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Background Questions
« on: October 04, 2002, 11:06:42 PM »

[font color=\'#000000\']I am not a professional by any means. But I was drafted to take pictures of families, mostly couples, at church. This has lasted now for about three months and I have taken about 120 portraits. Over time I made many adjustments. So I can offer you my amateur experience - with humility.

Background was an early problem. Wrinkles and creases show up. Get the families away from the background so that the background is not in focus. Now the problem becomes that the background has considerably different light. I kept wanting to adjust the color of the background to look correct via Photoshop. That mistake kept throwing off the flesh colors. It is only the people that matter. I gave up my stubborn effort to get the stupid background color right.

I was using a Canon G2. (Remember I was drafted and never claimed to have the right equipment. I made do with what I had.) So, flash and focus were my next problems. I had to work inside. I used two Canon speedlights off the camera. Eventually I gave up on anything but the manual camera settings and made regular use of the histogram for checking exposure.

Groups always brought the background back into focus. You see, when you have more than two people and multiple rows of faces, you have to increae the depth of field to make sure everyone stays in focus. Plus I had less room to work with. So the background was back in focus.

Recommendation: Go outside for a group that large. Get a bunch of greenery in the background. [/font]
Fred Stephens
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Background Questions
« Reply #1 on: October 04, 2002, 10:29:44 PM »

[font color=\'#000000\']I know this question isn't related to landscape photography, but I am sure there are many people here who do other types of photo work and might have some suggestions or ideas to help me.

Every year the extended family likes to have group and family photos taken.  Now that I have a D60, guess who gets the job of taking the photos?  Yep, me.  This is quite different for me since I usually shoot landscape, birds, and wildlife.  I've done a little portrait work, mostly one or two people.

My question is about the background.  I have a background stand and a roll of blue background paper.  I'm not sure that this will be the best for a large group.   There are 12 adults and 7 children (3 of which are under 6 months).  I have seen Muslin background cloth advertised and thought this might be a nice alternative.  Something dark with subtle colors or designs.  What do you think or suggest?  Does the Muslin work?  Are wrinkles or folds a problem?

Thank for you help.
Rich Wisler
Wildlife and Scenic Photography
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