Making a white background white....

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how can I do it? I am trying to use a white BG and make it white in the picture. Trying cool flourescents (5100k) and it looks dingy.

Tried auto, 5300k, 5100k and preset Wb in camera.

All NOGOs.

Any suggestions?
 
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Hey Roy,

Are you lighting the background? Tom Johnson (tomj here) recommended to me a while ago to light the white backgrounds with 2 strobes, set low to the ground and pointed somewhat up towards the background...that way you avoid spill from the background back to the subject. I've not tried it (plan to in the next couple of weeks), but you might PM Tom to see if he might help.

Do you have an example?

how can I do it? I am trying to use a white BG and make it white in the picture. Trying cool flourescents (5100k) and it looks dingy.

Tried auto, 5300k, 5100k and preset Wb in camera.

All NOGOs.

Any suggestions?
 
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You are just not getting enough light on it. I prefer to use either two strobes, or for just head and shoulder stuff I will use an AB400/800 on a short BG stand with a shovel reflector right behind the model. One trick I have found useful is to turn on the blinking highlights display in the camera - tells you instantly that you have pure white.
 
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Hey Roy,

Are you lighting the background? Tom Johnson (tomj here) recommended to me a while ago to light the white backgrounds with 2 strobes, set low to the ground and pointed somewhat up towards the background...that way you avoid spill from the background back to the subject. I've not tried it (plan to in the next couple of weeks), but you might PM Tom to see if he might help.

Do you have an example?
Here is an example John.

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I was lighting the BG with 2 5100k lights w/10" reflectors on them.

1/250, 5.6 WB 5300k, umbrella left, reflector right of subject


Should I just dye the bg a khaki color for use as a lighter (than medium grey) bg
 
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Roy, yeah, I think you need more light on your background...and move your beautiful daughter farther away from the background. I think 5-7' is probably about right to keep the white spill light from the background from affecting your model. I'm getting my high-key rig setup right now...just purchased a roll of white seamless paper, and I'll light it with 2 AB400s.

Regarding Khaki, I have this background as well, and it's my favorite...

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I like it much more than the muslins...but that's just my taste...
 
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Thanks John. She was about 4' away. The hotspot on her is from the main. I didn't try to dial it in as I was only using her for tests on the BG. The shoot is today with someone else (guess I'll have to ditch the white for now).

What type of modifiers do you use on your ABs for BG lighting to spread the light evenly? Do you think (possibly) that I could get stronger bulbs for what I have and/or smaller reflector to concentrate the light more.

This is what I was trying to use. I'm not opposed to spending more money, I just wanted to get by until I am able to get some type of semi-permanent space in my garage set up.

I also thought maybe I could play with my settings a little, like slower shutter w/less power on the main but my little helper found herself bound to the confines of her room before I got done.
 
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Well, I don't have the AB400s yet...going to purchase them later today or tomorrow. But I think I'll just use the silver reflectors to start.

Have you thought of lighting the background with your SB800s? I think both of them on the floor at 24mm pointed up at the background should be a good start...might even throw the SB600 on there as well...start at full power on all 3 ...that should blow your background...give it a try...

What's your main light again? Not sure about the color temperature between the flashes (5600K) and your main light...might give some funky colors...
 
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Hi Roy,

I agree that you need a little more light on the background, but if you are short on strobes, you can always lighten up the background a little in photoshop by using a layer mask. If it's OK, I'll have a go at it using the picture you posted.
 
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Hi Roy,

I agree that you need a little more light on the background, but if you are short on strobes, you can always lighten up the background a little in photoshop by using a layer mask. If it's OK, I'll have a go at it using the picture you posted.
Please do Muonic. Thanks...
 
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I'm a long way from being a Photoshop guru, but I'll try to explain the process. It only takes two or three minutes, once you get the workflow down.

1. Open the picture in Photoshop (duh)
2. Create a levels layer: Layer, New adjustment layer, Levels
3. Select the "set white point" eyedropper
4. Click the eyedropper on the background. This will cause the background to turn white. Try clicking on different areas of the background to vary the amount of "whiteness". Now, this will also screw up the levels of your subject, which is why you need to create the mask.
6. Create a mask by using "alt + delete". This will turn the mask black and hide the new layers level.
7. Select the eraser tool, and simply erase the black mask off of the background to expose the white background.

I'm not sure if I really explaned that very well, so if you have questions, I'll try to clarify.

Here is the result.

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EDIT: Just wanted to add that I'm using Photoshop Elements 4.
 

Jez

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Capture NX's colour control points are also very handy for this kind of thing.....
 
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Capture NX's colour control points are also very handy for this kind of thing.....

I agree with Jez..Capture NX's CCP helps alot in getting the backgrounds to the color you want, even an all white background. I've done it with my headshot photos I have worked on. Very handy to have NX!

Laura
 
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Roy,
I'm with JBl, that the white roll paper backgrounds work better than muslin as there are no wrinkles to make shadows. Also the paper is very flat to avoid reflection. I've always had good success metering the back lights one stop below the main light. The goal is to find a happy medium for an almost perfect white without blowing it. White backgrounds are tricky and take some work to really get it right. Watch out for reflections wraping around the subjects.
 
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