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white tarp for photography

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by superbovine, Jan 20, 2006.

  1. macrumors 68030


    I looking for a white tarp for background for my ebay products. I have googled around some for them. Is there a speciality tarp for photography or any alternatives that I can pickup someone else. I also looking for any reading material (book or web) on using tarps with lighting.
  2. macrumors G3

    Chip NoVaMac

    If you are looking for a simple white tarp, you can look at local fabric shops. The problem there is they don't often carry 8 to 10 foot wide widths, but if 4 to 6 foot widths are OK, then you might be able to save some money.
  3. macrumors 68020


    You'll also want to be sure it's opaque fabric, otherwise the light will pass partially through and make the surface uneven, not flat-white like in studios.
  4. macrumors regular

    white bedsheet folded a couple times???
  5. macrumors 68030


    thanks for the advice, is there a particular name for the 'white tarp' that actually made for photography and a particular brand I am looking for. I probably won't buy, I just want to goto the store and get an rough idea about the material.
  6. macrumors 68030


    If the things are reasonably small why not a piece of tack board from target or officedepot for like 80 cents. Thats what I use.
  7. macrumors G4

    The thing you want is simply called a "background canvas" and they come in all colors and patterns. They also sell "background paper" that comes on very wide rolls

    Are you doing table top sized shots? Many times these are done on translucent plastic with a strobe mounted under and a pair (a key and fill) of strobes mounted over. You'd also want some kind of modifier on the lights, something to soften them A "softbox" or umbrella. That's the basic setup for a shot used in a catalog but for eBay you don't want anything so professional looking. Poor photography make it look like you aren't a professional eBayer.

    For larger objets you get a big canvas or roll of paper and hang it from a rod that spans two stands and let it on onto the floor. The model stands a few feet in front of the background. You would use two strobes to light the background a few (two or more) stops brighter than the subject. Beleive me it takes a lot of light to make even white papr look white because of the size of the background. The subject is lit with a normal two or three light setup.

    All that said, for eBay wait for an overcase day, take product outside, put it on a white beach towel and shoot it. Use Photoshop to select the towel and then adjust the brightness "way up".

    One more thing: Trying to make a "high key" image That's where the background is "white out" will be REALLY hard if you only have one strobe because that one stobe will be closer to the subject than the background, even a white paper background will look dark. For eBay you can just fake it in PS

    Check out this URL http://tinyurl.com/8wdyt B&H is where many professional get thier stuff.
  8. Guest


    B and H Photo and Video sells these.

    Google - "The Lighting Cookbook" for your other request.
  9. macrumors 68030


    I am not trying to do a high key images, I'd just need a little more professional looking background because the current desktop is awful looking. Space to take good photos is a problem for me and there really isn't a good place to take photos at my place, so a little white cover over the background is needed. I also have problems with my products reflecting off to get a nice glare. To get around this, I usually take the picture and an angle for sometimes odd looking photo. Anyway, that is why I wanted to know about lighting as well.

    The photoshop and beach towel or some white fabric idea sounds like a plan.

    I'll take a look at it...

  10. macrumors G3

    Chip NoVaMac

    Canvas and muslin are fabrics that are used for backgrounds photographically. Westcott (http://www.fjwestcott.com/) is one of the companies we deal with.

    BTW, what sort of things are you trying to photograph, and for what purpose?
  11. macrumors 68030


    usually used consumer electronics to put on eBay. I sometimes try to get quite close photos of slightly damage items, but still photos usually have a slight glare problem. For example, if a used cell phone has scratches. If i have anything new, i usually use the stock art provided to me by the distributer. I am working on my photoshop skills as we speak, so hopefully my products will start looking better on eBay.
  12. macrumors G3

    Chip NoVaMac

    There are a number of products that have been introduced in the last year or so that can help in this task - much more than just a background. It time permits at work tomorrow, I'll try and get the names of a few for you. Generically light tents is a major category, though there are many more specific offerings that may be easier to use.
  13. macrumors 68030



    thanks, that sounds interesting...
  14. macrumors 68030


    the light tent keyword in google worked wonders....i found a poor man's version that i will think i will rig up.


  15. macrumors Demi-Goddess

    Clix Pix

    Last week at MacWorld I saw a really neat little setup done by Lowel Light, which seemed reasonably priced. It provided a plastic curved backdrop and lights, nicely illuminating small objects for collectors to photograph their collections or for someone to photograph something for display on eBay. It looked ideal for tabletop photography. I think it was called the Lowel Ego or something like that. It might be worth checking out.

  16. macrumors G3

    Chip NoVaMac

    Right you are, This was one of the units I was talking about:

  17. macrumors Demi-Goddess

    Clix Pix

    Hey, Chip, I hope that Lowel Ego thingy is available locally (hint, hint!)....it looks like something that I'd like some time in the future. Right now I'm giving my budget a chance to recover from this month's trip, but one day I think I could definitely get a lot of use out of that or similar products...

  18. macrumors G3

    Chip NoVaMac


    The powers that be have decided on it already. Will keep you posted....
  19. macrumors G4

    This setup is very common. In fact it is THE standard method for doing some types of work. It's been in use by comercial photographers for many years likely for as long as they've been putting photos in catalogs. You can buy a ready made setup but they are not hard to make either. The best kind of plastic to use is a knd that will roll up. This makes strage easy. If you are shooting _very_ small sobject, like a single small coin the plastic from a galon milk jug works. and the same plastic makes a good flash defuser too.

    The trick is in balancing the lights. There are lts of books on the subject
  20. macrumors G4

    The trick to remove glare is to use a "soft" light. "Soft" describts the effect not the physical light.

    If the light came frm a small hole (or that very small flash built into many small cameras) it would be a very "hard" or "harsh" light making sharp (hard) shadows. However if the light came through a window thathad thin transparent curtains it would be "soft" and any shados would have shoft feathered edges.

    Technically what matters is "the angular size of the light as seen by the subject" The best soft light is an overcast sky. If look very large when you look up at it and there are almost no shadows and no glare.

    The simplest way to improvise a softer light is to aim the strobe at the ceiling of a wall or some other white surface and light the subject with "bounced" light. You can also but a large white fabric or plastic screen between the light and the subject. It works the same wayas when clouds come between the sun and the subject

    They sell things called a "softbox" it's just some fabric stretched over a wire frame. You put a strobe inside. One of these will fix the glare problem. A second light will allow you to control contrast so you can you can see detai in both the ligh and dark areas
  21. macrumors G3

    Chip NoVaMac

    Damn, why the name change? Don't do that too me!!! :D

    We got a few in. Not sure what we have left at this point. Once we figure where to put it, we will have a sample on display.

    In reading the referenced website, I am not sure just what exposures would be needed.
  22. macrumors G3

    Chip NoVaMac

    From what you describe the Lowell Ego will give the broad light source to make it even better for product photography.
  23. macrumors newbie

    Beach Towels

    I photograph a Beach Towels and I've found that white tarps are difficult because they get dirty so easily. If you take pictures using a dark colorued tarp, then you can just make the color transparant in Photoshop or whatever imaging program you use. I've taken pictures of beach towels on a black tarp and a green tarp and it works better because it doesn't detract from the white colors on the towel. I've found it best to have a couple of different colored tarps, but not white. If you are just taking eBay pictures, have you tries a white sheet that's taped down to a solid surface to prevent the light getting through?
  24. macrumors newbie


    Tactical Airborne Reconnaissance Pod System is a full form of TARPS that will be helpful to you.

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