Black Backgrounds

6 Jan 2005 5:23AM
I'm after taking some pictures where the background is black, and was just wondering what I should use as a black background?

Will black velvet like the type you find in material shops or even on ebay do?

Many thanks


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csurry 17 9.2k 92
6 Jan 2005 5:34AM
Not sure what type you find on ebay, but black velvet from a material shop will do just fine.
raziel_uk 15 4.9k
6 Jan 2005 5:36AM
Black velvet is going to be extremely expensive, Gav. Any black material should do just as well.

If you look at my Zoe pics she was stood in front of some cream material. This was 3 metres long by about 2 metres wide and only cost me 10 from my local material shop.

However, I've since dyed the material grey as Zoe's skin is quite pale and I didn't think she stood out enough against the background. (Now just waiting for Zoe to be available for the next session.)

So you could easily get some white/cream material and use the Dylon dyes which work really well in a normal (front loading) washing machine.

kit-monster 16 3.7k 2 Singapore
6 Jan 2005 5:40AM
You can try the cheap and cheerful route . . . I did for a while. Now I use black velvet and wished I had first time. Never have any issues with reflected light at whatever angle. Works a real treat. I've only got a small set up for photographing toys, so didn't cost me too much.
sabretalon 15 1.9k United Kingdom
6 Jan 2005 6:11AM
Black velvet soaks up the light very well, if you drink enough then I'm sure the session will go well! LOL

Have a look around any old theatres that are going through a revamp, they usually have lots of black cloth they used as curtains etc.. Although they probably would keep some they may get rid of others?

It would also depend on how much you want. I would recommend the black velvet but much like kit-monster, I only use it on small setups. I use a black cloth for portraits etc..
mshepherd 15 667 United Kingdom
6 Jan 2005 6:16AM
My local fabric shop didnt have any velvet but they suggested a black slightly fluffy cotton (a bit like moleskin) gives an "almost" velvet look. I havent had to wash it mine yet but overtime it might lose a bit of colour in the wash (didnt cost much though)
kit-monster 16 3.7k 2 Singapore
6 Jan 2005 6:17AM
I also find velvet doesn't pick up as much fluff as other materials.
6 Jan 2005 6:18AM
" if you drink enough then I'm sure the session will go well!"

I have the feeling I'll be drinking a lot more than my model :o)

I have a good feeling for the amount of material I'll be after its not going to be too much, the question is whats all these different types of velvet about.

Crushed and stretch types? I assume I'll just be after crushed?

Ash, thanks for the tips, may well do that for some other coloured back drops.
digicammad 16 22.0k 39 United Kingdom
6 Jan 2005 6:18AM
There is a material which is similar to velvet but not quite as heavy. I got a load (or rather my wife did for me) from our local material shop. They told her they have sold a load to photographers and I can see why, it is excellent. The nap stops it from reflecting the light and it doesn't appear to crease either.

FrankThomas 17 2.8k United Kingdom
6 Jan 2005 6:22AM
velveteen I think you mean - I've got some and it seems to work pretty well
digicammad 16 22.0k 39 United Kingdom
6 Jan 2005 6:24AM
Could be it Frank.
c_evans99 16 7.0k 1 Wales
6 Jan 2005 6:33AM
I think there are two types of velvet - no expert on fabric, though there is a great deal of sari fabric kicking around here for my next series of pics - cotton and viscose... the latter is a bit shinier... I use the former, only 7 a metre Smile

Just Jas 18 26.3k 1 England
6 Jan 2005 7:10AM
Two kinds of velvet?

'National Velvet' being one of them? Smile Your 'own Liz' Ceri!
keith selmes 16 7.4k 1 United Kingdom
6 Jan 2005 8:29AM
I think crushed velvet, the sort usually advertised on ebay, is rather shiny, and not the right sort. Intended for clothing with a kind of sheen or shimmer to it, and probably reflects light in a way that we don't want.

ah, a (mostly) velvet page
KatieR 16 6.2k 6
6 Jan 2005 8:40AM
I think that's true. I suspect you are better to stick with a natural material such as cotton (true velvet is cotton, I think?) because there is less reflection, and that is why black velvet has been the choice over the years. These days, though, digital manipulation probably means you can counteract any minor aberrations that would occur, anyway, by altering the finished image.

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