Taking Photos

I decided that I wanted to style all of the photos of my models with an infinite white background. It works well with the style of my site and many other sites. It also makes the photos look more professional.

lights

Taking photos with a solid white background is very challenging and only after trying many different ways, did I find something that works reliably for me. Here is my relatively inexpensive process:

  1. I place my models on a white poster cardboard for the background. You can get the cardboard from any hobby store. The cardboard is leaning against a wall so that there is a smooth curve. For videos, I also use a OXO Good Grips 11-inch turntable to make the model rotate.
  2. I use one of the lights from my ePhoto VL9026s 2000 Watt Lighting Studio Portrait kit to light up the background from overhead. I only switch on 2 of the bulbs and rotate the light cover in the horizontal position.
  3. Two lights from my Imagemake Light Tent kit are placed to the left and right in front of the model.
  4. I don’t have an expensive camera since I wouldn’t use it that much. I use a Google Nexus smartphone to take the photos. The camera app is configured to increase the exposure by +1.
    camera This is the most important setting for getting a solid white background in your photos.
  5. The tripod is right in front of the model, as close as possible, and it has a Joby JM1-01WW GripTight mount to hold my Android smartphone. It is very important that your camera is steady when taking photos.
  6. I take several photos of the model in each position, making sure that the camera’s auto-focus is activated for each take.
  7. The photos are imported to my computer and I then pick which ones look the best. It is very important that the photos need to be in focus.
  8. I then open each selected photo in Gimp. To confirm you have done the lighting right, you can use the color picker tool to check that the background is solid white (FFFFFF). If it is not, then you might have to increase the exposure setting on your camera or increase the brightness of your background lighting.
  9. Your model will look a bit overexposed. To compensate for this, I darken the model using the ‘Colors/Levels’ menu in Gimp. I usually move the left black triangle for the input levels to the first tick position. You have to judge what looks good for your photo.
  10. You can also sharpen the image if needed using ‘Filters/Enhance/Sharpen’.
  11. I then use ‘File/Export’ to save this as the corrected image for the model. I will use the ‘Image/Scale Image’ menu to make other sizes of the photo and export them separately.

Here are examples of using this process:
whitebackground

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