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FAQ -White Backgrounds

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  • FAQ -White Backgrounds

    FAQ – White backgrounds how do I achieve this?

    Well, to be honest you can’t unless you use photoshop or some similar photo manipulation software. You can get close to a plain white background using photographic techniques but mostly it would require you to invest in some equipment to enable you to do this effectively.

    It is possible to achieve a good standard of white background using simple aids, white card to act as a reflector ect, but and this is the caveat for using your camera in it’s manual mode. If the camera has a spot metering mode then you stand a chance of having a good exposure for the image but this would depend on your competence with the camera.

    The safest way is to use the manual settings on the camera, with these you have total control of the image you want to create. NO camera will give you a correct exposure if you are shooting against a white (or black) background. The white background will confuse the auto exposure system and under expose the image, with a black background it will tend to over expose the image.

    If you feel that you want a white background then you have a few options you can go for. If you base your exposure for the image in the incidental light (light that is falling onto the object) then you won’t have an incorrect exposure and the background will be whiter. Alternatively you can take the exposure off the object you want to photograph, this will ignore the white background but you will really have to understand how to get an average exposure over the objects surface.

    If you want to go ‘pro’ then you would be looking at using flash heads, possibly a light tent or a light table as well. With this sort of set up you would expect to have the perfect white background but light being what it is you would still have to use photoshop to set up the image correctly.

    One of the big advantages of using a light table is that it makes photographing white or transparent objects possible. I noticed the other day that Chris W must have been using a light table for at least one of her images. I think it was a Necklace made from clear quartz, the image is full of detail (http://www.waterstonejewellery.co.uk/Jewellery/Necklaces/Quartz-Dragon-Necklace/p-91-101-700/) and would be virtually impossible to photograph any other way!

    I..
    www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/?saved=1

  • #2
    White Backgrounds

    Hi Ian
    I was very interested in reading your advice about using white backgrounds and would be extremely grateful for more in regard to using a light box to achieve a white background.

    Although still learning (in the deep end) I have invested in a box that uses 4 white tubes on two sides and over the top with a light tent inside the box. I use a Nikon D80 SLR camera.

    The problem I am having is the backgorund is still turning out with a blue tint. I use white paper as a backdrop and I am currently shooting shots for hand made jewellery. I have not experimented using the manual setting that you suggest in the thread, but I will go and try out this whilst I wait for your response. I have a reasonable knowledge of using photoshop, but would like the camera to achieve the best possible results so less time is spent on manipulating the image in photoshop. I am a new member to this forum and have found your threads interesting and encouraging in my pursuit of mastering my SLR.

    Many thanks
    Phil

    Comment


    • #3
      Blue Tint!

      Hi Phil,

      I like your approach to this as the best possible photographic image will always be the easiest to work on and will always give you the best results for the final image.

      If you have a blue tint to the white this suggests that the lamps that you are using have quite a high colour temperature. You should be able to compensate for this using the white balance control on the camera. The D80 has this set into the left hand dial (on the top panel) under WB. Set this dial to WB and adjust the white balance by using the rear thumb wheel. Try it in auto first (it just gives you less hassle) and if this is nearly correct then use the front thumb wheel to adjust the range up or down. If you look at all the compensations available (It might be useful to read the hand book for this) you will see that there are Automatic, Incandescent, florescent, daylight, flash and a couple of other modes including a preset mode.

      If you are still getting blue whites then try the daylight mode as the compensation will be somewhere in that region of colour temperature and adjust with the front thumb wheel.

      If you are still experiencing problems get back to me and I will look into it in greater detail.

      You can actually correct for this in Photoshop if you are really stuck but its best done on the camera if you can.

      Kindest Regards,

      I..
      www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/?saved=1

      Comment


      • #4
        Hi Ian

        Many thanks for your reply. I have been trying to tackle the blue tinted background all day, but unfortunately failed. I understood your advice and have gone through each light setting trying different variations in each. I find that the florescent setting better than most.

        You mentioned I may be using to high a colour temperature in the tubes. I have white F788 tubes in the light box because the warm white tubes give a yellow tint as I am sure you are aware.

        My better efforts but by no means successful have been using setting as follows
        Florescent +3 / ISO 100 / Shutter 1/60 / F6.3 / Exp +1.3

        This still shows a blue tint but not as intense.

