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Ordovician_Odyssey

Photography Background

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Ordovician_Odyssey

Hi guys,

Recently I have been building on my photography setup. I currently am using the Canon 1100D/T3, along with

a shutter release cable, lens hood, and a flash defuser; all mounted on a sturdy tripod.

I find this works great, each attachment really benefits the image; However, I can never find a good background.

I have tried a white piece of wood, a cloth, and solid colored paper. I find none of the really worked too well, and I would like to find a cheap replacement (as I do not have much money to spend on a background at the time being :P ).

What do you guys use for backgrounds in your photographs?

Thanks for all the help!

All the best :)

-Shamus

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Missourian

I too have struggled with that. I pick different backgrounds based on the size, color, and 'brightness' of the specimens. Sometimes, it may come down to my mood at the moment. :)

I started out using brightly colored towels and washcloths, but they looked like I was trying to sell junk jewelry at the local swap-n-shop. I.e. they looked tacky and amateurish.

I soon settled on a neutrally-colored background. I try to find a 'brightness' that is close to that of the fossil. If it's too close, the fossils blend in too much. Too much contrast causes the camera to over- or underexpose the fossil. I also try to get a flat and featureless surface. This reduces clutter, and it reduces the file size of the image. A manila folder works remarkably well.

For smaller pieces, I've come to use a semi-transparent plastic tub. The plastic is translucent enough that shadows are minor, but not so much that background distractions show through.

In many cases, I'll hold the fossil above the surface to eliminate shadows and to provide some scale. Sometimes, I'll do this over grass because it is aesthetically pleasing for some reason (probably because it gives that impression that the photo was taken out in the field.

Eventually, I'd like to get or make a raised glass or plastic platform (a glass table perhaps) that I could place above any background of my choosing.

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Xiphactinus

Red or black felt works well. It absorbs your flash and gives a nice even background. (And it's cheap!)

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Missourian

Red or black felt works well. It absorbs your flash and gives a nice even background. (And it's cheap!)

Please disregard my comments about the towels, if applicable. :)

Just take a look at some of my early photos to see what I mean....

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Ordovician_Odyssey

Okay, thanks guys! :)

I'll try those techniques! :D

Missourian, I'll take a look at the images

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Auspex

There are some good tips HERE

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Ordovician_Odyssey

Thanks Auspex! :D

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Ameenah

I like poster paper not the board . I like the fact that I can prop it up almost anywhere and the curve of the paper makes the background look seamless. I guess you can try different colors and the paper I buy has a glossy side and a matte side, and you can play around with which works best for you.

I sometimes tape the top half of the paper to the top of my lamp so it almost creates a light box effect.

I hope this makes since. I'm a very amature photographer on a budget and I make up stuff

as I go ----lol

Edited by Ameenah

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32fordboy

I'm a fan of black or white backgrounds. The material came with a cheap $40 photo tent on ebay. It looks like a light felt. I feel that colored felts tend to take away from the fossil, though some members make it work. Still, I favor black over white. Black just looks the most sophisticated, in my opinion. Not sure why, though.

By the way, a background will almost always be visible in the photo (in my experience, anyhow). So, the photo gets inported into Microsoft Paint (because I'm too cheap for Photoshop), and the image is cropped close to the fossil. It creates the illusion of a perfect background.

Here are two pics of the same fossils. Notice how in one pic the background has been cropped out while in the other, the background looks blue, even though it is black. The photos were taken at the same time, though the fossils were rearranged (in real life, not on the computer). In my opinion, the only purpose of a background is to give a decent cropping edge.

Nick

post-741-0-08247800-1345680076_thumb.jpg

post-741-0-31546800-1345680079_thumb.jpg

Edited by 32fordboy

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pleecan

Good link Auspex!

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Coco

I use a part of black felt tissue to make my background, because it doesn't send back the light.

Then, when I make my photo, I put a reflector (polystyrene, white paper etc...) in the opposite side of the natural light source to limit the shadows, but also to enlighten slowly the side in the shadow.

Then, if my background isn't uniformly black because of the lighting, it is easier to détourer objects with a software of pic retouch (Ph0t0sh0p for example) to add then a very uniform background.

When my objects are too dark, I put a grey ackground.

oursin11.jpg

Coco

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Taffie

There are some good tips HERE

Great articles, Auspex. Thanks so much. Very helpful.

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sward

There is/was a member that used "appropriate" posters and or photographs for his backgrounds. I was thinking the member's name was Captain Nemo (or something like that), but I can't find him in the member's list anymore.

He had some beautiful backgrounds that complimented the subject he was photographing. For instance, if I recall, he had some mosasaur material and the background for his photos was an artists rendition of mos swimming through the ocean. I remember another of his pics of some ammonites/nautiloids. The background was some nautical charts and I believe he had some nautical equipment (antique compass, antique dividers, etc.) in the background as well.

I was always impressed with his pics.

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Auspex

Cpt. Nemo

A true romantic artist...

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sward

Cpt. Nemo

A true romantic artist...

Thanks Auspex. I forgot that it was "Cpt Nemo" and not "Captain". I was afraid he might have left the forum.

Anyway, here's his website from his members page. You may want to take a look at it to see some of his ideas. http://tempsjadis.kazeo.com/

I've always admired his creativity and photography skills.

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squalicorax

I like bricks :P

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MarleysGh0st

I don't have the photography setup you have, so I just use a black T-shirt for my background.

At PRI, they use a tray filled with black sand. It provides a non-reflective background while also making it easier to position oddly shaped specimens for the photo.

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IndianaSam

I usually don't go much beyond a black or white background for my pictures, Mostly I take photo's while in the field. Guess I'll have to setup a better spot for taking pics :)

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Missourian

Photography background fail:

post-6808-0-53815900-1346009520_thumb.jpg

post-6808-0-72475100-1346009511_thumb.jpg

post-6808-0-91834400-1346009515_thumb.jpg

post-6808-0-99278500-1346009513_thumb.jpg

post-6808-0-61779200-1346009518_thumb.jpg

:)

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Ordovician_Odyssey

Cool, thanks for the ideas guys!

I'm going to try black and white felt :)

I'll put up some results once I've taken

a few pictures :D

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