October 01, 2014, 02:37:14 AM

Author Topic: Which background colors are good to start with for portraits  (Read 2375 times)

unfocused

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Re: Which background colors are good to start with for portraits
« Reply #15 on: March 10, 2014, 12:10:52 PM »
This thread seems like a good place to ask this.

I've always been an admirer of Irving Penn's portraits (Worlds in a Small Room, Small Trades, etc.). I've never figured out how to recreate the look of his backgrounds. I've only seen seamless paper in solid colors and while the muslin backgrounds come close, they just aren't quite the same. As others have said, unless you have some means of permanently leaving them hanging they are prone to wrinkles, which one would think wouldn't be a huge problem if you can blur the background, but unfortunately, even with full frame, it seems like there is never enough background blur to hide the wrinkles.

From pictures I've seen, it looks like Penn used Canvas.

Anyone here have any sources or ideas.
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Re: Which background colors are good to start with for portraits
« Reply #15 on: March 10, 2014, 12:10:52 PM »

Rienzphotoz

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Re: Which background colors are good to start with for portraits
« Reply #16 on: March 10, 2014, 12:32:02 PM »
This thread seems like a good place to ask this.

I've always been an admirer of Irving Penn's portraits (Worlds in a Small Room, Small Trades, etc.). I've never figured out how to recreate the look of his backgrounds. I've only seen seamless paper in solid colors and while the muslin backgrounds come close, they just aren't quite the same. As others have said, unless you have some means of permanently leaving them hanging they are prone to wrinkles, which one would think wouldn't be a huge problem if you can blur the background, but unfortunately, even with full frame, it seems like there is never enough background blur to hide the wrinkles.

From pictures I've seen, it looks like Penn used Canvas.

Anyone here have any sources or ideas.
I have no experience with these kind of backdrops, but I just ordered a "Wrinkle Free" backdrop from Amazon.
I can tell you if it is really "wrinkle free" after it gets delivered to me in about couple of weeks. Meanwhile, here is the link for what I ordered
http://www.amazon.com/gp/offer-listing/B004IOTM0I/ref=dp_olp_new_mbc?ie=UTF8&condition=new
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neuroanatomist

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Re: Which background colors are good to start with for portraits
« Reply #17 on: March 10, 2014, 01:41:21 PM »
Any suggestions to remove them? I did order clips but they have not come.
Pulling the background tight is option #1

Ordered clips?  I just went to Home Depot and bought a bag of plastic spring clamps, >20 of them for less than $10.  Put a few of them along the stands of the background support to stretch the backdrop fabric tight.

Just before you hang the backdrop, wet a hand towel and wring out most of the water, then throw that in the dryer with the backdrop for ~15 minutes, which will steam out most of the wrinkles.
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unfocused

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Re: Which background colors are good to start with for portraits
« Reply #18 on: March 10, 2014, 01:44:24 PM »
This thread seems like a good place to ask this.

I've always been an admirer of Irving Penn's portraits (Worlds in a Small Room, Small Trades, etc.). I've never figured out how to recreate the look of his backgrounds. I've only seen seamless paper in solid colors and while the muslin backgrounds come close, they just aren't quite the same. As others have said, unless you have some means of permanently leaving them hanging they are prone to wrinkles, which one would think wouldn't be a huge problem if you can blur the background, but unfortunately, even with full frame, it seems like there is never enough background blur to hide the wrinkles.

From pictures I've seen, it looks like Penn used Canvas.

Anyone here have any sources or ideas.
I have no experience with these kind of backdrops, but I just ordered a "Wrinkle Free" backdrop from Amazon.
I can tell you if it is really "wrinkle free" after it gets delivered to me in about couple of weeks. Meanwhile, here is the link for what I ordered
http://www.amazon.com/gp/offer-listing/B004IOTM0I/ref=dp_olp_new_mbc?ie=UTF8&condition=new

Thanks. In the meantime I also found a place called Backdropoutlet.com that offers something they call "titanium" backdrops that are supposed to be wrinkle-free. I may order one and try it out.
« Last Edit: March 10, 2014, 03:50:10 PM by unfocused »
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Rienzphotoz

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Re: Which background colors are good to start with for portraits
« Reply #19 on: March 10, 2014, 01:47:44 PM »
Any suggestions to remove them? I did order clips but they have not come.
Pulling the background tight is option #1

