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The Dark Room -- Photo Editing and Picture Taking. Advice, tutorials, questions on all things photoshop, photo editing, and taking pictures of beads or glass.

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  #1  
Old 2010-03-22, 6:18pm
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Default What are you favorite backdrops?

The search for the perfect background for glass photography seems to be never-ending. An all-white backdrop allows the glass colors and sparkle to pop, but I've also heard from people who want some context or hint of scale.

I've tried a few different things: a mirror (too shiny), a hand-etched mirror (less shiny but the etching turned out a bit blotchy), an aluminum sheet (interesting but with a pretty coarse texture), and a coarse-weave muslin fabric. One of my favorite props is a sumi-e ink stone:



Some people have used crystals, pinecones, and other natural objects to good effect. Others have found shiny fabrics or objects to use as backdrops. What are your favorite props? What properties do you look for in a backdrop?
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  #2  
Old 2010-03-22, 6:36pm
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Backdrops can be highly personal....

I personally would not use anything that takes even the smallest bit if attention from the "object" of the picture....

Backdrops that get to "busy" leave viewer wondering what picture is all about.... Anything that may be visually confusing should be avoided....

Dale
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  #3  
Old 2010-03-22, 6:40pm
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I've been using a transparent ruler on my white background. I just don't use it for the main shot I started doing that (and also occasionally a penny) after a number of folks complained they couldn't tell how big something was, even though I give measurements... This way the ruler can easily be cropped, if you want a more professional-looking shot for slides or something.

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Old 2010-03-22, 7:01pm
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I like to use the craft foam sheets. White and black the blacks not too black but works great for boro work and the white is great for soft glass. Its not super shiny and doesnt mar easy so its worked pretty well for me.
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  #5  
Old 2010-03-22, 7:21pm
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I prefer artists that do both. The beauty of all these auction
sites is that you can put more than ONE picture up.

So do one artsy fartsy one, One on a plain gray background,
and one in the palm of your hand.
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  #6  
Old 2010-03-22, 10:10pm
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I SUCK at artsy fartsy SUCK. I used to used a lightly frosted piece of glass, now I use it over a variegated grey background. If someone did a tut on artsy fartsy photos I'd be all over it!
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  #7  
Old 2010-03-23, 9:21am
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I just like the great outdoors for my back drop, some driftwood in the garden.
Some staging stuff, that's about it. I always take my photos outside just before the sun goes away.





Janet
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  #8  
Old 2010-03-23, 5:11pm
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I print out a black-to-white gradient on glossy photo paper and use that as my background.

I wrote a tut on my blog for how to make a gradient background in Photoshop:
http://beadabundant.blogspot.com/200...-for-bead.html
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  #9  
Old 2010-03-24, 9:22am
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I've been using a glass block (like from the home improvement store) and I set it on a gray sheet of paper. I take my photos in bright sunlight through a big southern window. If I get any kind of shadow, I cover it with a translucent plastic bowl with the bottom cut out. It's a strange set up for sure, but I finally have photos I'm happy with. I don't have to adjust the color at all. And sometimes, I put a piece of glass or plexi glass on top of the block. It takes away some of the depth, but it makes a nice kind of reflective background.

Another one that works nice, that someone suggested in another thread is a non-stick pan. You can find different shades of them and they work great.

Kate
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  #10  
Old 2010-03-26, 5:50pm
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Thanks for all the cool perspectives! The tutorial on making custom gradient backgrounds is really cool, Karolen. And the non-stick pan idea is genius, Kate.

Janet, it's really hard to beat the light right before sunset - it really shows off glass colors so well!
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  #11  
Old 2010-03-30, 9:08pm
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I like to use the rocks in my driveway

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  #12  
Old 2010-04-03, 9:06pm
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I love using natural items like white birch bark, sticks, rocks, and seashells.
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  #13  
Old 2010-04-09, 10:25pm
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Nice shot, meker!

