Chroma Key: How to Shoot Green Screen Photography
As an amateur photographer deciding to use chroma key as you preferred background system, or even an experienced photographer who wants to add the use of the chroma key technology to further your abilities, one of the first questions you should ask yourself is simply: How do I use Chroma Key?
This technology can be rather complex if you want to break down the specifics of how your processor decides what is relevant and what isn’t when removing the background, but as a photographer, it’s complexities have become little more than proper shooting and editing techniques. Each of these techniques can be refined to a state of virtual perfection to allow the absolute best and highest quality results, but as a beginner, simply knowing the basic steps is the most beneficial.
1) Preparing your Model
This step is as crucial as setting up your studio or editing your image. This is because when you place a model in front a blank screen, of an unflattering color at that, and ask them to act like it’s whatever color or canvas they or you want, you are asking them to act in a capacity that many people find unnerving. Before you start shooting you should sit down with your model and explain exactly what you plan to do and what you need them to do. This will help you both stay on the same page when shooting.
2) Set up your studio
While there are fine tuned techniques to adequately set up your studio, I will cover those more in depth later on. For now, you only need to simply set up a general studio. Make sure your chroma key background covers as much of an area as possible, otherwise separating the background from the subject will prove to be a challenge. You can light your subject however your like, but the background needs to be evenly lit, by it’s own light ideally. This will allow you to maintain a consistent color. Finally, you will need to position your subject as far away from the background as possible.
3) Using the editing software to remove the background
You will need a software that has chroma key separation processes to separate the background from the subject. Many higher end photo editing and processing softwares come standard with a process or filter that will remove the selected color from the background. Photoshop is one of these programs, although it does not have a specifically named process you would use the “Color Range” under the “Select” menu. I will get more in depth with how to remove the background later on.
4) Insert your new background
At this point you should have removed the background, this is where you can insert a new background into your image. If you used a designated program to remove the background, you will import the final image into your editing software. If you used a program such as Photoshop this will not be necessary, and will make this step easier. Assuming you are using Photoshop, adding your background is as simple as creating a layer under your subject layer and either filling it with a color or an image.
While these are basic steps, they should give you a general idea of what you will need to do to utilize our chroma key. I will cover each step more in depth soon.