For a dramatic or edgy appearance, go with low-key lighting. Low-key lighting also focuses attention onto your subject by surrounding them in shadows instead of light. To do this, you want to ensure that your solid black backdrop is at least 3 stops darker than the light on your subject. With low-key lighting, you also need to ensure that none of the light from your subject is hitting your backdrop. Grids and flag are very helpful for this.
Anyone that does any kind of handy work around the house (or anywhere for that matter) definitely needs to keep a few of these on hand. They are simple. They are plastic, but they feel very strong. The spring inside is REALLY strong! It's got a tight grip for sure! I have around 40-50 of these (different brands) that I've acquired over the years doing woodworking projects. These rank right up there with the best ones! If you're gluing something, these are a must to clamp the parts together. Great grip and as inexpensive as you're going to find! (currently $9.99/1.67ea). Hard to argue with that!
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.
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