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Bringing out the Best in a Vinyl Background

When I add a new vinyl background to my Shop, I first take a photo of it and make sure the image I use matches the actual background as closely as possible. Often the image is bright, vivid, and flat since I set up in an area of bright light with the least shadows possible.

When I add it to the Shop, I can only add images cropped in a square, or in a 4×5 ratio which is somewhat limiting. The follow image is the full size and most accurate visual possible:

“Reclaimed” 24″x36″ Super Smooth 15oz

After choosing props and considering colors that will compliment the background, a quick shot for the Shop. Again, bright light, no light manipulation:

“Reclaimed”

Finally, it’s time to have some fun! I leave my setup in place, but close the blinds where most of the light is coming in, leaving one light source. In my case, it’s a north facing patio door, for which I am eternally grateful as it gives a great moody vibe to my shots. As you can see, the light is coming in on the right side of the image, creating awesome shadows, especially on the eggs in the bowl. Quick tip here: setting props in bowls (or boxes, etc.) will give great shadows! After a 4×5 crop and a few Lightroom edits, this is my final image:

When working with this background for my image, I tried to think of props that would compliment the colours and also be a contrast to the warm wood. It took me a few tries and a lot of trial and error, but it was when I noticed the greyish plank on the one side of the background, it was an aha! moment. Grey was what was needed to cool things down .. so .. my grey bowls and a vintage whisk, to the rescue! Now, to the few and simple edits in Lightroom.

Lightroom Edits on “Reclaimed”

  • Lens Corrections
  • Transform (to straighten lines). Usually the Auto Correction works, but if it doesn’t, check my video on Straightening Lines in Lightoom.
  • Cropped to a 4×5 ratio
  • Lightroom Preset: Lift Shadows
  • Lightroom Preset: Medium Vignetting
  • HSL/Color edit: Orange Saturation Shift (30 pts lower)
  • Adding a Radial Gradient to the eggs to bring out the shadows and to lower the exposure and saturation just a bit

Questions or comments? I’d love to hear from you, and thank you for visiting xo

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6 Comments

  1. Barb,
    Thank you for sharing your techniques.
    I appreciate your knowledge and what you are doing with your beautiful new backgrounds.
    Back to playing 📷
    Xxx Ann Davis

    1. Hi Ann,
      Thank you for stopping by .. I’m happy you like my tips (and my backgrounds)! I’m really enjoying using them (and I love Tumbled Travertine as well). It’s next on my agenda xo

  2. Thank you for sharing your expertise and process. I smiled when I read that you use the Lightroom Preset: Lift Shadows because that is my favourite. I am a bit confused. You shared that you use the 4×5 ratio. Is that for your background website? Or is it for what you post on Instagram because I thought IG like squares best so I have been using the 1×1 setting. What are your thoughts?

    1. Hi Thea, thank you for visiting my site, I really appreciate it. So funny about that preset .. it’s subtle and adds a slight haze which I love. I use a 4×5 ratio as it suits my style of photography .. it gives me more room to display my background. I chose the 4×5 when Instagram allowed that ratio. I found that it also suits my site as the images aren’t too long and they fit better on the page. Instagram likes both ratios but in my opinion, the square format suits your collages the best (as they are actually squares). Also, a square crop keeps your Instagram Grid looking perfect! My grid is all over the place and it doesn’t matter 😉

      Hope this helps!

  3. Love your new backgrounds and the larger size is really useful. Thanks for the tips, always learning.

    1. Thank you so much Lyn .. I’m happy you found my tips useful! and thank you for visiting and leaving a comment xo

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