Photographic background plates. They’ll make your photography post-process life so much easier.
Ensure You Get the Shot
When I’m shooting a photograph, I shoot my subject matter and initial image. Then just to cover myself, I’ll take my subject out and shoot a plate of the background.
For example, when I was out shooting my brother’s real estate headshots here in Los Angeles, I got some great images of him at sunset. But I wanted to make sure I got the right exposure on the buildings in the background. They looked good, so I shot some plates, some images. I took him out of the frame and shot one plate in focus, one plate out of focus, and one really out of focus.
I’ve now given myself three options for the background of an image. I can take him from any of the images we’ve shot and I can put him on that background. So, sometimes as I’m shooting I’ll see that the background looks fabulous; the sun is great, whatever. I’ll have my subject step out for a second, I’ll shoot a quick image or three, and I can then use those in post.
This will help cover yourself if you make a mistake – if your person isn’t looking quite right, if there’s light that goes too quickly, if you’re feeling like, “Oh, wow, I just missed that shot.” Get some plates at the beginning or end of your session, get some great shots of your person. Then you can go back and find yourself a great image when you put those two together.
Cleaning Up the Background
If you get something in your frame that’s giving you trouble, for instance, an object that’s right next to or protruding from in back of your subject- have him step out, shoot a plate. Now you have a great image to start from in post. You can clean all that up, and put the person back on it. It’s a lot easier than trying to work around your subject to edit that out.
Use Plates for Compositing
It’s also a great idea to get background plates that you can then use for future projects. Create a folder for your plates according to location. Now you have backgrounds you can use for other composite images. This gives you pieces and parts you can use for other images. Get your subject matter out, get a great plate and that becomes another image that has great value to you in the future with this and other images.
So get out there and shoot some background plates on your next project. It can save you time and a headache, plus give you some extra options for post processing.
Keep those cameras rollin’ and keep on clickin’!