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Back From Fiji

I am back from Fiji and it was a great trip.  We stayed at the Navini Island Resort, the perfect getaway location.  The island is only about 5 acre and only has 10 bures, usually under 20 guest.  Great sandy beaches just outside the bures with a very friendly staff.  Nice reef around the island for some good snorkeling, just watch out for low tide.

We also took a side trip to Garden of the Sleeping Giant on Nadi, Fiji

Feel free to contact me with questions about the trip and island.

David@mystorybookstudio.com

Adding layers to Green Screen Photography

Green screen photography can look a little flat. The areas around the feet just never seem to look just right to me. The good news is that there is a easy fix to this problem. I love to add layers or overlays to my photos. I use PhotoKey 8 Pro but know this can also be done in Green Screen Wizard, sorry have not tested other software yet. If your green screen does not support layers this can also be done in post production with programs like Photoshop, Photoshop Elements, or Gimp.

What are layers

Layers are just what they sound like, objects that can be placed in front of or behind the main subject. With green screen photography you will always have at least two layers, the main subject and a background. With some green screen programs you may also add elements in front of and behind the main subject. This is a great way to really tie you main subject into the background. I will use one of my backgrounds to show you how this works.

First Select a Background

I always start with a background then shoot my main subject to match the lighting and angle.

Then photograph the main subject

Use you green screen software to remove the green background.  Resize and reposition the main subject in the middle of the smoke background.  I love smoke because your keying does not need to be perfect.

Adding Layers, layer 1

If your green screen software does not allow you to do layers simply save the file and reopen it in a photo editing program that allows layers, Photoshop, Elements, Gimp, etc,,,

You can not see it very well in this example but you overlay should be transparent in areas to still show the main subject.  With this overlay I resize and reposition it so I get a clear view of the face and hide the feet.  You can see the smoke does not line up at the top, not a problem we will be covering that up soon.

Layer 2

I adding a second layer to add to the effect of my firefighter.  I could have done this with one layer but I wanted the smoke to be cleared around the face.  The white area in the photo below will be transparent.

Finished product

What I love about PhotoKey 8 Pro is that once you create a project in it all you have to do is shoot the next subject.  All the layers will remain in place.  The subject will be resized and placed in the some spot.  Only minor repositioning will need to be done.  I could shoot several people with this background and each one would take less than a minute to edit.

I would love to see the results of how this has worked for and please take a look at my background store

Please post your thoughts and ideas

David

 

Etsy Product Photography Done with Green Screen($5 setup)

I love Etsy, there are some great shops with  great owners.  Most of the guides I have read say that product photography is one of the keys to selling your goods.  I have seen many product “studio” setups posted have not seen anything like my $5 green screen studio so thought I would share it.

Yep that is it, not much to it.  Most of the work will be done in your phone.  No computer or camera needed.

Supplies

  • Green construction paper
  • White paper or reflector
  • Iphone or Ipad
  • Green screen app (Green Screen Wizard)
  • Room with soft light

Here is my is my lighting





I know most of you have been told you need a professional camera, lighting and Photoshop, but why.    Today’s  phone cameras are great little cameras.  They do a great job of focus and getting good color.  Professional cameras have larger sensors that give you that wonderful blurry background.  In product photography you want everything in focus.  With a professional camera you will need to select a smaller F-stop to keep everything in focus.  When you do this more light will be needed to get the correct exposure.  Once you add more light extra care must be taken to prevent shadows.  Yes, this can be corrected in post-processing but why.

I use a $5 green screen phone app to get this same effect.  Photo’s are taken with my phone.  The app can remove the background and now I can add any background I want.  From my phone I can upload the photos directly to Etsy with no need resizing them.  This has been a great time saver for me and I have been happy with the results.

