Christmas Backgrounds?

ApSciPhoto

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I've looked a little bit through previous threads and feel like I've exhausted google, so hopefully you guys can help!

I'm trying to put together a Christmas backdrop for portraits. I have a tree, bench, presents sort of scene, but nothing I like to put it in front of! Last year I used gels to make a "fireplace glow" behind the tree on a wall. It worked in a pinch but this year I really want to warm things up! I want to set this up to use just one or two lights.

I've ordered a faux wood floor mat, now just need something for the wall. Originally I was hoping for creating a backdrop with just Christmas lights, like attaching tons onto a grid that can be placed on the wall and just have a nice warm bokeh-glow behind the tree, but I'm running into a number of problems with this:

1. Using a wide aperture. If I photograph a family in this situation, I'm afraid of losing sharpness on groups of more than 2 or 3?
2. Using a slow shutter speed. It seems like the biggest tip for photographing lights so they "glow" is using shutter speeds 1/30 or slower. How is this supposed to work with children going nuts?? I feel like using a tripod in my situation, while it is what I need, won't be practical. I supposed I can always pull out the wireless remote, but the tripod will really slow me down.

I also really love something like this, I'm just having such a hard time actually accomplishing this. Is it really something that has to be done wider than f/8, slower than 1/60?


Anyway, I guess I'm just stuck. I don't need a scene, just a warm, homey looking backdrop in a very bare studio space. Tips?
 

KmH

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Is it really something that has to be done wider than f/8, slower than 1/60?
:scratch: What do you use for lighting your portrait subjects?

Your link shows a photo that has Hollywood bokeh in the background.
 
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GeorgieGirl

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I am going to use the wood floor backdrop I just bought for the BG and not for a floor. It will appear as barn wood and will be rustic. Sounds like you might be able to do the same. I chose white. Mine will be an out-door-ish scene. With mistletoe.
 

Derrel

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I tried a Christmas type background in a couple of test sessions, and found out that first off, the Mini-lights are the main impediment; they are so dim that they force you to elevate the ISO to 400, and that only yields an f/2.8 aperture, with a slow shutter speed of 1/30 second or so, to get a reasonably bright, cheery-looking effect on the lights. I think the old-fashioned, much larger Christmas lights would work better than the newer mini-bulb kind that I had to work with. In the upper-right hand background, the LED's are from a small, 4 foot tall artificial Christmas tree I had set up on an end table. The white balance was set to Incandescent, which made the Christmas lights look proper, so the FLASH, which was close to the subject, was set to very low power, and was gelled with an orange gel, to make the flash's light match with the Incandescent White Balance that was needed for the right rendering of the Christmas lights behind. _DSC0051_ccPROOF.jpg photo - Derrel photos at pbase.com

90971412.jpg
 

moneyagg

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How do u get such razor sharp pictures. I have a 5D mark II and I have 50 mm 1.8 and a 24-70 2.8. But pictures are not as sharp.
 

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