Chromakey - The well kept secret

Chromakey photography has become very popular. ‘Chromakey’ is the process of shooting against a blue or green screen, removing that screen color with special software, and adding in a more exotic background.

A well kept ‘secret’ about chromakey is that its success has as much to do with the photography as it does the software. You want to understand what the chromakey software is looking for and set up your photoshoot for that purpose.

If everything is shot right, then the digital masking is easy. If you shoot incorrectly, then you potentially have some very green looking (and probably very angry) clients.

What is chromakey?

In chromakey work, your subject is photographed against a background of a single color or a relatively narrow range of colors. Typically, this is a green or blue screen. That color is removed digitally, leaving your model on a transparent layer in Adobe Photoshop. Our Primatte Chromakey plugin for Photoshop does a quick, sophisticated masking process for these chromakey images.

It's important to know how to set up your chromakey studio so Primatte Chromakey can do the best job possible. Like many things in photography, shooting green screen is as much art as science. There is a learning curve, so you definitely want to perfect or at least try out your setup before doing client work.

How we can help you

Our goal here is to provide you with tips that apply specifically to chromakey photography, rather than chromakey video. The main components you will read about are choosing a back screen, choosing a screen color, working with correct lighting and general posing tips. The methods that work best will depend on your equipment, what the subject is and the environment you are shooting in.

Step One: Key points of setup

Need Help? Have questions about your studio setup? Ask us with this simple Request Form.