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How to make a good fashion photo (part VI)

Prepare your background

There are several possibilities how to work with backgrounds. We will review some of them in the next tutorials. But since we are about to take the photo right now, we have to think a bit about the background we want to have and prepare it.

  • Do you want to use just plain background?

Do you want to have a plain background? Just white? Or grey? Well that’s easy. Give the wall of your studio the color and that’s it.

But do you really think that’s a good photo? For blog photos a lot of people use white or grey. It simple, it’s fast and you can even give the picture some shading afterwards. But is this really a good photo?

If you followed all the steps before you will have a very good, well lighted and clearly visible display of your avatar and the outfit you are wearing. But this is by no means what I call a good fashion photo. If you want to have this, you use your background to give atmosphere to the picture, to tell a story or to just make it look as realistic as possible.

Ok, I admit, sometimes this is it. A good shading can often be more than a complex background. If the dress itself is complex, if you don’t want to disturb the eye, just let it focus on the important parts. Then do it.

  • How to cut out the avatar from the background?

But normally we need a good background, either a landscape from sl, a real rl landscape or any painting that might fit. So we need to bring the avatar and the background together in one picture.

The normal way to do this is to pose the avatar in front of a blue or green screen. Take the photo, load it into a photo editing tool and start cutting it out in one of the many different ways.

Actually I don’t like the blue screen background. A blue background might give a good contrast, but if you cut out hair or any semi-transparencies you always see some blue pixels around unless you’re a profi in cutting out and really invest a lot of time Of course you can change the blue color to some sort of gray or other color but if you have blond or red hair, it will not work out as good as it should be.

I rather choose a mid range gray background that provides enough contrast to help cutting out the avater, but mixes a bit into hair without being seen too much.

If I already have my background in mind I can also use the main color of my background for the wall of my studio, light blue e.g. if it will be mostly sky, green if it will be mostly grass or forest.

The most difficult parts for cutting out are always hair, laces and semi transparences.

Semi transparences you can’t cut out, since the color of the background always shines through as you see in the right picture.

  • What about a photo in front of the final background?

Therefore, I admit, I often finish my background beforehand and upload it to sl. Then I put it on the wall of my studio, hop on a pose stand in front of it and stretch and move the texture until the avatar seems to be standing in the middle of the picture.

It seems that an easier way might be to find the right landscape in sl, put your pose stand on the ground there, if rezzing is allowed, and take the picture just there. But you’ll face two problems by doing so: You cannot change much about the light settings. If you want to have your avatar well lighted, you can’t select a colorful, dusty or dark background. And you can’t do anything to your background with some photo editing enhancements without influencing the avatar as well.

However, if I want to do a lot of photo editing on the avatar itself there is no way around taking the photo in front of a grey, white, blue or green screen and do some cutting out afterwards. Let’s see in a later tutorial what the best ways to do this are.

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