I’ve finally had some time to dabble with green screen again for still images. More will be coming soon about my video hijinks with green screen… this post is all about the still image. Many thanks to Backdrop Express for furnishing some of my green screen equipment.

For these images I used their tech green seamless roll paper.

One of the first things that I learned is that the green screens can be a bit reflective – and any spill (reflected light) on the subject can definitely take on a green characteristic. This can all be edited out of the image, but my objective has been to get crisp background separation while shooting in the studio, instead of relying on extensive processing.

If you are familiar with Photoshop or Photoshop elements, you may be familiar with the “magic wand” tool. This is the quickest and best way to get most of the green background out of your shot. From there, you may need to do some cloning and detailed editing to remove any remaining green in complex areas (like hair) or from any spill, which can show up on the side of the face, arms, or legs.

Once you have tackled the mechanics, the next step is matching the background to the characteristics of the lighting in your green-screen photograph. With different angles or quality of lighting between the background image and the subject (shot against green screen), your image can suffer from a “cardboard cutout” effect. Also, you must be mindful of how your subject would cast a shadow on the background in real life. In fact, you may have to create a ground shadow out of nothing. Also, sense of scale and depth of field need to “gel” between the subject and the background.

Here are three samples that I have recently worked with – and the “before” and “after” for each. These are not perfect in many respects, but they are the images that I “cut my teeth” on a little while sharpening up my background removal skills and matching the right subject to the best background.

Let me know if I’m “on my way” with these techniques, or if I have to go “back to the drawing board.” Either way, I can handle the feedback!!!

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