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.

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.
For gear, I used my Canon 50mm 1.4 lens. My camera settings for most of the shots you saw were f1.8,  ISO 640 and shutter speed around 250. No flash. Just natural light. You really just need to play around with it a bit depending on your lighting situation and what not.  Be brave and use that manual mode on your camera or at least the aperture priority setting. I did test shots using stuffed toys while the little guy was napping so as not to “waste” any precious time with him and risk missing any good shots. If you have older kids that will sit still you can get some really cool shots! If only Mr. C was old enough for an M&M bribe. Mr Moose did well though…. Here’s a test shot…..
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.
Easy to use and looks good in portraits. I used a stand by Fancierstudio and clips by LimoStudio and got this backdrop set up nicely. It's plenty long, and looks like you could cut it up and use it to cover a larger area, however I wish it were wider. It's just barely wide enough for a good portrait, but not any wider. It looks good if you put your subject a foot or so in front of it with a large aperture and get some bokeh on it.
Don't take this review too critical to the overall worth of the product. Ultimately you pay for what you get and this is a very reasonable price for a starter home studio setup. I've been working with freelance photography for a few years now, primarily as a hobby, and decided to buy this as a portable setup I can take just about anywhere I want. Everything was functional for that purpose and works wonderfully. The light fixtures come with lights that aren't dimmable but adjustment of height and distance from the umbrella to the bulb can suffice. The carrying bag is fairly poor quality but it's kind of just a nice little extra you get with the package so I didn't take that to heart. The stand pieces, both for the backdrop and the lights, are fairly well made but if you aren't gentle they can be easily broken. As for the backdrops themselves, you get a white, black and green one; all of which are the expected colors and are decent material. However, if you intend to set these up indoors (or outdoors for that matter) be sure to have a background that is plain. These are not the thickest back drops and you can really see just about everything behind them if you aren't caring enough to have a plain backing. Overall, I am satisfied, but you shouldn't expect this to be the only kit you will ever need. Adequate for the beginner but once you really want to make a serious home studio, you will need something much more advanced.

AMAZING!!! I was worried about what the quality of this backdrop would be because of the price. The colors are BRIGHT and don't look faded in the picture!! It comes folded very small. I suggest hanging it asap. A little work with a steamer got the creases out with not much effort. It has small faded spots from the creases but i cant see them in the picture. I was worried the color would be lighter than the people in the picture but that is not the case. Great buy :)
What this tells us is that the further away the light source is from the subject and backdrop, the more likely we are to get an equal exposure from one to the other. The quality of the light source can also change with distance. You will notice that as the light gets further away it becomes a harder light with less transitional values. Also, if the subject appears to be further away from the backdrop in the last image, it's due to me needing to use a shorter focal length (zoom out) to avoid getting the softbox in the shot. The shorter focal length exaggerates perspective.
These are better than I expected. Good solid build. Takes about a good solid hour to assemble everything. Everything worked perfectly after assembly. No sand for the sandbag, so I put a bottle of water in the pouch. Worked perfect as a counterweight. I live in a one bedroom apartment, so I put two of the lights away after testing and keep one assembled for impulse shoots.
The package arrived in a Manila folder therefore had lot of creases. I follow the instructions and ironed it and as you can see in the photos the creases diminished greatly. My husband made a 2x4 frame for it with wood already available as we do no have a photographer stand. It came out lovely. I can’t wait for the final result as the date arrives. Well worth the money! Not the greatest quality of material but it’s also not bad for what’s intended for.
Want to tweak one of our images? Have your own custom image you'd like to print? The possibilities are endless and our customer service department is ready to help. We print using forced perspective to help give you the most realistic image possible so that your portraits will look realistic as if you were actually on location. If you have an image that you own or have rights to, we'll help you get it formatted correctly for our printing process. Email us your artwork to start the process. If you're wanting a custom Hollywood style photo backdrop with your logo(s) repeated all over it, we do that too with one of our step and repeat backdrops!
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