Just before you hang the backdrop, wet a hand towel and wring out most of the water, then throw that in the dryer with the backdrop for ~15 minutes, which will steam out most of the wrinkles.
Interesting tip ... will have to try it out sometime ... thanks for sharing.
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neuroanatomist

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Re: Which background colors are good to start with for portraits
« Reply #20 on: March 10, 2014, 01:52:36 PM »
Just before you hang the backdrop, wet a hand towel and wring out most of the water, then throw that in the dryer with the backdrop for ~15 minutes, which will steam out most of the wrinkles.
Interesting tip ... will have to try it out sometime ... thanks for sharing.

It works for dress shirts, too…  ;)
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Re: Which background colors are good to start with for portraits
« Reply #21 on: March 10, 2014, 03:38:23 PM »
Quote
This thread seems like a good place to ask this.

I've always been an admirer of Irving Penn's portraits (Worlds in a Small Room, Small Trades, etc.). I've never figured out how to recreate the look of his backgrounds. I've only seen seamless paper in solid colors and while the muslin backgrounds come close, they just aren't quite the same. As others have said, unless you have some means of permanently leaving them hanging they are prone to wrinkles, which one would think wouldn't be a huge problem if you can blur the background, but unfortunately, even with full frame, it seems like there is never enough background blur to hide the wrinkles.

From pictures I've seen, it looks like Penn used Canvas.

Anyone here have any sources or ideas.

Most likely he used a custom hand painted Muslim. Traditionally Muslims were all hand painted and unique. it's a recent (last twenty years of so) development that you can get mass produced printed Muslims. Most modern Muslims are kinda cheesy IMO. They lack the classic qualities of a hand painted Muslim.

If you are going for that look you can buy blank Muslim and either hire a painter to paint it or give it a go yourself.
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Re: Which background colors are good to start with for portraits
« Reply #21 on: March 10, 2014, 03:38:23 PM »

privatebydesign

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Re: Which background colors are good to start with for portraits
« Reply #22 on: March 10, 2014, 04:03:29 PM »
Quote
This thread seems like a good place to ask this.

I've always been an admirer of Irving Penn's portraits (Worlds in a Small Room, Small Trades, etc.). I've never figured out how to recreate the look of his backgrounds. I've only seen seamless paper in solid colors and while the muslin backgrounds come close, they just aren't quite the same. As others have said, unless you have some means of permanently leaving them hanging they are prone to wrinkles, which one would think wouldn't be a huge problem if you can blur the background, but unfortunately, even with full frame, it seems like there is never enough background blur to hide the wrinkles.

From pictures I've seen, it looks like Penn used Canvas.

Anyone here have any sources or ideas.

Most likely he used a custom hand painted Muslim. Traditionally Muslims were all hand painted and unique. it's a recent (last twenty years of so) development that you can get mass produced printed Muslims. Most modern Muslims are kinda cheesy IMO. They lack the classic qualities of a hand painted Muslim.

If you are going for that look you can buy blank Muslim and either hire a painter to paint it or give it a go yourself.

Unfortunate typo, muslin is quite different to Muslim  ;)
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Re: Which background colors are good to start with for portraits
« Reply #23 on: March 10, 2014, 04:05:21 PM »
This thread seems like a good place to ask this.

I've always been an admirer of Irving Penn's portraits (Worlds in a Small Room, Small Trades, etc.). I've never figured out how to recreate the look of his backgrounds. I've only seen seamless paper in solid colors and while the muslin backgrounds come close, they just aren't quite the same. As others have said, unless you have some means of permanently leaving them hanging they are prone to wrinkles, which one would think wouldn't be a huge problem if you can blur the background, but unfortunately, even with full frame, it seems like there is never enough background blur to hide the wrinkles.

From pictures I've seen, it looks like Penn used Canvas.

Anyone here have any sources or ideas.

I am fairly sure they are hand painted canvas backdrops, it is actually quite easy to paint these yourself too.

https://www.google.com/search?q=irving+penn+Worlds+in+a+Small+Room&client=firefox-a&hs=a37&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&channel=sb&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=BRoeU-G8FYytkAeJsoHABA&ved=0CCYQsAQ&biw=1280&bih=711

https://www.google.com/search?q=painted+canvas+backdrops&client=firefox-a&hs=oOn&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&channel=sb&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=JhoeU9CDEY37kQeU_4HwBw&ved=0CEMQsAQ&biw=1280&bih=711
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unfocused

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Re: Which background colors are good to start with for portraits
« Reply #24 on: March 10, 2014, 04:07:17 PM »
Quote
This thread seems like a good place to ask this.

