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  1. #11

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    Check around your local sign/screen printing shops for a product called profile board. It's basically a plastic board made like corrugated paper. The sign shops use a lot of it to print campaign signs, house for sale signs etc. It's available in a very white white in 4x8 sheets and I've bought it around $10 (US) per sheet from a local printer. An added attraction is that it is very flexible and makes a good reflector as well as a very clean white background.

  2. #12

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    The key is really lighting. You can "fake" a seamless if you light a big thing (preferably a light thing) in a way that will render it plain and bright white. Not that white b/g= Avedon, like some people tend to think automatically whenever they hear "white b/g", but from a technical standpoint, he is worth mentioning. For "In the American West", Avedon had the advantage of the largest and farthest away light source on Earth, taking his portraits/typologies outside in diffuse light. The distance of the sun and clouds made it so that the differences between subject and backdrop were not huge in a relative sense. You don't have that with basic studio lighting. The falloff due to the inverse square law is far greater in the studio, due to the relative distances between lights, subject, and b/g. This means you need dedicated b/g lights, in other words, and ones that are stronger than your main light. If you just have a main light for the subject, and maybe one for a fill, you will have a tough time even on a white seamless.

    Also, don't forget that Avedon used very little of what he shot for that series, and trashed the rest. So, practice and repetition can be key as well.
    Last edited by 2F/2F; 05-16-2009 at 08:06 PM. Click to view previous post history.
    2F/2F

    "Truth and love are my law and worship. Form and conscience are my manifestation and guide. Nature and peace are my shelter and companions. Order is my attitude. Beauty and perfection are my attack."

    - Rob Tyner (1944 - 1991)

  3. #13
    jmcd's Avatar
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    If 4x8 is used vertically, that isn't wide at all by the time you separate your subject from the background. For shoulders up, this would work horizontally.

  4. #14

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    Hey from Alberta, All you need is something white (paper, cloth, wall etc) without a pattern and give it extra exposure as QG suggested. When I was in Asia I used 2 speedotron heads on my background along with 2 soft boxes on the subject to make these white background portraits.

    http://www.gerryyaum.com/sex%20worker.html

    Gerry

  5. #15

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    Buy some canvas and paint it with acrylic paint, thin it out some, to heavy will crack. Use titanium white. Before painting make sure you have a 4-5 hem to run the crossbar through.

    Good luck.

  6. #16
    fotch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stwb View Post
    I'm interested in taking some portraits with bright white background. No one in town sells white seamless paper so ordering online is fairly expensive when shipping costs are added on. Is there an alternative to white seamless? Can a guy use white foam board with similar results? Will the seams show? Should I just bite the bullet and get the paper?

    Thanks.
    Yes, bite the bullet and get the paper! Stores easily, many uses per roll, works perfectly, no labor needed. The KISS principal (Keep It Simple Stupid):rolleyes:.
    Items for sale or trade at www.Camera35.com

  7. #17

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    Just before I left the camera biz there was a rep touting a folding background. As I recall it was almost 8' and had a metal loop in the hem, like those light shield you would use in the windshield of your car to keep it cool. Check with Helix, B&H and Calumet.
    These things fold up small enough so they're relatively inexpensive to ship. The cost of shipping an 8' long roll of paper is obscene.
    What about using two short rolls(63") & tape them together on the back. Or just use 63" rolls, it would be wide enough for head & shoulders.
    Heavily sedated for your protection.

  8. #18
    David A. Goldfarb's Avatar
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    As others have said, the key is lighting. Light the background so it's about two stops brighter than main light, and you'll get a clean white background, even if the background isn't actually white.

    On the other hand, seamless is a handy thing to have on hand. I keep super white, grey, and black, and depending on how much you use it, it can last for years.
    flickr--http://www.flickr.com/photos/davidagoldfarb/
    Photography (not as up to date as the flickr site)--http://www.davidagoldfarb.com/photo
    Academic (Slavic and Comparative Literature)--http://www.davidagoldfarb.com

  9. #19
    EASmithV's Avatar
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    How about a pull down projector screen?
    www.EASmithV.com

    "The camera is an instrument that teaches people how to see without a camera."— Dorothea Lange
    http://www.flickr.com/easmithv/
    RIP Kodachrome

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