Cheryl Woods is an accomplished photographer, designer and branding consultant with a career spanning 20+ years. Her photographic work includes editorial, fashion, portraiture and product photography for major companies in the consumer products field including QVC and Hanover Direct. She received a B.F.A. in Photography from the University of the Arts and an M.F.A. in Media Design from Full Sail University. Cheryl's work has been exhibited at the Lowes Museum of Art in Coral Gables, FL, The New York Independent Film Festival and the Rosenwald Wolf Gallery in Philadelphia, PA. Check out her website here!
I recently bought this 3 days ago and used it to shoot 38 headshots and a group photo for a university. The images came out fantastic!! I was amazed that the light quality was excellent and the light stands were sturdy without sandbags to fasten it. I bought a used kit but it was greatly taken cared of. I wanted an easy portable light kit and this is perfect very light weight and cost effective. Backgroynd stand is great, Muslim is thin in black but just double it up and youll be fine for headshots.
When I received this it was folded down to 1'x6" package. After unfolding it, every fold line is very visible. Also the interior lights on top are part of the drop. This is an old time type of backdrop that depicts like a French street in late 1800 to early 1900 why there is a interior ceiling with lights on the top of this backdrop is in my opinion stupid. Also the seams should have been glued in a downward overlay application. Instead they are in a upward application which makes the top of the seam fold down exposing the white backside of the drop. Avoid. And by something that is actually cloth and not vinyl.
Breaking news: Bokeh is in! With Lastolite’s Out of Focus Backgrounds, you won’t need to fiddle with your camera’s aperture to mimic that dreamy depth of field. There are a pair of double-sided backdrops in the Out of Focus line: one features a blurred seascape/autumn foliage, and the other sports summer foliage on one side and city lights on the other. At 4 x 5 feet, these backdrops should handle close to full-length portraits and will collapse to about a third of their size for transport. They weigh in at 3.3 pounds and come with their own carrying case.
Muslin is a cotton weave fabric that holds dyes and paints with ease. These backgrounds are made of lightweight material and are clamped to a background stand or even draped over anything to transform the look of a picture. As the muslin is made of thinner and lighter material, it does not show wrinkles and can be used as a neutral background or as a dramatic one. It comes in many different sizes and pattern that range from 5x8 to 30x30 feet and solid color backdrop or designer series patterned design. Muslin backgrounds can feature replicas of old master paintings, abstract patterns or marbleized patterns. This material is very portable and fairly inexpensive making it a favorite with photographers.
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.
One of the advantages of using a chroma key background is that it can shorten production time by doing away with the need to change from one background to another. This kind of photo backdrop allows the photographer to freely take pictures without thinking of what background will best fit the image, as they can decide on that part later in the post-processing stage.
Once I got the equipment out of the box, the entire kit took about 20-30 minutes to set up and break down. I'm expecting it'll be quicker once I've gotten used to it, but the kit's otherwise simple enough to handle. The backdrops are rather thin, but enough for my current needs. I'll need to be more aware of what's behind the muslin, and the sheets can be easily replaced by thicker material when necessary. The metal supports on the umbrellas are enough to keep the things open, but aren't very tolerant of, say, a klutz who knocks the stand over while setting up. (Nothing's broken, and everything's still useful, but... yeah, that bend wasn't there in the umbrella before.) The bag is sturdy enough for lugging things around, but it isn't padded - I've been using the muslins for that purpose. I'm keeping all the equipment boxes and plastic baggies to make sure things stay tidy, but if you wanted to, you could cut it down to just the containers for the light bulbs. Overall, pretty chuffed with this kit.
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