Tips for getting the best results

  • Avoid shadows– With soft natural light often you will have very little shadow.  The software will have a harder time creating a clean background if shadows are present.  I used a white paper to reflect light back to get rid of the small shadow I had.  For better results I would have used a reflector but wanted to use things everyone has around the house.
  • Position any shadows you have–  Even with careful light you may still have a shadow.  try to hide this shadow behind the product if you can.
  • Make small adjustments in software–  When using the green screen app make small adjustments at a time.  The default setting is pretty good but you may have to increase the green removal.  Do not go crazy and turn it all the way down, details will be lost in your product.
  • A simple background–  With this method your product can be placed against any background.  Keep in mind you do not want to misrepresent the size of your product.  It would be easy to make a ring look the size of a house in backgrounds are chosen poorly.  I like a simple solid color.

All photos taken with a Iphone and Green Screen Wizard app.  Other green screen apps are available but I have not tested them yet.

Would love to see and hear about your results with this setup, please post below.

Make it a DIY Green Screen Party, Best Party Ever

After breaking the bank on the last party for my 5 year old.  I thought there must be a better way.  I want my kids and there guest to have fun but taking 20 kids to a party location or renting a bouncy house cost too much.

That’s when I started thinking of a easy way to add a green screen photo booth to the next party.  Kids love green screen and you can create any theme.  Add to the fun by having the guest dress up as superheros,  pirates, or princesses.  Best of all  this setup uses things you may already own and cost you as little as $5.

Needed supplies

  • Green Backdrop
  • Iphone or Ipad
  • Green Screen App
  • Background photos
  • Well lit area or lighting
  • Props
  • Printer
The Green Backdrop

There is nothing magic about the green backdrop and it may not even need to be green(some software will let you use any color).   You have a green bed sheet sitting around the house, perfect.  Simply take this sheet and duct tape it to the wall.  The key is to keep it tight to avoid wrinkles.  Amazon also has cheap backdrops with stands if you do not want anything taped to the wall.

Iphone or IPAD

With a Tablet you will not need a computer.  This will be your camera, photo editor, display and can send photos directly to a printer or Facebook.

Green Screen App

There are lots to chose from and I have not tested them all.  The one I use is the Greenscreen Wizard app.  It does a good job of removing the green and is simple to use and cost only $5.  The other app I have heard great things about is Green Screen by Do Ink $2.99.

Background Photos

Any photo will work just get creative.  Dollhouse photos, scenes created with your child’s toys or the garden at ground level, have fun with it.  Or you could download something from the internet.

Free Superhero Shadow background

Here are a few of my favorite sources for digital backgrounds

  • http://fantasybackgroundsstore.com/
  • http://freedigitalbackdrop.com/
  • http://www.mystorybookstudio.com/backgrounds-2/
Well lit area or lighting

If you have a room that gets lots of light you have a studio.  A 10’x10′ area will work but the more room the better.  To avoid have green light reflect off the green background try to have your subject stand 2 to 3 feet away from the backdrop.  Direct light can be a bad think.  If a hard shadow is being cast onto the backdrop this will show up in your final photo.  Try opening the curtains and letting the light into the room, but not direct sunlight.  If your phone can take good pictures in this room then you should be ok, just remember kids move a lot so more light will keep the shutter speed faster.  If you do have a soft shadow try to keep it directly behind the subject.  Still need more light, do not use a flash it will cast a hard shadow.  Try lamps with lampshades.  place two behind your subject to light the background, hiding shadow and one in front to light the subject.

Props

Find something that ties the kids into the background, Sword, wands, lego heard.  Just about anything that adds to the fun.  The dollar store is a great place to look for these sort of things

Printer

I was lucky to already have two wireless printers in my house.  Modern Inkjet printers are great at printing photos and are pretty fast.  I also have a Canon Selphy printer that is more portable and prints 4×6 which was perfect for my needs.

Not into DIY here are some products to get you all setup

Click for a FREE DEMO of Green Screen Wizard Pro v9.0. This is a full version demo available now.

Please leave comments on more green topics you would like to see