Need a photo background


Besides my better judgment, I’ve agreed to do a show in two weeks. My
husband has strongly suggested I finally get around to building a web
site so I can promote it at the show … I’m going to assign this
task to him. (grin)

Can anyone e-mail me a gray-scale gradient in photoshop that I can
print out and use for my background for photography? Normally, I’d
take the time to figure this out, but I’m on a short timeline and am
begging for your help. I promise I’ll give a show review and share my
web site with you all. Blessings,

Tracy’s Treasures


One suggestion: whatever you do, don’t use a grey background, not
even as a gradient. Use a background with some dark color in it,
either dark blue, dark green, or something. Ideally, something that
compliments the colors of the pieces, but if not, go with a dark
blue to darker blue gradient.

The reason being that grey is one of the few colors guaranteed to
highlight any miscalibrations or other color issues you might have
with your image.

Getting any device, from simple RGB monitor to multi-thousand dollar
printing press to accurately render a true neutral grey can be, and
frequently is, the sort of fun I bill out at $200/hr to solve.
There’s almost always some color cast in the image, and having what
’should’ be a neutral grey that clearly isn’t just highlights it. So
rather than fight your greys into true grey-ness, it’s easier to
make it really clear you weren’t trying for a neutral grey
background, thus the use of some sort of color. I suggest dark
blues, and greens because they’re on the cool side of the color
wheel, and tend to recede visually, thus highlighting your piece.

As far as gradients go, if you have Photoshop (Or almost any other
photo-editing software I can think of) you can make your own very
simply. They all have gradient building tools.

If you can’t spring for the 800# Gorilla that is Photoshop, check
out Graphic Converter. I think there’s a PC version of it. The last
Mac version I looked at was very impressive, and I believe it’s
still shareware at some reasonable price.

Brian Meek.

Hi Brian and all -

One suggestion: whatever you do, don't use a grey background, not
even as a gradient. 

I almost always use grey for a background because I seem to get
truer colors that way. sometimes the backgrounds turn out more of a
tan however, and I don’t know why that is. I use mostly natural light
and of course some days are sunny, some not. I’d really like others
opinions on this and if anyone thinks my pictures look off color or
anything I’d really appreciate knowing about it.

Thanks all.

Here is a couple links to shots of a corroded antique pin, that were
done with halogen lights on the black background shot, and with the
spiraled flourescent bulbs on the one with a white background. The
shot with white background and spiral bulbs is a very accurate color
representation of the piece. Be patient while loading these files, as
they were made big on purpose for use in an online photo gallery
where pics are critiqued, and low res files get beat up pretty bad by
some pros. Shots sent to that site can be upto 350k, and if I
remember correctly, both of these shots were well in excess of 200k.

Ed in Kokomo

This week i started using some new lights for digital photography of
jewelry, and it made a huge difference in my results. I found some
spiraled flourescent bulbs that are rated at 5750k and they have
become the greatest thing since sliced bread. My backgrounds are no
longer yellowish, and the item colors are excellent. I have them in
simple clip-on reflectors that were just 5 bucks each. I use three
bulbs and get great results on black, white, and color backgrounds
too. Most of those spiraled bulbs are 2700k and 3300k, but I found
the one kind that are 5750k at 13 watts, and also 6000k at 23watts. I
read about them in a macro photog tutorial, but I found them locally.

Ed In Kokomo


That’s what I meant about not using a grey background: they usually
don’t come out grey. (As witnessed by yours turning tan.) That means
your entire image is shifted slightly towards the yellowish area of a
color wheel, and the stone colors won’t be perfectly correct. Whether
this matters to you is your call. I mentioned it by way of warning.
Jewelers are perhaps not the most casual bunch of non-detail oriented
people out there…

Keep in mind that about half of what I do is digital imaging and
prepress work where people are using spectrophotometers to determine
whether or not the colors match what they should be. The
’uptightness’ factor is pretty high.


Hi all,

May I put in my suggestion re photo backgrounds, I take all of my
own photos, and they are professional standards as you can see on
most of my orchid gallery. I use a card called platinum grey,
produced by a company called Colorama, here in the UK,the card is
laid on a table so that the rear edge of the card bends up a wall,
where it is secured by tape, I use a studio flash with a diffuser
above and behind the camera, which is on a tripod, to get the
graduated light effect I just hold another piece of card above the
item that is being photographed, between the flash head and the card
background, out of view of the camera, so that it throws a shadow
behind the object being photographed. I use white cards to reflect
light onto the object. Most of my photos are taken with a Mamiya RB67
film camera, and some are taken with a Nikon D70 SLR complete with a
macro lens.

You can see the how this method works on most of my posted photos:

I hope this is of use to someone,

Peace and good will to all.

James Miller, an English ageing goldsmith, whos hands are aching a lot today.

You can buy solid color paper backgrounds and gradient gray
backgrounds at larger photo stores such at:


You can buy a very small gradient gray background at

It is only $9.99, but the gradient goes the wrong way for me. It’s a
landscape, not a portrait. But, on the up side, it’s only $9.99.

Usual disclaimer, just a happy customer.

Elaine Luther
Metalsmith, Certified PMC Instructor
Hard to Find Tools for Metal Clay

Just a thought here…

Why couldn’t you make your own using water colors. It’s pretty easy
to use and you could use whatever paper you want. If you work fast
you could make your stripes (off premixed) and then blend them.

Lisa Fowler
Fort Collins, CO