Summer may be drawing to a close soon, but ice cream is everyone’s year-round fave. Unlike the real stuff, Ink & Elm’s Dip n Dots backdrop won’t melt on you and its matte vinyl is tear resistant, so you can use it as a floor drop, too. It’s water resistant in case some real ice cream spills from your subject’s hands (or yours, we’re not judging). You can order the backdrop with grommets along the top for an extra $8, or spend $15 to get a pole pocket along the top. Sizes range from 3 x 2 feet up to 10 x 6 feet. Yum.
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.
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.
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.
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.

Overall a beautiful backdrop. More yellow than I was expecting though. The yellowish center on mine is very large and bright, with much less brown/green than the one pictured. I used it for a dance troupe portrait and the yellow wasn’t flattering with everyone’s skin tone. Too bland. However, I changed the color in post and I LOVE the result. The yellow center became a natural bright spot under whatever color I painted with, and is a lovely effect. I have included pictures. The first one is mostly unaltered in color, just darkened a little. I am keeping the backdrop, knowing that I’ll have to be careful with subject/lighting or paint it in post-processing.


We used this backdrop for an at-home photo shoot with a newborn. It worked great for us, the only downside is that it is folded when it comes and came with instructions to get the creases out adding some more work than just opening the package and taking pictures. Regardless, it flattened perfectly fine in about 10 minutes and we’ll be using it again so it was definitely worth it for the price and effort.

Arrived damaged with small holes from the folds but I thought I could work with it. It is not wide enough for full frame, edged in white and printed so poorly that the design looks like it has a flaw. Look carefully at the seller's images. Several are photoshopped to appear better than the product. The last shot the seller uses shows a huge printing flaw. From a design standpoint, this makes no sense whatsoever to blow out that area with white. It isn't simulated light to give depth, it's just a flaw from the printer. Really, really bad photoshop to begin with in the first place, with other areas showing white artifacts on the design. China quality and standards. Not recommended unless you can shoot around them or photoshop them out later.

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

It was higher quality then I had expected . One side is a very soft and silky/shiny material. The photo is only on one side , just to let you know . Needs to be ironed but ours broke and we do not have an iron at the moment. If the lines were out it would look absolutely gorgeous. Totally changed the feel of a room. Bought the 60”W by 80”L . Not disappointed.
Lastolite by Manfrotto offers the essentials to smoothen and soften natural or artificial lighting for portrait and fashion photography with backgrounds and accessories for an extra creative touch. And don't forget about our reflectors and diffusers, available in circular and triangular shapes, softboxes for speed lights and studio lights, in various shapes and sizes. Our umbrellas and backdrops are available in different materials and surfaces ideal for still life photography. We designed our unique lighting tools consulting a network of professional photographers in order to meet their needs. Many features of our products are patented and our R&D team is constantly looking to further improve product functionality. Lastolite Light Modifiers are designed to be collapsable, providing increased compactness and portability. Developed and produced in the UK following strict quality standards, Lastolite by Manfrotto offers the ultimate lighting solution for all photographers, whether in the studio or outdoors.
With a 20 or 24-foot long backdrop you’ll be able to cover just about every style of portraiture and product photography. These backdrops are great if you want to photograph a larger family full-length, or have a video shoot that requires movement. These long backdrops are great for when you want to pull your subjects far from your backdrop as well.

These lights worked perfectly for what I purchased them for - as part of the backdrop for my Christmas pictures. They are a great, long length and width and shine brightly, but they are not overpowering. I had no issues stringing them up at all. They have a steady on mode as well as several different blinking modes. My only complaint is that the plug did not fit into my standard outlet - it was very loose and kept sliding out, so I had to tape it in to use it. Also, there is no off switch, so these have to be unplugged when not in use. Like I said, though, they worked great for my intended purpose.

Even shooting on location you can achieve some background lighting magic. The sun moves around throughout the day — think east to west as well as dawn to dusk. Analyze what time of the day the sun will project the light on your subject at the desired angle. Note: Hard light (direct sun) will create darker shadows while diffused light (cloudy overcast) will create softer shadows.
This kind of fabric has an amazing quality that absorbs light from flashes around the studio. It enables you to have a pitch-black (if using black velour) portrait background that will not reflect the light from your flash or lighting equipment. This way, you don’t have to worry about the direction of light affecting the background because it leaves no detail.
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
Drops & Props custom work is professional, high quality, and accurate. They were responsive to our needs and hustled to complete an order that had an impossibly tight turn around time. We ordered backdrops not only for our photo booth but to have a shared experience in every Etsy office across the globe. They made this happen for us and we are so grateful.
Hand Painted photography backdrops are at a quality level all their own. With over 45 years of experience, we have mastered creating the perfect hand painted background replica every time. We are capable of handling the most delicate of color changes in our Old Master backgrounds. The Old Master series of hand painted canvases are sure to please and will last for many years if cared for properly.
×