Using a window shade for an image background

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Blog entry by Dick, & Barb Cain posted 07-09-2010 11:56 PM 3896 reads 0 times favorited 18 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I’ve always been disappointed with the way my pictures turned out.

I remembered reading somewhere about using a window shade

So I spent 5 bucks the other day for a window shade.

I was sure happy with the results.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ I just draped it over the back of the couch like this.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Here’s some results.

-- -** You are never to old to set another goal or to dream a new dream ****************** Dick, & Barb Cain, Hibbing, MN.

18 comments so far

View stefang's profile


16722 posts in 3839 days

#1 posted 07-09-2010 11:59 PM

Great idea there. I might just give a try myself. Thanks much for this good tip.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View tyskkvinna's profile


1310 posts in 3490 days

#2 posted 07-10-2010 12:15 AM

That is definitely a great backdrop!

If you feel like spending a little bit more money to get a LOT of impact to go with your nice smooth backdrop, invest in two or three small fluorescent lights. (NOT INCANDESCENT.) Play around with positioning them around the backdrop and it should make the area super bright, very white, with even shadows.

-- Lis - Michigan - -

View Dick, & Barb Cain's profile

Dick, & Barb Cain

8693 posts in 4804 days

#3 posted 07-10-2010 12:21 AM

Thanks stefang!

Thank you Lis,
I have one fluorescent desk lamp, & have tried it.

-- -** You are never to old to set another goal or to dream a new dream ****************** Dick, & Barb Cain, Hibbing, MN.

View Woodwrecker's profile


4232 posts in 4080 days

#4 posted 07-10-2010 12:36 AM

Great idea Dick.
If you spend a lot of time making your project look nice.
It’s worth a little extra to post some pictures that show that niceness.
Thanks for the tip.

View jockmike2's profile


10635 posts in 4751 days

#5 posted 07-10-2010 12:39 AM

Wow! what a difference that makes Dick. I gotta get me one. My pictures suck really bad. Maybe this would help. Thanks for the idea. You still got it!!!!

-- (You just have to please the man in the Mirror) Mike from Michigan -

View Mark Shymanski's profile

Mark Shymanski

5623 posts in 4217 days

#6 posted 07-10-2010 12:44 AM

You may want to be careful with fluorescent lights as they may add a green cast to your colour tones. Daylight balanced lights (incandescent or fluorescent if you can find them) are the way to go to get the most natural looking images.

I am curious Lis why you recommend against incandescents?

You can often find, at camera shops, used flash units and they also sell ‘slave units’ which pick up on the flash from your main camera and ‘slave’ the additional units to yours flashing simultaneously as the main one. This allows you to fill in or back light a subject without running a bunch of cables. Careful though because I found photography as addictive as woodworking… Hello I’m Mark and I’m a photographer… :-)

-- "Checking for square? What madness is this! The cabinet is square because I will it to be so!" Jeremy Greiner LJ Topic#20953 2011 Feb 2

View Karson's profile


35201 posts in 4905 days

#7 posted 07-10-2010 12:46 AM

Nice idea Dick.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Appomattox Virginia [email protected]

View Grumpy's profile


25623 posts in 4356 days

#8 posted 07-10-2010 01:53 AM

Great technique Dick.

-- Grumpy - "Always look on the bright side of life"- Monty Python

View Todd A. Clippinger's profile

Todd A. Clippinger

8901 posts in 4604 days

#9 posted 07-10-2010 06:49 AM

Works perfectly!

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana,

View Joe Lyddon's profile

Joe Lyddon

10731 posts in 4557 days

#10 posted 07-10-2010 07:01 AM

A very good use of a good ole obsolete thing… !


OK, now… don’t say it… :)

-- Have Fun! Joe Lyddon - Alta Loma, CA USA - Home: ... My Small Gallery:

View daltxguy's profile


1373 posts in 4419 days

#11 posted 07-10-2010 07:37 AM

..or you could Photoshop (Gimp) out the entire background but the white background when photographing it definitely helps to even out the lighting in the first place.

-- If you can't joint it, bead it!

View Loucarb's profile


2388 posts in 3950 days

#12 posted 07-10-2010 10:56 AM

That’s what I’ve been using too Dick. I’ve tried a photo tent and went back to the shade. Easy & cheap.

View Don Butler's profile

Don Butler

1092 posts in 3900 days

#13 posted 07-10-2010 02:48 PM

I don’t care for fluorescent lighting because of the color, but if a flash is used along with it, it seems to be alright. I definitely wouldn’t use fluorescent lamps as the main light source because of the trouble with color balance.
I mostly use a sheet of white paper on the floor for small items, and if a low angle is desirable I fasten it up on a box in the back. a tent helps control lighting with small items, difusion where needed, controlled highlighting to show surface texture or shine.
Big items, furniture and such, I leave in the shop and then mask out the background, Paint Shop Pro, Corel PhotoPaint, Gimp, etc. Gimp, by the way is free.
If possible, I also like to use indirect daylight with a flash on camera to provide a little “pop”.
The old portraiture three lamp method is always good technique, one main light, at or near the camera, one fill light, lower value, off to one side,sometimes diffused, and one back light to provide definition to the profile.
Browse the Internet for tutorials and blogs on studio lighting. You’ll find a wealth of information, some of which may be useful to you in your situation.


-- No trees were damaged in posting this message, but thousands of electrons were seriously inconvenienced.

View brunob's profile


2277 posts in 4674 days

#14 posted 07-10-2010 03:39 PM

If you plan on taking a lot of photos, BH has portable backdrops with two lights for less the $80. You can choose the color.

-- Bruce from Central New, if you'll pardon me, I have some sawdust to make.

View Dick, & Barb Cain's profile

Dick, & Barb Cain

8693 posts in 4804 days

#15 posted 07-10-2010 11:04 PM

I kind of like the soothing cloud effect it gives, rather than a plain solid color.

-- -** You are never to old to set another goal or to dream a new dream ****************** Dick, & Barb Cain, Hibbing, MN.

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