Following our trip to shoot the butterflies, Marylin shared with me the fact that she has been learning to do green screen photography. I have heard of this, as many portrait photographers use this technique to “transport” their models to another place but have never before explored the technique. I’m sure you will enjoy Marylin’s explanations and examples of her work. Being the techy in the group, I think we have a lot to learn from her and I so much appreciate her taking the time to share this with all the crazies!
GREEN SCREEN PHOTOGRAPHY?
There are many different programs out in the market for green screen photography and videography. Some of them are more costly than others. Of course, it all depends on your budget and how serious you are about green screen photography.
Now days, many movies and commercials are made using this technique. You can have models/actors in a studio in California and a snowy or rainy Paris scene would be playing in the background. Photographers are also using it more because it reduces the cost a studio rental and/or traveling to places with beautiful landscape backgrounds. There is also a market out there of backgrounds and overlays.
Since I am absolutely crazy, approximately 3 months ago I became interested in experimenting with green screen photography. The truth is that I did not want to spend too much money; but it sounded to me much better than paying for therapy. So, I researched the topic a bit and chose to buy a program called Green Screen Wizard. The program is available for Windows and Apple platforms. I had no idea if I was going to like it or if it was going to be very difficult to learn. I watched all the videos shown on the Green Screen Wizard web page and decided to go ahead and purchase the basic program which is the Green Screen Wizard Full version.
One of the features that I liked about Green Screen Wizard is that you are able to buy the basic version and they will offer you credit if you want to upgrade to the Pro Studio Editor, Air Brush, and/or to the Pro Batch/Event. This last version appears to be used mostly by those who want to have a business using this type of photography technique at events. They also offer a plug-in for Adobe Photoshop.
With Green Screen Wizard you may also choose a package that includes a green screen. However, I had already purchased a different package from a store called Cowboy Studio located in Allen, Texas. The package was on sale and it included 3 large muslin screens (black, white, and green) with a metal stand. It also included 2 umbrellas, 3 tripods, 3 sockets, and the 3 fixed lighting bulbs. A couple of weeks after, I found out that fixed lights were not very good to photograph children. The fixed lights are better to shoot inanimate objects.
Given the fact that my craziness was also driving me to be interested in experimenting with portrait photography, I also bought strobe lights and wireless remote sensors (which attach to my camera, to the strobe lights, and even work with my Nikon 800 Speedlight Flash). The brand name of all the equipment I bought is Cowboy Studio, just like the name of the store. It is not a known brand name. But, I have to admit that their prices are affordable and the merchandise is of pretty good quality. Interesting enough, when I was in Florida, a photographer introduced me to Cowboy Studio. Then, I found out that the store was near to where my family lives in Texas.
You can check their web page and see what they have to offer. www.cowboystudio.com.
I like to go there in person and ask questions. That is how I found out about their inexpensive wireless remotes for studio strobe lighting and that fixed lighting is not good for photographing children because they move too much.
Going back to topic of green screen photography, when I tried the Green Screen Wizard, a day later I went ahead and purchased the Pro Studio Editor version because I wanted to use the editing features.
I have only been using green screen photography for about a couple of months and I really like the technique. One can be pretty creative with it. I did not have enough backgrounds to use with the program (even though it comes with some backgrounds and overlays), I just went online and downloaded free high definition backgrounds and/or wallpapers and began using them with the pictures I took with the green screen. A couple of important tips I can offer is that the green screen should not have any wrinkles and that the lighting is extremely important with this technique. DO NOT have your subject wear anything GREEN. Because of course, whatever they are wearing will become part of the background you are using.
I would like to share some samples of my “best models”: my grandniece and grandnephew. I included one sample of the before and after in order for you to get an idea of what it looks like prior to adding anything to the picture.
Here is a slideshow of some of Marylin’s green screen shots…
Tess was kind enough to take for me a background picture at the Forth Worth Botanical Gardens when some of the CWPC members gathered there to photograph butterflies. I did not have a wide angle lens with me and I asked Tess to take a picture of an area which I knew I already had a green screen shot that I wanted to use with that background.
Green screen photography is a fun technique. I really love it. If you want your creative juices to flow, go for green screen photography! The best thing about it is that it is really easy to do!
Thank you Marylin for taking the time to introduce us to this technique!