black velvet backdrop

Vipmediastar_JZVipmediastar_JZ Posts: 1,708Member
edited February 2014 in General Discussions
I have been using a black velvet backdrop for my portraits for a while now. I have no problem using it but this weekend I'll be doing my wife's pregnancy photo's and I need to either buy some velvet fabric to cover the lenght of her body or another backdrop since weather and the makeup appointment is in the evening therefore restricting us to indoors.

My wife is into DIY and she will be buying enough fabric to cover the backdrop kit if it comes to that.

Has anybody ever used velvet? If I have the subject far enought I hardly get any highlights in the wrinkles but I do want to add light in the back like a spotlight with a gel to get different effect so black might not be an option or make the hair light stand out.

Before we go and buy some fabric any suggestions are appreciated.

Comments

  • TaoTeJaredTaoTeJared Posts: 1,306Member
    I just use some for macro shots (actually when I sell stuff on ebay) and I will side light it at about 15deg off of back and about 30deg from above to get the highlights. I'll use different fabric with kids and babies and I have found shooting at f8+ is needed to get the fabric to show. It seem like for any fabric I end up blasting it pretty good if I want to see it (which is not really my style but still an option.) Velvet is not all that easy to get good highlights out of. It seems to be one of those "velvet is the subject" then throw that "other thing" in there that people will focus on at and never see how much work went into it. ;)
    D800, D300, D50(ir converted), FujiX100, Canon G11, Olympus TG2. Nikon lenses - 24mm 2.8, 35mm 1.8, (5 in all)50mm, 60mm, 85mm 1.8, 105vr, 105 f2.5, 180mm 2.8, 70-200vr1, 24-120vr f4. Tokina 12-24mm, 16-28mm, 28-70mm (angenieux design), 300mm f2.8. Sigma 15mm fisheye. Voigtlander R2 (olive) & R2a, Voigt 35mm 2.5, Zeiss 50mm f/2, Leica 90mm f/4. I know I missed something...
  • TaoTeJaredTaoTeJared Posts: 1,306Member
    You might also look for Charcoal colored or a medium-dark gray and shoot at smaller apertures and let it go dark. You probably would get better highlights out of it.
    D800, D300, D50(ir converted), FujiX100, Canon G11, Olympus TG2. Nikon lenses - 24mm 2.8, 35mm 1.8, (5 in all)50mm, 60mm, 85mm 1.8, 105vr, 105 f2.5, 180mm 2.8, 70-200vr1, 24-120vr f4. Tokina 12-24mm, 16-28mm, 28-70mm (angenieux design), 300mm f2.8. Sigma 15mm fisheye. Voigtlander R2 (olive) & R2a, Voigt 35mm 2.5, Zeiss 50mm f/2, Leica 90mm f/4. I know I missed something...
  • Rx4PhotoRx4Photo Posts: 1,199Member
    edited February 2014
    I like TTJ's idea in that if you wanted to in post, you could make a selection of the fabric and bring down shadows to darken it as you wish. I've used velvet for flower and other single item shots. Velvet absorbs light like the quicker-picker-upper but produces rich blacks when you need that.
    Your hair light...will that be aimed toward the velvet, her hair, or are you trying to light both with a hair light? Just curious. Maybe if you create a crinkle in the velvet from where it's hanging - by leaving some slack in the fabric from end to end thus causing a downward drooping curviture in the fabric, then perhaps you could aim a light at that crinkle and create some highlights.
    Post edited by Rx4Photo on
    D800 | D7000 | Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8 | 24-70mm f/2.8 | 70-200mm f/2.8 | 35mm f/1.8G | 85mm f/1.4G | Sigma 35mm f/1.4 Art | Sigma 50mm f/1.4 Art | Sigma 50mm f/1.4 EX DG HSM | Zeiss 100mm Makro-Planar ZF.2 | Flash controllers: Phottix Odin TTL

  • MsmotoMsmoto Posts: 5,370Moderator
    I am not a fan of velvet but for a slightly textured black cloth. If you wife wants to be wrapped in black…..well, I would suggest it be white or a light warm pastel. Black is an ominous color for a mother to be.

    The key is light control…set up long before she is on the set using a mannequin if possible.
    Msmoto, mod
  • Golf007sdGolf007sd Posts: 2,840Moderator
    edited February 2014
    Have a look at some of the portraits I took of my sister and see what you think.

    With that said, are you thinking of head, half/full body, side, lying down, curled up shot? Hence, what is the composition you have in mind as it relates to the back ground in relation to the lighting?
    Post edited by Golf007sd on
    D4 & D7000 | Nikon Holy Trinity Set + 105 2.8 Mico + 200 F2 VR II | 300 2.8G VR II, 10.5 Fish-eye, 24 & 50 1.4G, 35 & 85 1.8G, 18-200 3.5-5.6 VR I SB-400 & 700 | TC 1.4E III, 1.7 & 2.0E III, 1.7 | Sigma 35 & 50 1.4 DG HSM | RRS Ballhead & Tripods Gear | Gitzo Monopod | Lowepro Gear | HDR via Promote Control System |
  • Vipmediastar_JZVipmediastar_JZ Posts: 1,708Member


    The hair light will be aimed from the side/back to head or above to produce halo.
    @msmoto true on the black for a mother to be however I may be using this thru out the year unless I get grey for white to change it up.

    @golf I would like to do body shots and something other than heart shapes with the hands. Two years ago we did a shoot in the forest preserve but this year we can't do that and yes I like your sisters photos.

    An example of what I would like to do for similar light is like this http://fstoppers.com/potd/let-them-eat-cake
    I'll will try to go for a dreamy affect as well.

    I'll try to get a hair cut and include myself in the photos as well and while we are at it a family portrait too.
  • SquamishPhotoSquamishPhoto Posts: 608Member
    Paper or vinyl are vastly superior materials for backgrounds. Velvet and cloth are very flat and lack a pleasant texture.
    Mike
    D3 • D750 • 14-24mm f2.8 • 35mm f1.4A • PC-E 45mm f2.8 • 50mm f1.8G • AF-D 85mm f1.4 • ZF.2 100mm f2 • 200mm f2 VR2
  • Vipmediastar_JZVipmediastar_JZ Posts: 1,708Member
    I'll look into vinyl.

    I created a set on Flickr that has the velvet backdrop http://www.flickr.com/photos/91504024@N05/sets/72157640949992083/

    joan fabrics offers velvet in black or steel gray

  • JakesGTJakesGT Posts: 38Member
    Whatever material get 18% grey as the color
  • IronheartIronheart Posts: 3,017Moderator
    Or chroma-key green ;-)
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