Cow Skull neckerchief slide with title White on Non-White backgrounds
Preserving Family History

Backgrounds for Photographing Family Treasures

Last week, I showed a sample of my attempts to photograph objects using different background colors. I have another brief installment to share.

Photographing Boy Scout Slides
f/3.5, exp 1/10 sec, exp bias +1, ISO 80, Center Weight Average Metering

I propped up this neckerchief slide inside a lightbox. To do this, I placed a piece of fiberfill in the box and then covered it with a white cloth. I put the slide in front of the cloth so it could lean against the soft support. This looks really nice. However, I really want the white slide to stand out from the background. White on white rarely has the contrast necessary to pop the object. So, I decided to try the high contrast of a black backdrop.

Photographing Boy Scout Slides
f/3.5, exp 1/4 sec, ISO 80, Pattern Metering

I LOVE it. Sure, I could have created some sort of prop, but to me, I like the contrast of the white object on the black background.

When deciding which background to use, I don’t have a hard and fast rule. I do know that it depends on a) your particular taste and b) how much contrast you want. A colored background can be used to set a mood or tell a story (such as a red background to represent a sorority’s colors).

Play around and experiment. I am so glad I learned about playing around with the camera settings in the lesson from my friend regarding the trophies. I see how it is starting to pay off.

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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