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.
Made from styrene, a wrinkle-free plastic, this versatile backdrop can be used as a light table, prop setup or a seamless background. Props or people on the other side of the backdrop are seen as shapes and eerie silhouettes. Placed in front of a light, it delivers a frosted glass effect. You can cut Translum with scissors, so you can whittle down a roll into any shape you desire. It’s available in three grades: lightweight, for a soft light effect with a 3/4-stop light loss, medium grade that eliminates most of the shadows and delivers a 1.5-stop light loss and a heavy grade that knocks back two stops of light (this grade is recommended for shooting tables and is cleanable). Medium and lightweight grades are sold in 60-inch x 18-foot rolls while the heavyweight grade is available in 54-inch x 18-foot rolls.
Vinyl backdrops are thick, rolled and durable, and are recommended for professional studio work. They generally come in solids, but there are a few with printed patterns that can be very inexpensive. While most vinyl backgrounds have a glossy sheen, there are some (including a recently announced line by Savage, which includes the Savage Matte Finish Gray Infinity Series vinyl background) that have a matte finish to eliminate glare and reflections.
Chromakey gives you the ability to insert your photography client into a background of your choosing by having them pose in front of a vibrantly colored screen. You can do this in post-processing programs by removing and replacing the chromakeyed color with the background of your choosing. While you can technically chromakey any color, opting for a very exaggerated color, neon green or blue, will reduce the chance of your client accidentally looking like a floating head without a body because you chromakeyed the color of their dress.
I'm a professional photographer and purchased this on the chance that it was as advertised. I shoot 8th grade graduation dances and have always used a black backdrop to make the images "pop". I was worried in buying this that there would be a lot of maintenance in getting the wrinkles out...worked perfect from package to hanging on the frame! Awesome product and well worth the money!
In summary, the key factors to getting the backdrop and subject lit in a similar exposure zone is distance; The distance of the subject to the background and the distance of the light source to the subject. Decrease the distance of the subject to background and increase the distance of the main light to the subject to make this easier. The key factor for getting a soft and directional quality to the light is also distance, but it's the opposite. By getting the light closer to the subject, we can create a softer light with more directional qualities. Also remember that these qualities of the light are relative to the size of the light source. If you are using a smaller light source, you will need to get it in closer to hold those transitional values. If you are using a larger light source, you may be able to get your light further back and still hold those soft-light qualities. Also, if the examples and basic principles here make sense to you, you have kind of just learned the inverse square law!
A user also mentions that the frame feels slightly flimsy, but he hasn’t had any problems with it. He adds that he is satisfied with its performance so far and that the carrying bag is a nice bonus. However, one customer complains that the product’s measurements are not correct and that it’s not strong enough to hold the vinyl in place without dipping.
I love this backdrop for photos; I used it for my daughters pictures to use on her first birthday card. However, as other reviewers stated, getting the creases out is nearly impossible. I took another persons idea of wrapping it around a pole (one of those long, skinny paint rollers meant for painting ceilings - so very skinny). I wrapped it around the pole and used tape to hold it in place for TWO WEEKS. While it helped with the creases a little bit, they were still pretty visible. I would love to purchase more of these for future use but am hesitant; I wish the supplier would ship them rolled in tubes as opposed to folding them.

Get an austere rustic look with Background Town’s Wall Yellow. It’s available in two materials. NewFab is a tear resistant “paper-like” substrate that’s wrinkle resistant and won’t reflect light. It’s sold in 3.9 x 5-foot and 5 x 6.8-foot sizes. NewFab backdrops won’t come with rod pockets and aren’t machine washable. If you need a backdrop with those attributes, spring for Background Town’s UltraCloth material, a machine-washable backdrop that’s wrinkle-free and has rod pockets sewn in. It’s sold in sizes ranging from 6 x 8 to 8 x 12 feet.
Studio Light Video Photo Softbox Photography Kit Muslin Backdrop Lighting Kit Package Content: (2) Light Holder w/ Silver Black Softbox Reflector (2) 24" White Square Umbrella Reflector (2) Studio Single Light Holder (4) 7ft Tall Alumium Light Stand (4) 45Watts Day-Light Bulbs (1) Backdrop Support System w/ Carrying Bag (1) 5'x10' Green Backdrop Screen (1) 5'x10' Black Backdrop Screen (1) 5'x10' White Backdrop Screen (4) Backdrop Helper(Clip) ( Free Gift) * Item color may slightly differ from photos due to varying monitor display and settings.
You can channel our cavemen ancestry with Custom Photo Prop’s Faux Fur Mat, safe in the knowledge that no animals were harmed in their making. These synthetic mats are PETA-approved, machine-washable and hypoallergenic. They can be ordered as a basket stuffer in a 20 x 32-inch size. It’s sold as a 15 x 15-inch layer or in 3 x 5-foot and 5 x 6-foot sizes. They’re super comfortable on baby’s skin as well.
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!

A 5 or 6-foot wide backdrop is a great size for headshots and ¾-length portraits. These backdrops are easy to manage and still only requires minimal space to set up. These backgrounds are ideal for event photographers who often work in busy spaces or for photographers working in a small home studio. While 5 to 6-foot backdrops offer more flexibility than 3.5-foot backdrops, they still become a bit tight if when photographing a couple or full-length portrait.


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.
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