Backdrop Question...

Messages
217
Edit My Images
Yes
I have been asked to take a school photo style portrait of a 6 year old family member after the official school one was a bit of a disaster. Apparently the little fella had a great huge fake smile that looked like something off the Joker and mum was not best pleased lol....

I have tinkered with photography previously but always struggled to get beyond snap shot standard, but I have never tried portraits..

My main concern is that I need a back drop. I have looked around the house and none of the plain walls are in a suitable position to use..I don't want to spend a lot of money on this at this point, but at the same time I don't want anything too cheap and nasty either...

Is there any reason I should not use a plain coloured heavy blackout curtain ? I can get a single panel around 60"x72" (meant for a door) for about £25...Some look like a smooth velvet while others have a nice textured finish almost like hessian...

I realise I would need to hang it flat not bunched like a curtain, and I will need to get rid of any wrinkles, but I can sort those..

So any thoughts on using a curtain panel in this way? I did look at some of the pop up backgrounds but at £75 to £100 they were a bit expensive at this stage...

Thanks in advance,

Peter
 
Last edited:
Messages
11,321
Name
Garry Edwards
Edit My Images
No
Have you considered taking outdoor shots against a natural background, which you could easily put out of focus?
That would be a lot easier, wouldn't need an artificial background and would probably produce more natural results.
 
OP
P
Messages
217
Edit My Images
Yes
Thanks Garry,

While I can see the benefits of that, I am not sure it's what his mum wants...Plus if this is a succses, it's something I would like to do more of...Except for the backdrop, I have the other kit I need for a basic one speedlight set up...

I have seen a reasonable priced abstract grey vinyl (7'x5') on eBay...if it's allowable, I will post a link for people's opinions???

Thanks again

Peter
 
Messages
11,321
Name
Garry Edwards
Edit My Images
No
Thanks Garry,

While I can see the benefits of that, I am not sure it's what his mum wants...Plus if this is a succses, it's something I would like to do more of...Except for the backdrop, I have the other kit I need for a basic one speedlight set up...

I have seen a reasonable priced abstract grey vinyl (7'x5') on eBay...if it's allowable, I will post a link for people's opinions???

Thanks again

Peter
I'm pretty sure that's allowed
 
Messages
11,321
Name
Garry Edwards
Edit My Images
No
Yes, the 5'0" wide one should be OK. You'll need to position your subject as far in front of it as reasonably practicable, to avoid unwanted shadows falling on the background (unless you position your flash above and square to him, to drive the shadow to where it will be blocked by his body, which is do-able but which will restrict your choices.

Be aware though that the background will receive far less light and so will photograph as much darker.
 
OP
P
Messages
217
Edit My Images
Yes
Thanks Garry...Do you think positioning the little fella about 4 feet Infront of the back drop would be adequate?
 
Messages
74
Edit My Images
No
If you google black molton cloth, whaley fabrics (I think thats the name) do it at a very good price. Very vesratile, you'll end up using it for all sorts of things.

To straighten and taughten, use cord or duct tape, generally be creative!

Or if she wants a pale background, cotton dust sheet. If she wants a grey background, cotton dust sheet and Dylon!!!!
 
OP
P
Messages
217
Edit My Images
Yes
Thanks again folks....was actually looking for some black cloth to act as negative fill, so that tip was very handy...
 
Messages
74
Edit My Images
No
Happy to help. Must say, his ma sounds like a bit of a Mumzilla....aren't school portraits usually prety dire?
 
OP
P
Messages
217
Edit My Images
Yes
Na, she just knows I have an interest in photography and asked for help...

When she was younger, she did photography at school and I was the only one who took an "informed" interest in her work and assignments ect.

Sadly she never capitalised on this part of her education and now only takes snaps with her mobile like 99% of the under 30s these days...
 
Messages
5,730
Name
Gary
Edit My Images
Yes
Hi Pete.

Did you buy the backdrop ?

I was just wondering what they were like in the flesh.

What colour background were you looking to shoot against?

Gaz
 
OP
P
Messages
217
Edit My Images
Yes
Hi Pete.

Did you buy the backdrop ?

I was just wondering what they were like in the flesh.

What colour background were you looking to shoot against?

Gaz
Yes, ordered it yesterday...I went with the abstract grey as I thought that would be fairly neutral...I notice it comes folded up, so when it arrives, it will probably need some ironing and hanging to get the creases out...

I am now pondering an unobtrustive way of hanging it in my front room...I don't have much room and want to avoid needing stands. I also don't want anything that will be too much of an eyesore when not in use.....

I do have an idea, but just need to find the component parts...
 
Messages
5,730
Name
Gary
Edit My Images
Yes
Great. Could you let us know what you think of it when you've had a chance to use it.
As they are cheap and it may come in handy.
From time to time I take dog portraits "for fun" I use an IKEA grey roller blind as a back drop. It as worked ok for me but it would be good to find alternatives.

Good luck.
Gaz
 
Messages
1,268
Edit My Images
Yes
Great. Could you let us know what you think of it when you've had a chance to use it.
As they are cheap and it may come in handy.
From time to time I take dog portraits "for fun" I use an IKEA grey roller blind as a back drop. It as worked ok for me but it would be good to find alternatives.

Good luck.
Gaz
Can I ask how do you support that please
 
Messages
5,730
Name
Gary
Edit My Images
Yes
I did pick up a 2nd hand back ground support off eBay some time back. Which consists of two lightweight stands and a bar. I just hang it over the bar. That said I am sure the roller bar end could be placed on the floor along the skirting board and pulled up a wall and held with two drawing pins. It's very light.
 
Last edited:
OP
P
Messages
217
Edit My Images
Yes
Great. Could you let us know what you think of it when you've had a chance to use it.
As they are cheap and it may come in handy.
From time to time I take dog portraits "for fun" I use an IKEA grey roller blind as a back drop. It as worked ok for me but it would be good to find alternatives.

Good luck.
Gaz
Yes, sure...it will probably be next weekend by the time I get a chance to get the creases out ect...
 
OP
P
Messages
217
Edit My Images
Yes
Hi Gas,

Backdrop arrived today, and I am not very impressed...It is advertised as "fabric" but what its actually a material akin to a cheap shower curtain. It arrives folded to about A4 size so is creased to hell when you open it. In fairness to the ad, it does warn about this so I was expecting it...

I tried ironing it from the back using a warm iron and a damp towel, but it still caught slightly and left a mark, but luckily not in a critical place...I have got it hanging up now in the garage and will see if the rest of the creases will drop out..Not sure what it will photograph like but I don't have high hopes...

Personally, I would not recommend them, they might be ok for limited use like I want, but I think you would be better buying something else if you intended to use it alot....
 
Messages
5,730
Name
Gary
Edit My Images
Yes
Hiya.

Thanks for the update I appreciate that. I'm sure you'll make it work this time.
I'll be sure to give those backdrops a swerve.
Good luck with the photo.

Gaz
 
Top