I've always been an admirer of Irving Penn's portraits (Worlds in a Small Room, Small Trades, etc.). I've never figured out how to recreate the look of his backgrounds. I've only seen seamless paper in solid colors and while the muslin backgrounds come close, they just aren't quite the same. As others have said, unless you have some means of permanently leaving them hanging they are prone to wrinkles, which one would think wouldn't be a huge problem if you can blur the background, but unfortunately, even with full frame, it seems like there is never enough background blur to hide the wrinkles.

From pictures I've seen, it looks like Penn used Canvas.

Anyone here have any sources or ideas.

Most likely he used a custom hand painted Muslim. Traditionally Muslims were all hand painted and unique. it's a recent (last twenty years of so) development that you can get mass produced printed Muslims. Most modern Muslims are kinda cheesy IMO. They lack the classic qualities of a hand painted Muslim.

If you are going for that look you can buy blank Muslim and either hire a painter to paint it or give it a go yourself.

Unfortunate typo, muslin is quite different to Muslim  ;)

Ha! Yeah, It wouldn't be very polite or effective to paint a person as a backdrop. :)

I imagine it didn't hurt that he was using a large format camera as well. I'm still amazed at the images, especially as I understand that he generally used natural light in a portable tent-type studio. I've always felt Penn's portraits showed greater empathy for the subjects than Avedon. In my view, Avedon tended to go for the cheap shot in his American West series -- sort of a "Hey New Yorkers, look at these country bumpkins that inhabit the rural west. Aren't they bizarre and unsophisticated." I think Penn showed greater respect for his subjects.
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agierke

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Re: Which background colors are good to start with for portraits
« Reply #25 on: March 10, 2014, 04:12:08 PM »
Lol...freaking auto correct! My apologies if I offended anyone.
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Re: Which background colors are good to start with for portraits
« Reply #26 on: March 10, 2014, 05:11:09 PM »
I have a couple of relatively inexpensive muslin backgrounds made by Impact that I've been using for more than 5 years now. They came in kits (I bought two kits, each with one backdrop, in light blue and dark gray) that included the backdrop, the stand to mount the backdrop on (tripod and crossbar) and even a folding bench for the subject.

The backdrops are stored in nylon bags, and the way they shipped (and about the only way to get them back into the bags) is crammed in, which creates a lot of wrinkles, which I believe is intentional. It creates a "pattern" or "texture" in the backdrops, and I can control the degree to which this is visible in the portraits, based on distances between camera, subject and background, as well as lens aperture.

Most of the time, I place the backdrop far enough behind the subject that it looks "blurry smooth," and I light it with a dedicated speedlite; I adjust the intensity and spread of the light on the backdrop to achieve the desired look. Very pleased with the results.
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Re: Which background colors are good to start with for portraits
« Reply #27 on: March 10, 2014, 09:21:10 PM »
This is the Blue Muslin I ordered. Pretty Happy.
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Re: Which background colors are good to start with for portraits
« Reply #27 on: March 10, 2014, 09:21:10 PM »

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Re: Which background colors are good to start with for portraits
« Reply #28 on: March 10, 2014, 11:29:03 PM »
Lol...freaking auto correct! My apologies if I offended anyone.
A few years ago a colleague of mine sent a very high profile VIP client, of ours, an email saying "we will rape your stuff and send it over" ... the message was meant to say "we will wrap your stuff and send it over" (basically the client wanted to gift some things to our rig crew but he wanted us to chose the gift and gift wrap them and send it over to his office) ... unfortunately no one from our side caught the typo until this very important client writes back with the word "rape" (underlined using bold & increased font size) with a comment that read" "are you sure?"
The craziest part was when our colleague (who is not proficient in English) wrote back saying "Yes, it is no problem for us to rape the gifts and send it to you" ;D
Luckily for us the client was a jovial fella who just let it pass.
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Re: Which background colors are good to start with for portraits
« Reply #28 on: March 10, 2014, 11:29:03 PM »