How I Bought the Shot: Lighting Studio Portrait With Picture Backdrop

How I Got the Shot: Lighting Studio Portrait With Photo Backdrop

We’re not all the time lucky to have the proper background that matches the whole imaginative and prescient of a shoot. The identical goes for having an enormous price range to construct the set, which leaves just a few choices. Spend the time with compositions or use a printed backdrop to finish the scene. To avoid wasting time, no less than in my case, I opted to go along with a printed backdrop for the shoot since there can be a number of photographs. 

The Backdrop

Initially, I picked out two completely different printed backdrops from Kate Backdrop. The primary backdrop I chosen was the Kate Again to Faculty/Commencement Backdrop which might work out nice for headshots or any portraits that needed an “I am in a library” sort look. Nonetheless, that wasn’t the look we went with. For this shoot, the vibe was a Marie Antoinette sort of look inside a flowery palace hallway. For the second background, I went with the Kate Corridor of Mirrors and Wedding ceremony in entrance of the Palace at Versailles Backdrop, which I feel labored completely for this challenge. 

These backdrops are computer-printed on a wrinkle-resistant microfiber material and folded right into a bundle for transport. I knew the studio had a steamer, and it did not take lengthy to steam out the creases that have been there. If you’re doing the shoot at house, you may pop them into the dryer as an alternative of pulling out the iron or streamer. This is a tip: iron or steam the backdrop from the bottom (unprinted aspect), as another customers have mentioned once they did it from the entrance, some marks have been left. 

When it comes all the way down to deciding on the scale to your backdrop, I personally would go for the biggest one that matches in your house and one which works with what your shoot requires. As I discussed, the primary backdrop can be good for headshots. I’m restricted to only that, as the scale is 5′ x 3′ (1.5 x 1 m). If my flooring matched higher, I may shoot full-body portraits with the scale of the second backdrop. Higher but, go for one in all their backdrops that additionally has a ground part in it. One other one of many choices for the backdrops is you can request yours to be with out the pocket throughout the highest you probably have one other technique of hanging. For me, it is extra handy to maintain it there and a comparatively straightforward repair in Photoshop relying on the background. 

There are a number of methods you may gentle a scene, and it is not any completely different utilizing a backdrop. You might shoot it very stylized and never mix the topic within the scene to have them come out, which I’ve seen finished a number of instances. Nonetheless, whenever you see these kinds of photographs with printed backdrops, some folks could take a look at it and see that it appears good however one thing could also be a bit off. What occurs in some circumstances is that the background has the sunshine supply coming from one route, whereas the lighting on the topic and the shadow on the background from the topic is in a very completely different route. 

Lighting Setup

With a purpose to make it seem to be my mannequin was standing within the palace halls, I needed to match the lighting that was current within the background. For probably the most half, the backdrop appears prefer it had even, tender lighting. There weren’t a whole lot of shadows, and there was a little bit of glow coming into the body from digicam left from the home windows. That is what I used to arrange my lighting. I positioned one rim gentle digicam left behind the topic and had a giant gentle supply as my essential gentle. I added a background gentle digicam proper to fill in a number of the shadows that have been showing within the shot.

Principal gentle: Paul C. Buff DigiBee DB800 Flash unit (320 Ws) in 86″ Mushy Silver PLM umbrella with white entrance diffusion material

Rim gentle: Paul C. Buff DigiBee DB800 Flash unit (320 Ws) in gridded 10″x36″ stripbox

Background gentle: Paul C. Buff Einstein E640 Flash unit (640 Ws) in gridded 10″x36″ stripbox

The power of the rim gentle could be very subjective. Some folks prefer it very minimal, however I prefer it a bit stronger, so it was a couple of 1/4 of a cease brighter than my essential gentle. Additionally, your energy settings can range as a result of distance from the mannequin, so in case your gentle is nearer to your topic, you will not want it stronger than your essential gentle. I do know I beforehand mentioned I needed it to be matching the background supply, however I with went a creative choice to have a brighter rim gentle to imitate the sunshine coming in from the home windows. Should you needed extra wrap-around from the rim gentle, you should use a softbox with no grid. 

Yeah, I in all probability may have simply used one gentle, however as talked about beforehand, I needed to cut back the shadow that was falling on the backdrop and likewise give her a little bit of rim window from the home windows. 

Additional: I did add a brown ground mat simply in entrance of the backdrop in case there was any coloration forged from gentle reflecting on the ground, which can have been very minium and possibly not that noticeable. 

Digital camera Gear

I often favor the 85mm lens within the studio for portraits, and it will have labored advantageous for this shoot. Nonetheless, I needed to showcase as a lot of the backdrop as potential, and for the reason that backdrop wasn’t large, I went with the 50mm lens to get extra of the backdrop within the shot. If you’re in search of lens suggestions, try this text on how to decide on the Finest Lenses for Studio Images information. For extra articles, try the Katebackdrop Weblog.

Sure, we had cake for her palace debut!


I might like to construct wonderful studio units for these kinds of portraits; nevertheless, I often haven’t got the price range, the time, and the house to construct them out. If I used to be doing one to 2 photographs, possibly a composite would have been advantageous, however for me, organising a backdrop is a lot sooner and simpler, particularly since I used to be doing quite a lot of photographs for this challenge. I can simply arrange a number of completely different scenes with these printed backdrops, and so they all fold away into compact sizes for storage. With any backdrop, I might advocate wanting on the gentle route in it and following that as a information for your gentle setup. You possibly can nonetheless add your model to it and stylize it a bit as I did to make it suit your work. 

For 2 extra nice assets for backdrops, try Fox Backdrop and U Backdrop.

Do you employ printed backdrops usually? Share a few of your favorites within the feedback under.

Photographer: Alex Ventura
Mannequin: Nikki Knockout
Make-up and Hair Stylist: Ashly Martinez 
Studio: Altered Visions Studio in Houston, TX

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