Try Different Background Colors For Your Family Treasures

Several lightbox tutorial websites show different objects with varying colored backgrounds in the same setup. Companies that sell light boxes often mention that three colored backgrounds are included. I thought I might be missing out on some knowledge opportunity. I decided I would grab two different colored poster board, cut them to size and see what the results would be.

Alpha Gamma Delta Paddle
f/5, exp 1/250, exp bias + .3, ISO 200, Center Weight Average Metering

My first thought was to take photos outside with a red backdrop. I thought this sorority paddle compliments well with the background as one of the sorority’s colors was red. However, the image is really cloudy.

Sorority Paddle
f/5, exp 1/160, ISO 200, Center Weight Average Metering

I changed a few settings and noticed how it affected the look of the wood. I think I like the look of the wood in the first red picture better. Yet the photos still are amateurish. The problem turns out that my lens was cloudy because I was working outside. Glad I can make these mistakes so you won’t. Nevertheless, I do like the red.

Sorority Paddle
f/5, exp 1 sec, ISO 100, Pattern Metering

I decided the cloudy pictures were not working for me, so I moved back into the house. I did set the lightbox beside a window to let it serve as a filter for the light. I think this worked better. This time I made sure the lens was not cloudy and I changed the background to a black poster board.

Sorority Paddle
f/3.2, exp 1/2 sec, ISO 100, Center Weight Average

Try as I might, I couldn’t get the black poster board to be black without making the paddle be very dark. However,  I do like these on the black poster board.

Sorority Paddle
f/3.5, exp 1/10, ISO 100, Center Weight Average Metering

For comparison purposes, I put the paddle in front of a white background. With these settings, I do not like this option at all. I would definitely pick the red or black. So I played with a few more camera settings. By switching from Center Weight Average metering to Spot Focus metering, the whole effect changed.

Sorority Paddle
f/6.3, exp 1 sec, ISO 100, Spot Metering 

Although the red and black backgrounds have great possibilities, I like this paddle on the white background. I feel like the focus is on the paddle and the fact that I’ve lost the letter V in my name since I received it so many years ago. However, I’m not giving up on using different colored backgrounds or using outdoor light with my lightbox. There’s just so much more to learn than the tutorials lead one to believe.

Devon Noel Lee

Devon Noel Lee

Devon Noel Lee is passionate about capturing and preserving family stories so no one alive today has to be researched, or forgotten, tomorrow. She has authored 6 how-to books, a memoir, two published family history biographies, and over 60 family scrapbooks. She's an enthusiastic speaker who energizes, encourages, and educates at the same time.

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