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Forums > Digital Art and Retouching > Backgrounds take away from photos? Search   Reply
Model
Kayla Vanesa
Posts: 7
Gulf Shores, Alabama, US


I was wondering if you think that adding backgrounds to photos makes them better or worse? I have a lot of white background photos, should I leave them that way?
Mar 17 13 11:19 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Justin Bonaparte
Posts: 251
Charlotte, North Carolina, US


First, you should check with the photographer to see if she's ok with you modifying the images.
Mar 17 13 11:23 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Edward Shaw Photography
Posts: 316
Birmingham, England, United Kingdom


Aside from the comment in the above post, it can be hard to do this and get it to look right.

Unless the lens, camera angle, depth of field and lighting are consistent between the 2 imagers, they composite will look odd, even if skillfully done.

The best way to do composites like this successfully is for the photographer to have the specific background shot in mind when shooting the main subject. They can then match angles, lighting etc to make the combining of the images easier.
Mar 17 13 11:41 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Justin Bonaparte
Posts: 251
Charlotte, North Carolina, US


I think it's easier to just look for more work with photogs that shoot environmental.
Mar 17 13 11:44 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Backstreet Photography
Posts: 136
Salem, Oregon, US


In a way, a photo can be likened to a cup of coffee: some people like it plain, some like sugar only, some like cream, sugar and hazelnut added.  Depending on the "messgae" of the image, a solid white background can be perfect, but i like to have a background that caters to the models personality/interests.  This is just my PERSONAL opinion, and i'm sure there are 100's of people that would claim that i'm incorrect in my views ~ m'
Mar 17 13 11:50 am  Link  Quote 
Model
Kayla Vanesa
Posts: 7
Gulf Shores, Alabama, US


I just meant changing the colors in the background really, because an actual image would be hard to do. Plus, for the next set I was wondering if they should have colored backgrounds to mix it up.
Mar 17 13 12:08 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
TMA Photo and Retouch
Posts: 708
New York, New York, US


You "Could" change the white backgrounds...but you would also want to check back with the original copyright holder and ask for permission...just so that nobody gives you a hard time later on.

Sometimes white backgrounds can work pretty well for extractions.  But there are other times where they produce poor cutouts and create fringing around the the hair and the edges...and then your new images would look a little bit unnatural and doctored to a seasoned eye.  Sometimes the kind of  software you use and your experience level can also play a role in how successful your cutouts look.   If your images look the least bit doctored...most people will pick up on it.  Natural images taken in their own environment are the ideal solution.  Using a solid color might be fine...you might also want to consider adding in a shadow to further create a more realistic look.

Longer term... You have a nice look...  would love to see you do some additional shoots with several local photographers with the kinds of backgrounds that you might like... and that will create some nice diversity to your portfolio.

Good Luck.  Summer is coming up!!  Wish you the very best!
Mar 17 13 12:20 pm  Link  Quote 
Retoucher
Peano
Posts: 4,106
Lynchburg, Virginia, US


Kayla Vanesa  wrote:
I was wondering if you think that adding backgrounds to photos makes them better or worse?

A simple way to find out is to knock out a lot of different backgrounds and test them on people in your intended audience. Ask them to pick the one they like best. You just need one mask, and you could crank out a dozen or so in a matter of minutes.

http://img138.imageshack.us/img138/9928/backgroundszn.jpg

Mar 17 13 12:21 pm  Link  Quote 
Model
Kayla Vanesa
Posts: 7
Gulf Shores, Alabama, US


Thanks for the advice!
Mar 17 13 01:49 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
M Pandolfo Photography
Posts: 12,113
Tampa, Florida, US


It's a good idea to think about it from the perspective of people who are viewing the image. So I'll ask a couple questions...

What is the purpose of your portfolio? Is it to attract potential clients or photographers? Does it exist to entertain your friends or yourself with no other motivation?

The answer to that question should answer if you even should (even with permission).

If your portfolio exists to attract potential clients or photographers, then you should leave them as is. There's a purpose to a white backdrop. It's professional and clean...and it leaves the focus of the image on the model. How many professional models do you see with 'cutout' images in their portfolio?

If your portfolio exists to share with Facebook friends and to satisfy only you, then it's fine to play with compositing images (with permission) and "put yourself on a beach or a dark alley" and your friends will comment how they think it's really cool.

However, it will also make the statement to photographers and clients that your portfolio exists as a novelty and you're not as serious about modeling as you are with playing with your new toys.
Mar 17 13 02:00 pm  Link  Quote 
Retoucher
pixel dimension ilusion
Posts: 1,228
Brussels, Brussels, Belgium


an photo has to tell an story so is like cooking an mail if u like it spicy or sweet is up to u but when is about photo manipulation is about making an story of the pic
Mar 17 13 02:10 pm  Link  Quote 
Retoucher
Ornaments
Posts: 12
Brighton, England, United Kingdom


Tends to look pretty bad in my opinion. The main concern for me is the lighting being inconsistent between the model and the background, our eyes are very good at picking this up often resulting in a pretty jarring image. This is of course referring to backgrounds with noticeable light direction (e.g. a bikini model shot in the studio and then chucked on top of a random beach image here).

If most of the backgrounds to your photos are white, changing to a complimentary colour is fairly simple and can be very effective.
Mar 18 13 02:08 am  Link  Quote 
Retoucher
Peano
Posts: 4,106
Lynchburg, Virginia, US


Edd Kaspar wrote:
The main concern for me is the lighting being inconsistent between the model and the background, our eyes are very good at picking this up  ....

Or maybe not. Check this video. Slide over to the 26:00 mark and watch about two minutes of it:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9DKJ6gP5lJY

Mar 18 13 05:58 am  Link  Quote 
Retoucher
Zorka
Posts: 190
Belgrade, Central Serbia, Serbia


Peano wrote:
Check this video...

Great video, THANKS for the link!

Mar 18 13 07:14 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
365 Digitals Exposed
Posts: 743
Perris, California, US


you can do good adding an image to a back ground, just make sure is a well compose  BG. in this image I used 5 different images, for BG and  three more  for the foreground , and this image was published in vogue website last month.
http://photos.modelmayhem.com/photos/130309/17/513be386d7431.jpg
Mar 18 13 07:41 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
M Pandolfo Photography
Posts: 12,113
Tampa, Florida, US


365 Digitals Exposed wrote:
you can do good adding an image to a back ground, just make sure is a well compose  BG. in this image I used 5 different images, for BG and  three more  for the foreground , and this image was published in vogue website last month.
http://photos.modelmayhem.com/photos/130309/17/513be386d7431.jpg

I'd love to see the rest of this gentleman's modeling portfolio and whether the addition of this image has garnered him more work as a model.

I assume he has one since that's what the OP is talking about...changing her modeling portfolio images and how that would be perceived by viewers.

Nobody was arguing that good composites don't exist. But is it appropriate for a modeling portfolio?

Mar 18 13 03:55 pm  Link  Quote 
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