Jul 14 2010

Simple Steps To Get The Hard To Shoot (And Ellusive) Clean White Photography Background!

Published by at 4:44 am under Better Photos

I am commonly asked – by frustrated shooters – what materials they ought to be using so you can get a crisp, spotless, pure white photography background.

Sorry to say, that is the wrong question to pose! It in fact, is not the background material that gives you the clean white you are seeking.

It is the amount of light!

Here is the case…you set up a fresh white bed sheet or a roll of white paper – and you put your subject in front of it.

You set up a light source or two and light your subject. All is appearing excellent. You think you will have an admirably lit subject and a nice white backdrop.

Now, you take the photo.

Nervously, you dash to the photo lab if you’re shooting film or to your computer if you’re shooting digital. You check the completed shot and ta daaa!

Your subject is perfectly lit, however the background is really a dull gray color. Not the sparkling, pure white you saw within your viewfinder!

Seem recognizable? If you have been having a tough time shooting high key images…And you have been creating that dingy gray color (no matter what materials you utilize) here is how to repair the problem!

All light has a certain fall off factor.

With that I mean the further away light is from a subject, the dimmer it appears. Thus, meaning… when you’ve got a certain quantity of light hitting your subject, and you are using that SAME light to light your backdrop, your light is further away from your backdrop than from your subject. For that reason, it is going to be a little dimmer when it gets to the background material.

Wow! That is a tongue twister. In other words…

The reason you are shooting that gray color is because there is more light hitting your subject than is hitting the photography background.

To have your backdrop be an absolute, flawless white…merely hit it with MORE light than you are using for your subject!

Appears obvious after you comprehend it, but this is a huge sticking point for many shooters.

The total amount of “over-exposure” you need for the background is dependent on the color of the backdrop material. If it is already white, you could get by with using an adequate amount of additional light to get an over-exposure around half an f-stop. Possibly even one full f-stop.

If the fabric you are beginning with is gray…that’s OK as well! Merely strike it with in the region of 2 ½ stops (give or take) more light than you might be using for the subject.

Here is one that may blow a number of minds…imagine if your photography background material is actually a pure black piece of canvas – or black roll of paper?

It doesn’t make any difference! Zap it with 5, 6 or possibly even 7 extra stops worth of illumination (in excess of what you are using for the main subject) and you will once again have a nice spotless white backdrop.

It is a LOT of illumination and I wouldn’t suggest starting out with a black backdrop. When you start nearer to white at first, it’s a lot simpler. Nevertheless, attempt it! It’s a amusing experiment and can educate you a lot on the subject of light!

The point being – by way of enough light, you can get a nice white photography background no matter what type or color material you begin with.

Need to know how to acquire a pro quality photography background for NEARLY ZILCH? This is bound to take your photography to a higher level! Check out the above link.

Or, If you are already a pretty good shooter…do you want to begin making a living using your camera? Look at: PartTimePhotography.com.

For some more photography background information, check out this video:

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