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.
To start constructing this DIY backdrop, measure how thick your elbow is compared to your curtain rod, and add electrical tape around the end of the rod until you have a tight fit. For most people, it will be easier to put a little bit of tape on at a time, testing the fit every so often until it’s snug, but measurements can give you a good base to start with. Don’t attach the rod to the elbow yet, however.
Yes all the "bad" stuff they say about this product is true, it's essentially a very long roll of wrapping paper, thin, wrinkles easily. BUT that being said, if you treat it with just a little TLC this stuff performs beautifully. Photographs extremely well. Perfect for the beginner photographer on a limited budget, or like myself a more seasoned photographer with a small studio, I highly recommend this product. For the price it can't be beat! This photo was taken on the "barn wood" version.
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Cotton is a great photo background because it works well with the subject, especially if the lighting is properly set up. Also, if you want a backdrop that’s perfect for traveling, invest in a cotton fabric backdrop. It’s portable and easy to transport, set up, and collapse. It varies in size, too, so make sure to pick the right one before going to your location.
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.
Shooting on a clean white backdrop can be one of the more complex in-studio lighting setups around. Properly exposing for full lengths while giving your models room to work can require four or more extra lights and considerable amount of setup time. While taking the time to take care of the details is important for getting the perfect image and saving yourself hours of retouching on the back end, sometimes you just want to get a nice clean background without the hours of prep.
Made of moderately thick, heavy material, canvas used to be the most popular among photography backdrops. However, due to its bulk and cost, it has been overshadowed by muslin backdrops in terms of popularity. Nevertheless, a good canvas backdrop will last a long time and provide a classy look to your shots. While you can bring canvas photo backdrops with you, they’re best suited for studio work since they easily wrinkle when stored in a duffel bag.
A 5 or 6-foot wide backdrop is a great size for headshots and ¾-length portraits. These backdrops are easy to manage and still only requires minimal space to set up. These backgrounds are ideal for event photographers who often work in busy spaces or for photographers working in a small home studio. While 5 to 6-foot backdrops offer more flexibility than 3.5-foot backdrops, they still become a bit tight if when photographing a couple or full-length portrait.