same place each time and you are sorted.

If you don't have the extra lights, then a nice simple background will do the trick as you don't need to light it like you would with the white.

Mark1616 Mar 26, 2010 8:47 AM

1 Attachment(s)
I would add that sometimes I like just using the white/cream background with no lights apart from the main 2 to get some shadows. This isn't the best example but I have nothing else of mine to hand or online anywhere.

This isn't a final edit but gives the idea.

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