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.
There are a few things to consider when choosing a backdrop size, including the size of your studio and the size of your subject. Portrait subjects should typically be pulled at least 3’ away from your backdrop to prevent shadows and allow for easy lighting. Of course, this distance your subject will be from the backdrop will be altered when taking overhead or backlit/high key shots. Below, we’ll discuss both the length and width restrictions of common backdrops.
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.
Cheryl Woods is an accomplished photographer, designer and branding consultant with a career spanning 20+ years. Her photographic work includes editorial, fashion, portraiture and product photography for major companies in the consumer products field including QVC and Hanover Direct. She received a B.F.A. in Photography from the University of the Arts and an M.F.A. in Media Design from Full Sail University. Cheryl's work has been exhibited at the Lowes Museum of Art in Coral Gables, FL, The New York Independent Film Festival and the Rosenwald Wolf Gallery in Philadelphia, PA. Check out her website here!
Planning a luau or surf party? Transport your party guests to a tropical paradise with our ocean-themed scene setters. Choose a beach backdrop for a luau prom or a shipwrecked party or pick out a water backdrop or surfboard banner. However you choose to set up your photo booth space, make sure you check out our assortment of photo stick props and other photo booth props to help make your snapshots one of a kind. We have a variety of themes with supporting props, so shop around for movie nights, western parties and even weddings! We also offer personalized backdrops that make it look like you're posing for a mug shot!
Great for the price point! Will get lots of use out of it. Biggest issue was setting it up, theres absolutely no instructions that comes with this set. There is a piece of paper titled “instructions” BUT it’s literally just a list of what’s inside the packaging and not how to put it together. Had to watch a video online to figure it out. This was my first time setting up something like this. Also the polls are a little flimsy and I’m always worried about it falling over however again you pay what you get, don’t expect top of the line equipment when you’re purchasing relatively cheap stuff. Anyways thumbs up from me, it’s basically exactly what I needed.
Stands often come with crossbars that can support a cloth, vinyl, muslin, or paper backdrop and are secured by either slipping it through a pole pocket or by clamps. For many stands, a crossbar is not needed if the backdrop is canvas or vinyl and has a wooden mounting. Single portable backdrop stands are also available. Portable photography stands are easy to set up, break down, and transport to locations.
Stock up on extra drive components such as chains, switches, and weights, so you can quickly replace broken or missing parts. Be sure to keep plenty of spare clips, hooks, and brackets on hand so portrait backgrounds and video backdrops stay in place during shoots. Maintain clean and organized work spaces by storing paper rolls and mounting poles on wall-mounted and freestanding storage racks.
If you do many in-studio portrait sessions, you probably have a lot of space set aside for background materials, props, and supports. Add to your stash with canvas backdrops for photography, and selections made of durable, low-maintenance materials, such as cotton and wrinkle-resistant polyester. Several backgrounds come on rolls so you can mount them to autopoles and smoothly swap out designs between poses. Seamless paper works particularly well for everyday needs, as you can roll sheets out to the desired length and then reuse or trim away pieces for easy recycling. Muslin photo and video backdrops feature non-reflective surfaces that diffuse light more naturally, which can help keep the focus on your subject. If you prefer materials that allow for fast and efficient cleanup, vinyl and PVC backgrounds are a solid choice, especially when you use them in potentially messy situations involving pets, babies, and toddlers.