Among a raft of new products, Denny’s Fair Tale Trail puts your subject in a whimsical (dare we say Hobbit-esque) setting. The backdrop is available in your choice of three materials: Freedom Cloth, which is a wrinkle-free polyster that’s washable and dryer safe; Twist Flex, which uses the Freedom Cloth material but mounts it to a wire frame that can be folded down tight if you envision travelling a lot with the backdrop. Lastly, it’s available in canvas, which is a more delicate backdrop that ships with a wood mounting and Velcro straps. Sizes vary with Freedom Cloth, giving you the widest selection of size options.
A good beginner, entry-level, infrequent use backdrop. If you take the time to remove the wrinkles, and there are quite a few due to shipping restrictions, it turns out to be a good first backdrop. I rolled it tightly on a 1” pvc, leaving it that way for several days, and hung it afterwards. There were a few places I needed to use a hair dryer to get them out but once done it’s a nice backdrop. It’s lightweight being vinyl but the printing on it looks much richer. For the price you know you will need to do some work but in the end it’s well worth it.
While many photographers are experts at their craft and able to utilize natural lighting and landscapes as backgrounds for their portraits, studios that provide a controlled environment are a necessity for many photographers. A key component to any photography studio is your background material as the right background materials can make or break a photo session. To ensure you achieve the overall theme and feel of your photography style, here's a look at what you might consider when choosing affordable background materials offered on eBay .
In the shot above I used a two light setup. The main light, camera left, is a Profoto D1 1,000Ws head inside of a 50 inch Westcott Apollo Softbox. While the idea of mixing what is considered to be a high-end strobe with a budget softbox my not sit right with some, I find the indirect lighting source from a Westcott or Photek to give a really nice and even light. The 60 inch Photek Softlighter, which I also enjoy using, may only cost $95 but gives a really nice, soft, and even light. If these lower cost indirect sources are good enough for the likes of Mario Testino and Annie Leibovitz, then they are good enough for me. Clay Cook did an great article on these lighting sources, "Lighting Like Leibovitz," that you can find here.
Some canvas backdrops include subtle patterns that provide an interesting but neutral background that doesn’t compete with a portrait subject for attention. Darker backgrounds can be used for low-key lighting, while a lighter, well-lit photo background can create a completely different high-key mood. Canvas backdrops at Adorama range in price from around $135.00 for a 5×7 to $270.00 for an 8×8-foot cloth.
I've included what the backdrop look like without people in it, and also what it looks like with several different kinds of skin tones so those of you who are thinking about buying this can take that into consideration with your potential clientele. As you can see, at least with just a horseshoe flash, people with darker skin tones definitely looked better with this backdrop.
Shooting on a clean white backdrop can be one of the more complex in-studio lighting setups around. Properly exposing for full lengths while giving your models room to work can require four or more extra lights and considerable amount of setup time. While taking the time to take care of the details is important for getting the perfect image and saving yourself hours of retouching on the back end, sometimes you just want to get a nice clean background without the hours of prep.
Having skills in a variety of lighting techniques for your photo backdrop can give you some wonderful options for creating beautiful imagery for either products or portraits. By brushing up on your exposure and composition know-how along with practicing prior to your actual shoot date you’ll quickly be able to build a portfolio showing off your creative depth.
I've purchased a few backdrops with this company (LB) now, and though I **HATE** the sizing of their backdrops (way too short and not wide enough), the quality of them are so good for the price. This one is versatile in my opinion: we used it for a murder mystery party that took place in ancient China (oh yeah!), but I've seen pictures of people using this as a studio backup for couple pictures and so forth. I think it's a fun one that deserves to be purchased more often.
Express your love of geology with ProStudio’s Hard Rock Poser. They may look back-breaking, but these posers are made from plastic and are hollow inside so you can move them around your studio, or to a location, with ease. (Pro tip: Pretend they’re real and lift one over your head to impress friends and clients.) The poser has a flat top and is sturdy enough for an adult to sit on. The small rock measures in at 19 x 14 x 12 inches while a large model is 27 x 21 x 25 inches. Additional sizes and rock colors are also available.
A. Regardless of the lighting system you’ve selected, you should have at least some control over the light intensity. A basic lighting system should allow you to adjust the power of the lighting to half or full. More complex systems will give you several settings options to control the intensity of the lighting. If you purchase an inexpensive lighting system, you’ll have to spend more time adjusting the physical position of the light to achieve the exact intensity of light on the subject you want.
I would definitely play around with it. Your not going to want to go too wide with 4 because odds are they will move around a bit and you’ll end up with some soft faces. Some key things to remember would be try to keep their faces all on the same plane of focus, that will allow you to shoot a little wider. Generally with 4 kids I would aim to shoot around f/4 but certainly play around. At that aperture you may want to consider moving them further away from the background. Keep in mind the closer you are to them and the further away from the background they are the more bokeh you will get!
What can I say? This background is flimsy and cheap and you can see right through it and it's packed folded and the creases never come out. It arrived with a few runs which is frustrating but you get what you pay for. All of that being said, under the right conditions the backdrop does photograph well, if you know what your doing. Shallow DOF and creative lighting and it did what it was needed for, which in my case was a quick set up for a baby holiday portrait.
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