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11-16-2018, 11:15 AM   #1
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Studio wall colour.

I'm converting a spare room into a small studio, mainly for product shots. I'll be painting the walls a neutral grey. I came across this site: Lab, RGB, CYMK and HLC Values, from which I can select a manufacturer (ie in the UK Dulux) and pick a colour (ie Night Jewel range), which have a&b values of 0 (ie neutral). Then I have to pick the reflectance value I can stand. Too dark (ie a photographic 18%) value and it will be like living in a cave - my wife will grumble ...

For ref: I believe the reflectance values for 18% are 41 and 12% is 50.

Maybe this will be useful for any future cave dwellers ...


Last edited by BarryE; 11-16-2018 at 02:51 PM.
11-16-2018, 01:24 PM   #2
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What's wrong with good old white? The walls can then be part of the diffuse lighting that you want for (most) product shots.
11-16-2018, 01:37 PM   #3
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Interesting site, I was not aware that such existed.


FWIW if you need conversion figures Bruce Lindbloom calculators are very useful

BTW, I agree with Astro Dave for a studio what is wrong with white. I would and have chosen a neutral grey for editing room and SWMBO agreed (seems grey is fashionable !)
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11-16-2018, 01:53 PM   #4
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Some would paint the walls black, that way the photographer controls the light, via studio lights, without reflected light from the walls.

11-16-2018, 02:27 PM - 1 Like   #5
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Unless the "product" is huge, I imagine you will set up a backdrop, right? The simple answer to the question of wall color is: Whatever color your wife wants; otherwise, white!
11-16-2018, 02:46 PM   #6
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I have white(ish) now. I find that when, say, rim lighting a bottle, I'm fighting the reflections. Therefore, the plan is a matt, grey for the walls and a white ceiling to bounce, if required - maybe. I fear that if I went for a grey ceiling that would be pushing the good will too much. I can always fix an opaque scrim over the work, possibly ...

---------- Post added 11-16-18 at 09:50 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by TonyW Quote
Interesting site, I was not aware that such existed.


FWIW if you need conversion figures Bruce Lindbloom calculators are very useful

BTW, I agree with Astro Dave for a studio what is wrong with white. I would and have chosen a neutral grey for editing room and SWMBO agreed (seems grey is fashionable !)
Thanks Tony, I'll take a look.
11-16-2018, 03:05 PM   #7
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Make the walls as dark a grey as possible, Barry. You don't want reflections.

Colour gels come out richer as a background, too.

11-17-2018, 04:22 AM   #8
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All things considered, grey seems like a good choice. It is fashionable at the moment, which will go down well with the "local government."


I can make the last statement with some authority, our house was painted earlier this year on the outside. The walls are (ahem) 62% grey with gates, window sills etc. in 35% grey.

11-17-2018, 04:26 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Wasp Quote
All things considered, grey seems like a good choice. It is fashionable at the moment, which will go down well with the "local government."


I can make the last statement with some authority, our house was painted earlier this year on the outside. The walls are (ahem) 62% grey with gates, window sills etc. in 35% grey.
I'm starting get put off painting it grey, if it's trendy
11-17-2018, 04:51 AM - 2 Likes   #10
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The local government decided after the paint was bought, opened and a significant part of it used that 18% grey would have been a better choice than 35% grey for the accents. This was petitioned by other stakeholders (mostly me) beforehand but it was voted down at the time. At a subsequent consultative meeting to discuss a color change it was declared to be an unfunded mandate and the 35% grey stayed.
11-17-2018, 02:24 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by BarryE Quote
I'm starting get put off painting it grey, if it's trendy
Black walls for studio
12-04-2018, 01:43 PM   #12
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To update:

Went for an 18% grey, with white ceiling, grey painted floor, blackout curtains and light coloured rug (which can be rolled up). My wife actually rather likes it, which is helpful. Nice to have a black & white man cave too - you can only suffer so many pastel coloured rooms ;-) Photographically, it's working a treat. The walls suck the light and impart no colour. The white ceiling is good to bounce light if required.

I've been busily making up control boxes to allow me to dim various 6500k LED lights, which I now have in many configurations. Yes, continuous light means my exposure times are slow, but strobe lighting would have been too expensive and cumbersome in the confined space. Along with numerous DIY scrims (LEE 216 is excellent) and various supports I've built, I now have what I wanted for little outlay. I needed to buy many different photo clamps, a couple of heavy duty stands to hold a room size scrim (to give me soft, cloudy day type light from a dimmable ceiling bulb) and those very handy flexible Manfrotto arms to pin it all together. Solved my tethering needs too (subject of another thread). It's all a very tight fit and I can't exactly run around when I'm working, but I'm pleased with the way it's worked out.
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