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Photography DiscussionHas anyone attempted a DIY painted backdrop?

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Duck
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Re: Has anyone attempted a DIY painted backdrop?

Post by Duck »

Thanks Steven. This is one image in a part of a series I'm working on that I'm uploading to Adobe Stock. Who knows if it'll sell. But it gave me an excuse to play around with my new background. :D
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Post by minniev »

Duck wrote:
Wed Apr 24, 2019 1:16 am
I don't know if I mentioned it but two weeks ago I created a small tabletop textured background. I needed something dark with texture as all my dark stuff is fairly smooth. This particular background is 2' x 4' luan with the other side stained a dark brown to keep the wood grain on the better side of the plywood. Here are images of the results from a shoot I did for stock.

DIY Textured BG.jpg

DIY Textured BG in use.jpg

Unitas_Photography-4244.jpg
Very nice look with that background. Keep it up!
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Post by Ed Shapiro »

Hey Gang! I'M A BIT LATE TO THE PARTY BUT I THOUGHT I WOULD STOP BY.

Interesting question. I was taught to paint multi colored backgrounds by Loraine Charis, a grand master of the art who, sadly, is no longer with us.

Use FLAT LATEX paint without UV brighteners. Theses brighteners add a kida iridescent look to the color and will fluoresce (glow), especially under electronic flash illumination. This is why they have to be avoided.

You can paint directly on a wall, sized canvas, or a good quality window shade for portable use.

First lay in a base coat of flat black or dark gray latex paint latex paint. This can be done with a roller. Allow it to dry overnight.

Next, select the color you are going to use, at least 4 differet ones and obtain them is smaller quantities.

You can use brushes of various sizes and friness of the bristles and wads of NATURAL SPONGE to apply the paints. Allow enough time for drying between application so the colors won't dissolve and discolor each other. Paints can be brushed or dabbed on with the brushes and sponges. You can also blend the edges of each color application.

As I am painting, I keep the camera at my average distance from the subject, focus on the subject positon, and observe the effect both with the backgroud in an out of focuse at various apertures. When I achieve the effect I want, I stop painting!

I usually try for a more contrasty effect where the backgroud appears somewhat brighter that it will appear in a low key portrait. I can use a backgroud light for a medium key effect or just use the spill form the main ligh for a low key image in whic case the background will just add a bit of color and tonal masee and not appear like a "fake oil painting". That small amount of tonal mass will give more dimension to the image than a jet black background because it provides the illusion of space and gives the viewer the illusion that they can walk aroud the subject.

COLORS- I usually stick with colder colors that accentuate the warmth of the skin tones. Warmer color provide a more monochromatic effect. Colder color recede and provide more space and depth- warmer color tend to project forward. You can decide of the effect you prefer.

You can look through a book of Gainsborough, Rembrandt, Degas, Renoir or you favorit master for ideas or just go at it and design you own.
For large groups and full length portraits you can paint the wall and the floor or use a canvas that forms a cyclorama.

Good thing is, if you mess it up, you can lay in another base coat and start all over again or just touch up the mess and fix it.

You can also do a high key version with a white base coat and subtle pastel colors.

I am working away for my studio this week, If anyone is interested, I'll post some images of a few of the backgrounds I have in my camera room as they look in person and then in the resulting images. I may have a few in my tablet here, if I can find them, I'll post them later on.

Kindest regards, Ed :lol:

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Post by minniev »

Ed Shapiro wrote:
Sun Nov 24, 2019 10:47 pm
Hey Gang! I'M A BIT LATE TO THE PARTY BUT I THOUGHT I WOULD STOP BY.

Interesting question. I was taught to paint multi colored backgrounds by Loraine Charis, a grand master of the art who, sadly, is no longer with us.

Use FLAT LATEX paint without UV brighteners. Theses brighteners add a kida iridescent look to the color and will fluoresce (glow), especially under electronic flash illumination. This is why they have to be avoided.

You can paint directly on a wall, sized canvas, or a good quality window shade for portable use.

First lay in a base coat of flat black or dark gray latex paint latex paint. This can be done with a roller. Allow it to dry overnight.

Next, select the color you are going to use, at least 4 differet ones and obtain them is smaller quantities.

You can use brushes of various sizes and friness of the bristles and wads of NATURAL SPONGE to apply the paints. Allow enough time for drying between application so the colors won't dissolve and discolor each other. Paints can be brushed or dabbed on with the brushes and sponges. You can also blend the edges of each color application.

As I am painting, I keep the camera at my average distance from the subject, focus on the subject positon, and observe the effect both with the backgroud in an out of focuse at various apertures. When I achieve the effect I want, I stop painting!

I usually try for a more contrasty effect where the backgroud appears somewhat brighter that it will appear in a low key portrait. I can use a backgroud light for a medium key effect or just use the spill form the main ligh for a low key image in whic case the background will just add a bit of color and tonal masee and not appear like a "fake oil painting". That small amount of tonal mass will give more dimension to the image than a jet black background because it provides the illusion of space and gives the viewer the illusion that they can walk aroud the subject.

