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.
This was a great value for the price. The backdrops photograph well, the lights are great and the stand is good. The stand didn't come with instructions to put it together, but wasn't too difficult to figure out. The backdrops did come with some wrinkles from being folded for shipping, but I have them rolled up together on a wrapping paper roll and they seem to be much better (and I haven't even ironed them yet.) I would recommend this product, especially for beginners like myself.
Display your photographic backdrops, floors, and floordrops using durable support equipment and accessories. You'll find a variety of stands and support kits that come with everything you need for mobile photography projects and studio setups. Many styles feature telescoping crossbars and adjustable bases to suit a variety of image heights and widths. Some support systems also feature multicolored chains so you can easily select the right background for your needs.
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.
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.
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 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.
The paper is awesome and thick and great for a photography backdrop. The problem I had with it was no statement letting me know that you cannot use it on a regular stand or the paper will unwind uncontrollably and end up in a crinkled mess on the floor. Half of my roll spun out onto the floor as soon as I tried pulling a little bit out to do a session. Thankfully I was preparing for the session about 15 minutes before the appointment time and I was able to wind it up, cut off the creased parts and rig up something with some painters tape to temporarily keep it in place. Because of this I was unable to change out my backdrop during the session without risk of it unraveling again with my clients here at my place. In order to use this ... full review
The fabric has a slight odor similar to vinegar and evaporated milk but airs out if you leave it unfolded a few days. The fabric, as expected, is lightweight but decent quality cotton. By definition Muslin is lightweight cotton cloth and, yep, it's thin so a backing layer is necessary if used against a bright light or window (e.g., my uploaded image). It ... full review
If you’d like to do a little further reading,  here are a couple of links to tutorials that I found helpful before trying this myself. Prop Insanity has a great one with pictures of their actual studio set up using this type of background and Digitial Photography School has a great article on How to Take Beautiful Bokeh Christmas Images . (Bokeh being that gorgeous background blur we all love). You can also check out my Photography board on pinterest for more ideas.  If you do try this, I would LOVE to see your finished product so please come share with us on Facebook.
Display your photographic backdrops, floors, and floordrops using durable support equipment and accessories. You'll find a variety of stands and support kits that come with everything you need for mobile photography projects and studio setups. Many styles feature telescoping crossbars and adjustable bases to suit a variety of image heights and widths. Some support systems also feature multicolored chains so you can easily select the right background for your needs.
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