        I have had to call it a day as I was beginning to feel like I could not see the wood for the trees. Maybe a good nights rest and tomorrow I’ll be back to fight another day.

        I do have a web site that my wife and I run, but we work long hours and I am trying my best to improve my photography so to cut down on the time we spend on Photoshop.

        Nearly all the images we have on our web site have been taken using a light tent with tungsten lighting, but we do have to use Photoshop a lot.
        Having now invested in a light box I really need to master my D80.

        Thanks again for your advice and I’ll keep plugging away.

        Many thanks

        Phil

        PS sorry did not give you our web site magicmakeup.co.uk

        Comment


        • #5
          Now I hate to be a real girl about this but I am a bit blinded by science here you guys.
          www.littlebead.blogspot.com
          www.twitter.com/littlebead

          Comment


          • #6
            The science of it!

            Hi Janet,

            Well it’s not really science, its photography!

            There are elements of science within what ever we do, whether it’s making something in clay or bashing a bit of metal into a bracelet or even stringing a few burbles onto a bit of string! All these have scientific elements but without artistry then they are just as I have described them.

            Photography is the same, without the artistry then the images are just representative. With artistry then the image takes on a completely different aspect. To be good at what you do involves lots of things but the basic essence of this is understanding what you are doing. This applies to everything that your fellow crafters do, photography is no different to this.

            Looking at this at a basic level, the camera is a tool, just as a hammer is a tool. You could use either to drive in a nail or create a picture. The hammer has a specifically shaped head to avoid damaging the nail or to peen a piece of metal into a shape and there are many designs of hammer.

            The camera is designed to let a certain amount of light into a surface that converts that light into an electrical current which is then described as a series of numbers (surprisingly film cameras aren’t really that much different). The very first cameras were just boxes with pin holes in them and you really can’t get much simpler than that.

            What I am trying to say, rather badly I think, is that they are both tools and used well will give exceptional results. If you watch a silver smith at work you will see the dexterity and skill that only years of practice can give. The strength, intensity, understanding of the material and direction of the hammer blows produce works of art. The isolation, angle and the understanding of light produces fine images. Where is the difference, there is none!

            Using a camera is no different to the science of using a hammer. Some people have a better understanding of using hammers than cameras, they are just tools but what is important is that the person who uses either understands what he or she wants from it!! If you don’t understand it then you will never be good at it and that applies to everything you or I do.

            Regards,

            I..
            www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/?saved=1

            Comment


            • #7
              White Balence

              Hi Phil,

              According to Nikon if you have a blue cast to the image then you should be able to adjust this out using the white balance control. Negative values will add more red/yellow and positive values will add more blue to the image. So if you have +3 to florescent then you have added more blue to what is already a bluish colour cast!

              I would be inclined to try using the auto white balance and then reduce the compensation number to -1,-2 or -3 so that you are adding more red compensation. Another way would be to try the cloudy setting and the florescent settings, It may not work but clouds have a very high colour temperature so would appear to give a blue cast to the image and using this setting will add a lot of red which you could back off using the +/- trimming control.

              Unfortunately there are lots of ways round this and it’s just a case of finding one that suits the light source you have. There is a quick fix in photoshop you could also try.

              Colour libraries – white ANPA – OK. Then Image – adjustments – levels – sample image to set white point (that’s the right hand eye dropper). Click the eye dropper on the white pallet in the forground/packground pallet – and then click the eye dropper on the image background.

              This then sets the white background to a calibrated white background and all the blue cast should have gone, It does changer the exposure slightly but if it was accurate in the first place then you won’t have to much of a problem.

              Let me know how you get on.

              Regards,

              I..
              www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/?saved=1

              Comment


              • #8
                Hi Ian

                Thanks for getting back again. I will give those suggestions a go this afternoon.

                Thanks
                Phil

                Comment


                • #9
                  Hi Ian,
                  Thank you, you put that very well and your explantion to me makes things a lot clearer.
                  www.littlebead.blogspot.com
                  www.twitter.com/littlebead

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Hi Ian

                    I'm persevering with the camera and lightbox - stlll not getting the results I want but I shall keep soldiering on!

                    Big thanks for the adobe tip - that has been a big help.

                    Thanks

                    Phil

                    Comment

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