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What Are the Different Types of Digital Photography Backgrounds?

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  • Written By: Dan Cavallari
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 20 August 2014
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The size, shape, color, and function of digital photography backgrounds can differ depending on the photographer's needs. Some backgrounds are plain white or black paper on a roll, while others are fabric backgrounds with texture and color. Some digital photography backgrounds are designed for specific purposes: a green background, for example, is useful if the photographer intends to digitally alter the image once it is loaded onto a computer. A portable background system allows the photographer to set up the background in any location; this type of background is lightweight, collapsible, and easily stored for transport.

Green screen digital photography backgrounds are commonly used by commercial photographers. Such a screen is used to take pictures of objects or models that will later be digitally altered in post-production. The brightness of the green screen allows the photographer to easily manipulate the image, since the edges of the model or object will be very apparent when seen against the bright green. A model can, for example, be cut from the image and placed into another image, often known as "photoshopping." This allows a photographer to essentially shoot a model on location without having to go to that location.

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Other popular digital photography backgrounds are simple white or black backgrounds. Large sheets of white or black paper rolled onto tubes can be used as a backdrop; the tube is mounted on a backdrop support system, and the paper can be pulled down and out toward the photographer. This creates a seamless background, which allows the photographer to accurately control the type of lighting used and how much light strikes the subject as well as the background. Such digital photography backgrounds are usually inexpensive and very versatile.

Sometimes a photographer needs to bring the background with him to a shoot on location. pop-up backgrounds are useful for such applications. These digital photography backgrounds are usually made of a thin fabric that is mounted to a collapsible metal frame. The background can be collapsed and stored for easy transport, then popped up for use as a background. These tend to be much smaller than large paper backgrounds, and in most cases, the photographer will only photograph the subject from the waist up or even from the shoulders up. The portable background will need to be supported by a stand in most cases. Another portable background system can be done much more cheaply: a simple white sheet of paper or foam board can be taped to a wall, creating a small, portable backdrop.

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