Compositing- Which studio Background??

May 23, 2016  •  Leave a Comment

Some photographers strive to blend their artistic talents in post production through composite photography. Simply put, placing one image into a second image in the most natural manner possible. This often requires even more planning that a traditional photo shoot. Things to be considered include:

  • ​Point of view
  • Scale
  • Shadows
  • Lighting
  • Models (if used) position and pose
  • Wardrobe

Not forgetting by any means very careful use of the selection or blending tools in the photo editing program.  During a planned composite shoot, the photographer often has the base image readily available when shooting any subjects that he/she wants to place in the image.

In the image above, the photographer wanted a mystical fairy like being floating above a forest. Since real fairies can be a little hard to find, a human model was served as a fairy.

Most of the questions above were considered during the shoot, but what kind of studio background? 

  1. A 'WHITE' background: This can be ideal in some cases since it will often give a very clean selection, unless of course your model happens to be white. Subjects standing too close (1 foot or less) may have white spill around them especially their hair. This can be problematic especially with dark haired subjects. The background should be lit evenly, but certainly not a stop brighter than than your mainlight. 
  2. A "BLACK" background: can be very useful if you are shooting things that may include fire, LEDS, or anything that produces a light itself. However, dark clothing and hair can be very difficult to select out when performing composites.
  3. A "GREY" background: This can be very useful since it is unlikely that you will obtain any color spill from the background no matter how close your subject may stand to it. Also, if you think that your final image may change, grey can be a very forgiving background to blend with other images
  4. "Greenscreen": This background can give you one of the most accurate selections when masking, however it too has limitations. If the talent stands too close to the background, the green may spill onto your subject. Of course in an image such as shown above with abundant forest, a green screen would not have worked well.

There are certainly advantages and disadvantages with any studio background, and in the end it will determine what your final concept image may be for both your and production members. 


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