backdrop setup

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by jackieclayton, Jan 13, 2010.

  1. jackieclayton

    jackieclayton TPF Noob!

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    ok, so I'd like to start playing around with some different lighting and backgrounds in my own home... really to take some studio looking shots of my son but also to practice indoor lighting techniques (i'm gonna start with the exisiting natural lighting in my house and work my way up to strobes and such...)

    FarrahJ was nice enough to show me some pullback shots that she used to create her pictures (as always, her photos are fantastic! :thumbup:)... however I wanted to get a variety of some equipment recommendations on a basic setup.

    B&H has good shipping prices to Guam, and I think I've picked out a good stand system... i'm concerned with background material... what would you folks recommend? Canvas, paper, muslin??? there are so many choices i'm not sure what to choose. I prefer a plain color background (i want it to be very minimalistic shots), and again these will be used primarily to learn on and to take some shots of my infant...

    Any other suggestions on other materials that some of you have worked with to create your own in home studio would be great.

    Si Yu'os Ma'ase
     
  2. mom2eight

    mom2eight TPF Noob!

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    If you want something to just practice with thats cheap heres a suggestion. Go to lowes/homedepot and get a painters drop cloth. You can then die it any color you want. It's cheap and easy.
     
  3. AgentAustin

    AgentAustin TPF Noob!

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    My green screen is muslin. Wouldn't recommend it. If there is ANY light behind the screen you can easily see though the screen. Doesn't work as well....
     
  4. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Paper might be the best for a 'plain & simple' backdrop, but the problem with seemless paper backdrops, is that they are rather long which makes them hard to ship etc. Also, a paper backdrop won't stand up to much abuse. It will get dirty, it may get holes or rips etc. The good part is that you can just cut it off and roll out more, but the bad news is that you will run out and have to buy more.

    Fabric backdrops are quite common because they are a lot more durable than paper, and the can give you some texture, something that isn't just plain. Muslin is fairly common. Canvas is more durable than muslin but also more expensive.

    To get you started, you could try using a large bed sheet.
     
  5. Christie Photo

    Christie Photo No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Since you'll be working in your home with your wee, little one, consider scaling things down a bit while you learn using 53" seamless paper. You could use it for some table-top shots, and it will be easier to ship.

    -Pete
     
  6. jackieclayton

    jackieclayton TPF Noob!

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    ok, this might sound stupid, have mercy on me.... but for seamless paper... how does it hold up? My "studio" would be something i put up in my living room temporarily when I take pictures, i don't have a dedicated room for this or anything, so I was wondering how you store it to prevent rapid tearing? Do they come in storage cylinders or something?
     
  7. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    It comes rolled on a cardboard tube, so you would need a 'rod' and something to hold the rod. If you can put it close to a wall, then you could mount some brackets to the wall and use whatever rod or broom handle that you have around.

    If you can't put brackets into your living room wall ;), then you might want a backdrop stand. THIS is the first example I could find, might not be the best option though.

    They come in cardboard boxes, which you can use to store them in.
     
  8. Christie Photo

    Christie Photo No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    It really holds up fairly well. Spills will be a problem. Some dirt and scuffs will come off with an eraser. The paper will become a bit more brittle with time, causing it to tear a bit easier... but that takes years.

    The hanging system Mike showed you works quite nicely. I have one like that for location work.

    If you have to get by "on the cheap," its easily done. 25 years ago, I took two 14" pieces of 1x2s and drilled a hole in each. I use them with two Pic stands. I still use the same ones. They fit easily in the bag with my stands.

    -Pete

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  9. LearnMyShot

    LearnMyShot TPF Noob!

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    Hi, There's a store in Manhattan called Rosebrand, you can Google them. It's a theatrical supply house. They have the best backgrounds and at wide sizes. They can send you a swatch book too. I heard that Irving Penn once bought a large piece of Muslin and taped it to his floor. After 6 mo. of walking on it he used it as a background for a portrait series. I hope this helps
     
  10. shannonegg

    shannonegg TPF Noob!

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    I've recently started experimenting with indoor backdrops as well, and a friend suggested buying a piece of black velvet from a fabric store (I'm taking pictures of kids as well, so no need for a large piece right now). I put a few thumb tacks in the wall to hold up the velvet and let in drape onto the floor. This worked great for me, as long as I was against wall.
     
  11. kundalini

    kundalini Been spending a lot of time on here!

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  12. jackieclayton

    jackieclayton TPF Noob!

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    Can anyone tell me if I should purchase a normal backdrop stand for a 53" paper roll that Pete suggested? He's right... I'm limited on space and since this is primarily going to be used for my baby, I can easily find a place to use this without moving furniture around! I was looking at these backdrop stands, but I didn't know if because its a smaller roll than the normal 9 footer if I should purchase a backdrop stand that isn't so wide? Or do they adjust in width? Savage | Background Port-A-Stand, Travel Case, Paper | 6203750 and Da-Lite | 42076 Background Stand System | 42076 | B&H Photo Video

    thanks!
     

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