COLORS- I usually stick with colder colors that accentuate the warmth of the skin tones. Warmer color provide a more monochromatic effect. Colder color recede and provide more space and depth- warmer color tend to project forward. You can decide of the effect you prefer.

You can look through a book of Gainsborough, Rembrandt, Degas, Renoir or you favorit master for ideas or just go at it and design you own.
For large groups and full length portraits you can paint the wall and the floor or use a canvas that forms a cyclorama.

Good thing is, if you mess it up, you can lay in another base coat and start all over again or just touch up the mess and fix it.

You can also do a high key version with a white base coat and subtle pastel colors.

I am working away for my studio this week, If anyone is interested, I'll post some images of a few of the backgrounds I have in my camera room as they look in person and then in the resulting images. I may have a few in my tablet here, if I can find them, I'll post them later on.

Kindest regards, Ed :lol:
Welcome home, Ed! We are always happy to have you drop in, and hope you'll visit often. Though I have nothing that resembles a studio, I found your post informative because some of the principles can be applied to choosing backgrounds for composites, something I do for fun on a regular basis. Thanks for sharing, and I'm sure Duck'll be glad to see you too!
"God gave me photography so that I could pray with my eyes" - Dewitt Jones

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Post by Duck »

Ed Shapiro wrote:
Sun Nov 24, 2019 10:47 pm
Hey Gang! I'M A BIT LATE TO THE PARTY BUT I THOUGHT I WOULD STOP BY. [...]

ED! BUDDY! WE'VE MISSED YOU AROUND HERE! :yay:

Welcome back. It's always a real pleasure hearing from you.
I hope all is well and that you've been busy. We'd love to hear what you've been up to.
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Post by Ed Shapiro »

I do it all the time! It's fun! Thing is, I can buy smaller portable ones that suit my purposes bit when I do my own, I can create a background on an entire wall- large enough for a group, full-length portraits, and certain commercial shots. I can even paint the floor if required.

Heres the method:

Supplies: Latex Acrylic Flat Paint: Black or dark grey for a low-key or medium key base coat or white fir a high key base coat. Smaller quantities of multicolored paints of the same type for creating your design. 1 paint roller, 3 assorted brushes with stiff and softer bristles, a few NATURAl sponges, and some drop cloths to protect the floor.

Method: Lay in the base coat and allow it to dry for about 12 hours. The apple the colors with the brushes and blend with the sponges. Set the came and lig up in typical working configuration and observe the progress of your design as you apply the paints. Check it out both in and out of focus. When you see the effect ou like- stop painting. If you don't like the results you can start the process over again. For classical low key classical portraiture, I prefer cooler colors- they bring out the warmth in the skin tones. I find warm tones in the background make for a more monochromatic effect. For high key portraiture, I use light pastel colors.

The look: My particular method is to make the background slightly lighter and more contrasty than I want it to appear in the finished portraits. By under- illuminating it and reducing the depth of field, I get the effect I prefer.

Concept: I am not attempting to create an imitation oil painting. I just want the background to provide tonal and/or color mass to add to the dimensionality of the image. I don't usually go for a jet black background in a low-key image, but very dark and just enough of that mass that allows the viewer to imagine entering the image and walking around the subject.

It is a somewhat messy process but I clean up as I go. Water takes off any paint that gets past the drop cloth[*] while the paint is still wet.

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Post by Duck »

Ed Shapiro wrote:
Thu Mar 19, 2020 12:17 am
I do it all the time! It's fun! [...]
So nice to have you back with us. We've missed you considerably.

I think once the warm weather is finally here and rain holds off I'll drag out a piece of fabric onto the driveway and make an attempt. I'm thinking small for now, 6x9 range. I love low key portraits and have always wanted a backdrop that emulates the Rembrandt look (built in light spot in the center) done in dark browns and golds.But now that you mention color tones maybe I'll keep it more neutral. I can always warm it with gels. :)
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Post by Ed Shapiro »

Just to follow up on my last post- Here's a shot of one of the wall-size backgrounds I use frequently. As you can see it is very sharp and contrasty and consists of mostly blue and green colors, however, when out of focus and subtlety lighted it is much softer and indistinct- just enough to add the right amount of color mass. I can vary the effect by incorporating more depth of field and rendering it sharper or by adding filters. I used a warming filter for the cat image, the young lady's portrait is with the background as is, and there is a blue filter on the jewelry shot.

Using a very large/wide background also allows for a greater distance between the subject and the background without running off the edge. This makes of r more control over depth of field.
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Duck
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Post by Duck »

Thanks for sharing those images. The one behind the cat is along the lines of what I'm looking for; a painterly look with a natural vignette. It definitely gives the image a very rich look. I'll definitely be trying my hand at painting my own background.
"If you didn't learn something new today, you wasted a day."
Website : Unitas Photography
Facebook : Unitas Photography
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Tutorials ⇒ How to critique photos
NOTE: If you would like me specifically to critique your image, please let me know through a private message with a link to your post.

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