Some descriptions of the most popular Muslin backgrounds
|Ah, most appreciated visitor, one
of the "secrets" of pro photographers is the judicious
use of backgrounds (also called backdrops). By placing our subjects
(regardless of whether they're people or products) in front of
a wisely-chosen backdrop, we emphasize and highlight the subjects
in the most attractive and eye-catching ways. Virtually all great
pictures are designed with attention to the background, and how
that chosen background will make our victims (um, our "subjects,"
that is:) look better, stand out, or attract the viewers attention
to (place the emphasis upon) our subjects.
One of the secrets of good photography
is the thought the photographer puts into a picture before
s/he even considers what type of film to use! The point here
is that we have to train ourselves to think before we
shoot! What color is our subject? How can we make that color
(or shade) stand out? What do we want to emphasize in our picture?
How will we direct our viewers' eye to our subject? How will
we separate our main subject from any other elements in our photograph?
Which angle should we shoot? Is it important to establish place
in this photograph (i.e., is it important for the viewer to know
where our subject is? Or do we want to hide the location)? THINK
before you shoot! MAKE a photograph - don't "take"
a snapshot! Learn to "design" your picture before
you pick up your camera! I promise you that a good photograph
doesn't require the genius of an Einstein - it just takes a little
thought and preparation! You don't have to study photography
for years, just train yourself to think before you shoot! Don't
try to plan out 100 images all at once; think about one or two,
and then use 10 rolls of film on just those two ideas. Shoot
at different angles; shoot from different heights; shoot with
different lighting angles; shoot with color film; shoot with
black and white film; think, then shoot! Below: Some common muslins.
| 6' 8"
x 9' Raw muslin - This is a great
starter background for those of us who are just begining to realize
the importance of backdrops to good photography. At a relatively
low price (often under $30.00), you can buy several; keep one
raw, then paint or dye the others to have a great selection!
Raw muslin is a lovely cream color, and has been used in its
raw state as a favorite of photographers for years. Also, you
can easily dye and/or paint raw muslin to create beautiful custom
backgrounds that sell for up to $450.00! What IS a "Muslin?"
Muslin is a type of cotton material that is light weight, easily
draped, stretched, folded, or rolled. It's easy to paint and
dye, and relatively inexpensive. But if you're budget won't stretch
to buy muslins, just use a bed sheet (iron it first, so all the
wrinkles are gone), or a wall, or buy some cheap material at
a local fabric store. Set your victim (um, your "subject,"
that is:) at least 4-6 feet in front of your background (whatever
it may be), and place your background strobe behind your subject
(hidden from the camera's view).
|Some of the most common muslin sizes
| 9 x 12 Raw
x 12 Raw muslin
x 15 Raw muslin
White gives us the ability to get those great images with a solid
white background. Additionally, it allows us to change the color
of our backgrounds simply by using a color filter over our backlight
strobe; see how here.
|9 x 12 Pure white muslin
|| 9 x 15 Pure white muslin
|| 10 x 15 Pure white
| 10 x 12 Photographer's18%
gray muslin - That's right, folks!
A perfect 18% gray! Unique and wonderful for setting your exposure,
or just as a middle gray background!
Black - For that "drop
dead black" we all love so much.
|| 10 x 12 Jet Black muslin
|| 10 x 15 Jet Black
|Sky Blue -
Perfect for subjects with blue eyes
(see above for an example) and for any subject
with blue clothing or coloring.
|| 10 x 15 Sky Blue muslin
|| 10 x 12 Sky Blue muslin
|Learn to "think outside