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Thread: Portrait Backdrops?

  1. #1

    Portable Portrait Backdrops?

    Hi guys,

    I've been hired to do company portraits & group photos, so I figure I'd do a good job at it. I'm just going to use black fabric for the group photo but I don't have a particular backdrop for portraits. Any ideas on stereo typical gray patterned backgrounds for that classic portrait look? I'm traveling to location with lights and my 12' backdrop support. I will want this backdrop to last a while (eventually White, Black, and Passport Blue will accompany it as well).

    Thanks for suggestions and recommendations,

    - Pan

    Edit: Forgot to mention this bit has to be moderately portable
    Last edited by Panza; Jan 12 2015 at 01:48 PM.
    (Insert list of camera gear that lets others know how much money you have here.)

  2. #2
    Super Moderator Obelix's Avatar
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    All of our corporate portraits have gray cubical divider with company logo poster as background.
    Logo is little bit out of focus but still recognizable.

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by Obelix View Post
    All of our corporate portraits have gray cubical divider with company logo poster as background.
    Logo is little bit out of focus but still recognizable.
    Interesting idea and good use of a cubical divider! This company has no logo of their own and the group photo is at a board meeting, I have no clue where these meetings take place so I'm not sure if I'd be able to find one. It was recently restructured in mid 2014 with a new CEO. Also, you're awfully close to a devilish post count Obelix.
    (Insert list of camera gear that lets others know how much money you have here.)

  4. #4
    Elite Member leuius's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Panza View Post
    Also, you're awfully close to a devilish post count Obelix.
    You're also one away from turning all numbers, Panza
    Stef (leuius is latin for more light)
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  5. #5
    I've used both paper and the muslin style which is a much more rugged material than paper. Paper is easy and always clean, but can be a pain in the butt at times. I found using paper for White back drops was best, and using the Gray and Brown multi-colored Muslin style backdrops was better for what you are trying to do. Many companies sell Muslin backdrops, and the thick heavy duty material will last you a while. You get what you pay for, but I put a few links below to get you going. You may also want to large clamps to hold the backdrop on the supports if you don't have them already. Home depot units will due, but black does look better and more professional than orange...

    Seamless Roll paper is easy in the studio, but can be ruff on location:

    Seamless paper backdrops @ BHPhoto >>

    Impact Reversible Muslin Background @ BHPhoto >>

    I hope that helps,

    Jay
    Jay - Comments, Questions, and Critiques always welcomed and encouraged!

    Current Everyday Gear: Sony A7r, Sony A6400, Sony Nex-6, Sigma 56mm f/1.4 Lens, Sigma 30mm f/1.4 Lens, Sony E 18-55mm, Sony E 55-210mm OSS Lens, Sony E 16mm f/2.8 Pancake, Rainbow Imagining MC/MD Lens Adapter w/ Minolta MD 50mm f/1.4 PG Rokkor Lens

  6. #6
    Super Moderator Obelix's Avatar
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    You could use projector screen for white backdrop, there is usually one of those in every company.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Obelix View Post
    You could use projector screen for white backdrop, there is usually one of those in every company.
    I actually haven't been to the shooting location yet and I've never been to their board meeting. I'm a bit nervous about what they have or what they don't have. : ) I'm just going to come with my own equipment instead of using theirs.

    I had no idea that collapsible backdrops existed until I was recommended one of these recently, Collapsible Equipment Backdrop Muslin Gray
    A little surprised the Adorama variants cost 3 times as much.

    For shoulders up they should be fine.

    My bad for not mentioning that it needs to be a somewhat portable system
    (Insert list of camera gear that lets others know how much money you have here.)

  8. #8
    I've been using Obelix's solution, but given that there's a projector screen (on tripod) handy.

    I use Lastolite Plain Collapsible Background
    and their 5 Piece Stand For Collapsible Backgrounds. That's for individual portraits, and quite portable.
    Amateur and unskilled photographer with a very small collection of gears.

  9. #9
    Great info and ideas guys!!

    Thanks,
    Jay
    Jay - Comments, Questions, and Critiques always welcomed and encouraged!

    Current Everyday Gear: Sony A7r, Sony A6400, Sony Nex-6, Sigma 56mm f/1.4 Lens, Sigma 30mm f/1.4 Lens, Sony E 18-55mm, Sony E 55-210mm OSS Lens, Sony E 16mm f/2.8 Pancake, Rainbow Imagining MC/MD Lens Adapter w/ Minolta MD 50mm f/1.4 PG Rokkor Lens

  10. #10
    I personally like the 6x7' pop open backdrops, they usually have a color on each side and collapse small and easily.
    Cameras: Sony A7, A7II, A99, X70 (past: NEX-5, NEX-7, A3000, RX100)
    www.joshsouzaphotos.com

  11. #11
    I hadn't considered pop open backdrops and I often shoot single portraits. I have used larger muslins and have a nice bracketing system that folds fairly portable. I have some heavy duty muslins (e.g., a black one I use for more dramatic portraits) and various other colors including a green screen for video. I sometimes have to iron the larger muslins if they've been folded and I had to buy a ton of little clamps to pull the backdrop tight against the stand and cross bar because little wrinkles can get amplified with the lighting.
    Everyday Camera: Sony A7; 55mm f/1.8
    “I am not interested in shooting new things – I am interested to see things new.” -Ernst Haas

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