Green Screen – Set Up & Shooting Information

Anything is possible with green screen.



The goal from your green screen shoot is to capture a student wearing a sport uniform or one approved by the instructor. You will extract the person from the background using a Photoshop Action that will automatically select and remove the background.

There are two different colors. There is green and blue for capturing. Why two? Based on what the person wears it may be easier taking photos of a green jersey on a blue background.


Great Tips. But there are only 9, there’s no number 8. Skip the second half of 7 and move on to number 10.

If nothing else, great accent.

Lighting Setup & Camera Settings

There are many ways to set up photo lights for screen capture. Below are two examples using one main light and two rim lights for the side of individuals.



The other way is to use one large 36″ umbrella so that there is no shadows. When using one light it is imperative that all four items for the shoot are in a perfect line: camera, light, backdrop, & individual.



Settings & Tips

Camera settings

  • White Balance: Set to Flash or Manual WB using a gray card
  • ISO: Always use 100 – High ISO values have more noise. Higher noise can cause a speckled transparency mask on the extraction. This is because some of the pixels from the green screen are less green (or not green at all) with higher noise levels.
  • Aperture – Use as narrow of an aperture setting as you can get away with based on your lighting and how the aperture affects the green screen exposure. A narrow aperture (high F number) will help keep the entire subject in focus, including individual hair strands, which will help the extraction be cleaner. However, when using too high of an f value, the entire image can start to get defocused due to diffraction. Basically, diffraction is caused by light bending when it goes through a narrow opening.As a general rule for green screen, you want to use as high of an f value that you can before diffraction starts limiting the focus. For a full frame digital SLR camera, you can typically shoot with f16. For a 1.5x or 1.6x crop sensor digital SLR, you can typically use f11. For point and shoot cameras, you will need to shoot a lower f value, which will vary depending on the camera model itself. The actual f value that you can use is dependent on the actual size of the image sensor in the camera.
  • Shutter speed – This doesn’t matter too much with flash photography as long as the shutter is open long enough to compensate for any delay between the shutter and the remote flash. The exposure will be set with the flash intensity and not the shutter speed. 1/60 or 1/100 sec should work fine. You can go with a faster shutter as well as long as it is longer than the sync speed. Some remote flash systems cause longer sync speeds than the camera specs. You want to test this and know the actual combined sync speed for your set up.

Space your subject away from the green screen by 6 ft. or more if possible

  • The closer the subject is to the green screen, the more green spill that will be encountered. This is because the screen reflects green light back onto the person. Obviously, If you are doing an upper body shot, you will be able to space the person further away then if you are doing a full body shot. If you need for the person to stand or sit on the screen then try to use a screen that’s long enough to cover sufficient floor area so that you can get decent spacing between the persons upper body and the back of the screen.

Minimize wrinkles in the screen whenever possible

  • If you have a stationary studio then this can be easily done by using a paper backdrop or a painted wall. If you are using a muslin green screen, then you will tend to have some wrinkles to deal with. Wrinkles can be ironed out (which is tedious).To be honest, this is where we get lazy in our photo shoots. Since we do traveling photo shoots, using a large paper roll background is a bad option. Ironing out wrinkles isn’t always an option either.If your screen has some wrinkles then make sure to stretch the screen fairly well on the backdrop stand using some clamps so there are not any large folds. Also, make sure that light hits the screen from 2 angles. You should still be able to get a good extraction this way even with some wrinkles in the muslin.

Shoot in Raw Mode

  • This is not absolutely necessary. With that said, there are some big advantages.First, there is not any .jpg compression. This is helpful when masking detailed areas.Second, in-camera settings for the color profile, sharpening, toning, white balance, etc can be changed non-destructively because these are not directly applied to the image. They are just set points that are stored (similar to the Photoshop adjustment layers).

Below are two lighting diagrams from Game Changers.

lighting diagram 3 light lighting diagram 4 light