Need backdrop to fake a yearbook photo.

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I have a son "graduating" from Middle School (8th grade) this year. He skipped the school photo session earlier in the year because in normal years, the school has another photo shoot w/ cap and gown for 8th graders for their yearbook portraits. But since they take those photos using a communal cap-and-gown, they recently announced they're scrapping the cap-and-gown photo (due to COVID) and they're just going to use the photos taken earlier -- the photos that my son doesn't have. And as a teenager, being in the yearbook is important to him.

The yearbook coordinator at the school has agreed to publish a replacement photo if we can provide one. I've got enough equipment and maybe enough experience to pull off the dead-simple portrait lighting, but I don't have anything similar to that standard-issue mottled blue school photo backdrop. I've got white and black muslin, and also some ugly-ass blue/brown combo that I picked up with some used equipment years ago.

But I also have a pop-up green screen backdrop that is big enough for a head-and-shoulders portrait. Anyone know where I could find a high-quality photo of that ubiquitous blue school photo backdrop? I think green-screen is how they actually take school photos today parents can choose from a variety of backgrounds, but I don't have much experience with chroma-key to know how well it will work.
 

Stanga

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Why don't you just use a program like AcDsee to just change the colour of the backdrop to whatever shade of blue you need? It's quite easy to do with loads of Youtube videos showing how to do it without much effort.
 
Joined
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Location
Brookfield, IL
Why don't you just use a program like AcDsee to just change the colour of the backdrop to whatever shade of blue you need? It's quite easy to do with loads of Youtube videos showing how to do it without much effort.

Thanks. Yeah, I could easily use the white background and change the color. That may work. But the backdrop in the example photo provided to me by the yearbook coordinator is not solid blue but a blue abstract texture.

I posted my question without doing much research and i've since discovered that digital background specifically for this purpose are widely available on etsy.com and even from some of the manufacturers of actual physical backdrops. I'm going to set up the lights and give it a whirl.
 
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Following up, in case anyone is interested. And maybe this belongs in "Creative Corner" but since I started it here...

The green screen turned out to be a bust (for me, anyhow). I took some test shots with my teenager and his curly mop of COVID-hair and separating the screen from his hair was difficult, and I was not happy with the results. I tried masking the screen in Photoshop (elements) and Topaz MaskAI (Trial version) with limited success.

P3051069edit-resize.jpg


The best results came from "Green Screen Wizard" but the price was a little steep for software I don't intend to use very often:

GSW_P3051069edit-resize.jpg

Runner up was the web-based "remove.bg" (and then a background layer applied in Photoshop),

P3051069-removebg-resize.jpg

Remove.bg was more acceptable cost-wise because you pay by the image. But, regardless of the $$, I was still not happy with the results. Looking back I should have used the blue side of the reversible pop-up backdrop, because any blue fringing might have blended into the digital background.
 
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But, instead of trying out a digital backdrop using the the blue chroma-key, I purchased a <$30 5x7 "blue texture" backdrop from Amazon (brand name "Kate").

Set up my "studio" spanning the kitchen and living room, the only place in my relatively small house with a long enough straight path to make it work. Camera was the OM-1DmkIII with 40-150 pro, set on manual exposure 1/180 f/5.6-6.3. I used the Olympus RC feature to trigger all the flashes:

Main light: FL-50r into 42" Glow Beauty Dish (no diffusers installed) (RC group A, TTL Auto, and occasionally some flash EC dialed in)
Fill Light: 48" pop-up reflector
Hair Light: FL-36r through a flash-bender snoot, pointed at the back of the subjects head. (RC Group C, Manual 1/8 power)
Background Lights: 2 x FL300r with wide panels engaged (RC Group B, Manual 1/8 power)

IMG_0708.jpeg

The pre-flash Olympus RC system gets some grief for it's limitations, but in a controlled environment like this it performed brilliantly. Also, the FL-300r's don't seemed to be well liked, but I think they are awesome especially given the price (and I got them for super-cheap refurbished).

And the results? I'm pretty pleased. Not sure i'm completely happy with the lighting balance: I feel like maybe the fill could be a little stronger, which I might have accomplished by moving the reflector closer or replacing it with an FL-300r (I have 3!) through an umbrella. Also thinking I should have raised the hair light and shot it down rather than directly at the back of the head. So, notes for next time, but for now i think it's "Mission Accomplished" (Photos have some light skin and eye enhancements applied in Luminar AI)

P3131086-resize.jpg P3131090-resize.jpg P3131097-resize.jpg P3131098-resize.jpg


Also got a few shots of my 3rd grader (still sporting his COVID-hair):

P3131123-resize.jpg P3131149-resize.jpg P3131158-resize.jpg
 

Replytoken

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Nothing quite like being forced to be creative. That looks like a great backdrop, and you managed to tame the curls! :thumbsup: FWIW, I prefer the two of your older one smiling.

Good luck,

--Ken
 
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Oh, and my 3rd Grader turned the tables on me and got my COVID-hair "school photo":
P3131170-resize.jpg
Nothing quite like being forced to be creative. That looks like a great backdrop, and you managed to tame the curls! :thumbsup: FWIW, I prefer the two of your older one smiling.

Good luck,

--Ken

Thanks.

I’m very pleased with the backdrop, especially given the price. It’s a pretty heavy microfiber/velour type fabric.

And yes, one of the smiling photos will be the submission to the yearbook.
 

Replytoken

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Oh, and my 3rd Grader turned the tables on me and got my COVID-hair "school photo":
View attachment 878105


Thanks.

I’m very pleased with the backdrop, especially given the price. It’s a pretty heavy microfiber/velour type fabric.

And yes, one of the smiling photos will be the submission to the yearbook.
Perhaps you should send your photo to the school and "apologize for your son's COVID-hair"? :rolleyes-38: And I am going to have to look up your backdrop as I have been mulling a small, affordable one for some time.

--Ken
 
Joined
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Messages
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