I agree, killerbeedz1, natural materials are so good for highlighting the beauty of glass.
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  #14  
Old 2010-04-10, 5:12pm
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I like to use our backyard pond as my backdrop. After I crop the photo for a close up of the bead, you don't really see much of the backdrop at all and of course what you do see is out of focus. I like the way it gives the bead even more of an organic look.


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  #15  
Old 2010-04-10, 5:21pm
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  #16  
Old 2010-05-28, 11:24pm
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If my backyard looked like your Kathy, I would use it too!!

Nice picture of the bead.
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  #17  
Old 2010-06-14, 10:21pm
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Dyed backgrounds just don't have the depth that painted ones do. Go buy a few cans of the cheapest latex paint you can find, in the colors you like, thin them down with water, lay the muslin out in the back yard and paint it on with a spounge mop.
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Old 2010-06-15, 3:02am
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I have used all kinds of different backgrounds and lately I have been using the gradient backgrounds. Mary Lockwood has some wonderful free gradient backgrounds on her website. All you have to do is select the one(s) you would like to use and print the page. I put the link below to the page in her website showing the gradient backgrounds available.

http://www.marylockwood.com/photobackgrops.html

I have gotten alot of use out of them. I really appreciate Mary putting these out there!!!
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Old 2010-06-15, 6:53am
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Thanks for the link. Mary is super.
Joan
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  #20  
Old 2010-07-08, 5:54pm
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All great food for thought. I struggle with the photography thing. So many variables. Depends on where the piece is going- Etsy, submission, etc. I feel like I want one size fits all because of the time involved and after much experimentation switched to the gradient approach... thanks to Karolen's tutorial awhile back.
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Old 2010-07-28, 12:34pm
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I recently switched to a gradient background and I love it.
Here's a sample pic.

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Old 2010-07-28, 1:53pm
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Lisa, that's beautiful photography (and bead)!

Once I tried gradient background, I was hooked. Still use a variety at times, but always go back to my gradient.

I made a few that people can print for free.

http://www.artisimportant.com/SRAJD/...ackgrounds.htm
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Old 2010-07-28, 6:30pm
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I stopped at Home Depot paint department tonight and grabbed up an assortment of neutral paint swatches. I decided they could also make an interesting background for bead photography.

One of the more interesting backgrounds that I have come up with is just the concrete sidewalk. Very pretty in macro!
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Old 2010-07-28, 7:04pm
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Lisa, is that some fancy gradient or, ummmm...do you remember where you got that...I think it shows the glass off just right!
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Old 2010-07-28, 7:59pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aleta View Post
I stopped at Home Depot paint department tonight and grabbed up an assortment of neutral paint swatches. I decided they could also make an interesting background for bead photography.

One of the more interesting backgrounds that I have come up with is just the concrete sidewalk. Very pretty in macro!
Great ideas. How big are the paint swatches?

Last time I was in Home Depot I went to the bathroom department and grabbed some large, solid colored tiles. If I ever shoot on colored background again I'll definitely use them.
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Old 2010-07-28, 8:04pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Laura B View Post
How big are the paint swatches?
3.25"x5" (Glidden) and 3.25"x6" (Martha Stewart Living)
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Old 2010-07-29, 4:31pm
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Laura - thank you!
Wonker - Your avatar picture is GORGEOUS! Did you take it?
I bought my gradient paper from Tabletopstudios.com. I know you can print them out at home, but my printer doesn't print solid colors very well - there are always some lines - so I went and bought one.
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Old 2010-07-29, 4:59pm
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There are paint swatches for these new eco friendly paints that are much bigger. The ones at my ACE hardware are like 8x10, they are huge.

Another place to get good papers for backgrounds is Michaels or JoAnne's.
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Old 2010-07-29, 5:01pm
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I just got some cool, seeds and moss for my backdrop and am kinda liking it.
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Old 2010-07-29, 7:17pm
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Seeds and moss sound like a perfect background. I'd like to see a sample pic Nick.

Kevan, Laura could probably use those paint swatch sizes for her jewelry. I find the paint swatches have a nice matt finish. For that matter, I could too for my bigger pieces!
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