A. Flash lighting, also called a speedlight, appears suddenly, at a high intensity. Flash lighting can “freeze” the action, allowing for a sharp photo of moving objects. Speedlights can be attached to the camera, or they can be placed on mounts away from the camera. Because the light from the flash appears suddenly, however, you won’t know ahead of time exactly what kinds of shadows the light will create.
As with lighting systems and camera equipment, backdrops require some kind of support to keep them in place. Background supports can be simple or sophisticated systems. The simple ones are easy to set up and break down and are well suited for location work, while sophisticated, permanent studio systems can hold multiple backgrounds that can be raised or lowered either manually or at the flip of a switch.
Another buyer mentions that it’s easy to adjust the portable backdrop stand and that it’s perfect for light-weight backdrops. He highly recommends it as one of the best background stands available. However, a couple of users have noted that the product is flimsy and breaks because the plastic is of poor quality. Some also complain that they received a damaged unit.
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.
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.
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A purchaser comments that the adjustable backdrop stand is sturdy enough to do the job and that it’s easy to put it together. He adds that it’s light and easy to transport and that he highly recommends it to anyone looking for portable background stands. Another reviewer shares that he bought three adjustable support frames and that he is pleased with the construction and the stability.
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.