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Photo taken on light background > dark background

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Old 08-26-2011, 06:41 AM
misterlondon misterlondon is offline
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Photo taken on light background > dark background


I'm working on a project which involves placing a variety of photos of people (men + women) onto a black background.

The photos I have to use are all reasonable quality from stock libraries, and vary from studio shots taken on dark/black backgrounds, to outside shots with a lot of light.

As I'm cutting out/masking each of the photos, it's become very obvious that the photos were taken in different environments despite the removal of the backgrounds.

Obviously I can adjust colour, levels, curves etc to match them all as closely as possible, but this doesn't alter the fact it's still easy to spot which were taken on a black background to start with (in a studio) and which were not.

Does anyone have some tips on ways to treat the outside/light background photos and make them 'fit' more onto a black background?

I guess the problem is relating to the different light sourcing, so am I looking at burning edges, adding an extra light source over the outside/light photos?

Any help greatly appreciated!

ps. sadly cannot just choose the correct photos in the first place, which was what i'd like to do but is unfortunately impossible!
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Old 08-26-2011, 07:54 AM
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John Wheeler John Wheeler is offline
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Posts: 559
Re: Photo taken on light background > dark backgro

Maybe there is a forum member than has some good advice/tips for you. Off hand, this issue seems very problematic.

Making the images match from a lighting perspective certainly seems like one of the correct technical approaches. Trying to make an image with omnidirectional lighting match one with directional lighting may be quit a bit of work. I would suggest that this is not just an issue with the inside shots vs outside shots. If the lighting of the inside shots where taken with different lighting angles, they two will look "off."

Off hand the modifications you are proposing to these images sounds like a pretty good investment of time. I am not sure if this a work for hire or personal project yet one angle that you should consider is resetting expectations - either yours in the amount of work that is likely involved (sound like a lot of work) or with the customer's because a very good natural look make be very difficult to achieve with the chosen images. Just another angle to consider to see if anyone wants to reconsider proceeding with this project as is.
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Old 08-26-2011, 10:09 AM
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Repairman Repairman is offline
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Re: Photo taken on light background > dark backgro

Sounds like the perfect storm; matching the lighting, focus, orientation and grain! Ostensibly you have the tools to fix it but the black background is going to show up any defects (unlike a busy background where you can bounce light around etc). You could try feathering the black into the people in order to unify the whole group - similar to the Beatles LP cover for "With the Beatles". Sometimes adding an overall texture/artistic filter can pull it all together but that of course depends on your client and other criteria.
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Old 08-26-2011, 11:12 AM
misterlondon misterlondon is offline
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Re: Photo taken on light background > dark backgro

Yeah, seems like there's no simple solution on this one! Ah well, looks like a fair bit of work ahead for me then. Thanks for the responses guys
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