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Using a generic backdrop image in post

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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Using a generic backdrop image in post

So I have an upcoming job which requires controlled studio lighting for consistent results any time of the day throughout the year. The client wants a subtle office look in the background - you know that light and fresh generic look with blurred background and I can't use the office space to shoot the portraits.

I am thinking two ways to approach this.

1) Take the backdrop image on location in daylight to give the client a personal look. Overexpose it in post and blur (or defocus the lens) then use it for each portrait. I guess it would be wise to use the same focal lenght for this shot. So whatever I will use for the headshot, I will use for the backdrop image to make it more realistic.

2) Use/buy a generic one availble online. Any suggestions where to look?

Does anyone do this? How common is it? Today it is fairly easy with the new automatic "select subject" algorithms in Photoshop and I was surprised how good it looks. Sure, it is fake but...still.

Any thoughts?

Apr 07, 2022 at 09:47 AM
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Using a generic backdrop image in post

If the client is specifically requesting or agrees to use of "fake" background then there is certainly no ethical problem doing so. (If that's what your concern is.) Green (or blue) screening the subject is the easiest way to get clear separation from the actual background. I suggest using at least 2 background lights so your green screen is very, very evenly lit. That makes selecting it by color easier. Especially when getting little bits of background peaking through loops of long hair or under an armpit.

If you can shoot your own background image you'll own it. Then you can use it when, how and wherever you want in the future. A stock image works fine. Just be sure to read the fine print as to the usage terms. Googling "blurry modern office stock image" brings back 16 million hits so I don't think you'll have any trouble finding one if you want.

Apr 07, 2022 at 11:03 AM

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