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dimento
1-May-2014, 03:22
So, I've got some pop-up studios coming up, some using an 8x10 camera, some a 5x7

my question is about getting a smooth (in tone and in wrinkle free terms) grey background.

I know I can do it by moving the subject away from a white paper background, I've done that, ditto with a grey paper background.

For reasons of practicality ( I have a small car and need a wide background) and cost, cloth seems more sensible. I am receiving the barest funding for this and the other projects, and would like to re-use the background and free up some funding for printing.
Was originally going to use a high key white background but I'd like to minimise the lighting and fuss and concentrate on the portraits

Has anyone done this with a cloth background? I'm thinking of branded, not a cheap ebay one. I like what both of these photographers (Zed Nelson and Mary Ellen Mark) have achieved with the linked projects below. I can't quite figure out whether Zed Nelson is lighting the background or lightening in post production:

Zed Nelson, disappearing Britain: http://www.zednelson.com/?DisappearingBritain
Mary Ellen Mark 20x24 Gallery: http://www.maryellenmark.com/gallery/portfolios/20x24_featured/index001_20x24_featured.html

FWIW Zed Nelson seems to be using a paper backdrop and MEM seems to be using cloth.


I'm assuming that if the background isn't directly lit, any wrinkles won't show up as much and with the d.o.f of the 8x10 and 5x7 cameras (with standard lens) that it would be minimized anyway?

thanks, D

cowanw
1-May-2014, 04:30
Karsh used a grey wool blanket

dimento
1-May-2014, 04:48
Karsh used a grey wool blanket
interesting, wrinkle free prob, due to the weight. Thanks

mdarnton
2-May-2014, 04:42
I've tried various fabrics. Most of them visibly wrinkle, and don't flatten on their own but I've had good results by stretching them into place between supporting stands, using lots of small clamps. Sometimes spraying it with water lightly once it's up seems to help, also. The flattest fabric I've used was polyester, or some similar total synthetic. The grey wool blanket I found had too much texture, in both surface and color, to work as well as I wanted. Ultimately, I gave up and bought a roll of thunder grey background paper. :-)

dimento
2-May-2014, 04:53
I've tried various fabrics. Most of them visibly wrinkle, and don't flatten on their own but I've had good results by stretching them into place between supporting stands, using lots of small clamps. Sometimes spraying it with water lightly once it's up seems to help, also. The flattest fabric I've used was polyester, or some similar total synthetic. The grey wool blanket I found had too much texture, in both surface and color, to work as well as I wanted. Ultimately, I gave up and bought a roll of thunder grey background paper. :-)

thanks, it's looking that way for me, had hoped to get away with re-using fabric but I guess it's gotta be paper.

Jason Greenberg Motamedi
2-May-2014, 06:10
Lastolite makes a nice collapsible background. It isn't cheap, but works well and doesn't show wrinkles.
http://www.lastolite.com/5x6-collapsible-black-mid-grey-lllb56gb

Jmarmck
2-May-2014, 06:27
Attach a rod the length of the material to the bottom and let it hang. Should take all the wrinkles out leaving only texture of the material. You can roll the material back on the rod when finished.

Drew Bedo
2-May-2014, 06:42
I have seen the bridal party use a portable clothing steamer on dresses just prior to the big show—could be the amswer.

At home, I have used the clothes dryer on a perminant-oress table cloth with good results (my wife doesn't read this forum). I throw the table cloth in the dryer with a damp wash cloth and a dryer sheet. Take it out while warm and hang it immediately.. It gets hung from a line using a set of alagator clips on shower curtain hooks bought at a camera shop.

Bob Mann
2-May-2014, 08:01
I have seen the bridal party use a portable clothing steamer on dresses just prior to the big show—could be the amswer.

I have one, they are fairly cheap and work well when there is some tension on the fabric, but I have found it will not remove all signs wrinkles. You could use an iron and ironing board, but that could be a lot of work.