Category Archives: Tutorial

How to create the ideal Home Studio?

How to create the ideal home studio

At Studiobackdrops.com, we are constantly taking feedback from you to improve our products. We work with a wide array of professional and amateur photographers and try to solve their issues and everyday challenges. One question that is frequently asked is – how to create the perfect home studio?

Photography equipment is a long-term investment that might not explain itself when you are trying to make a purchase. We have consulted several professional photographers who have been working with our products to answer this question.

We want to go step by step and guide you with products that will make sure your home studio fits your needs.

1. Backdrops

Let’s start building our home studio with the most important product – the backdrop. Self-portraits, video, product shoots, food blogs – every kind of creative shoot needs a backdrop that enhances the subject.

At Studiobackdrops.com, there are 3 main categories of backdrops you can choose from. Paper backdrops, Muslin backdrops, and Hand-painted Canvas backdrops. To know which backdrop will suit your personal and professional needs better read here.

Any backdrop you pick can be easily stored and put away for later use. The muslin can be folded and stored in a dust-free area. The paper and canvas backdrops can be rolled up tightly and kept upright if needed.

Tip: To remove wrinkles before or after usage you can use a simple steam iron.

2. Backdrop Stand

A backdrop stand might not be a justified purchase at first glance. But it is good for preserving your backdrops. It also makes the process of shooting photos/videos much easier. In a home studio, you would need a backdrop stand that can be broken down and put away for later use.

The AriesX backdrop stand is made of two tripods and an extension rod. It comes in an easy-to-carry bag that also doubles up as a storage bag. The tripod can be folded to reduce the amount of space it takes. The extension rod can be separated into 3 or 4 parts.

This stand reduces the time and pressure that builds up when you are creating a setup. Once the stand is in place, you can put the backdrop up and create the rest of your set around it.

3. Light Setup

While natural sunlight may seem the best option for clicking images, it is not easy to control. It also requires a lot of modifying and editing later. One of the main benefits of a home studio setup is that you can easily modify the light while you are creating your setup.

To make sure your product is evenly lit you usually need two sources of light – a main and fill (or background and a foreground light). We would recommend the AriesX Quark 400 3 Light Kit or the Muon 600 2 Light Kit.

The AriesX Quark is meant for beginners as it is easy to use, has intuitive programming, and is smaller in size. It is the better option if you are learning about lighting on the go.

The AriesX Muon 600 Light is best suited if you want a workhorse. It delivers the precise power output every single time you click the flash and delivers it for long periods of time.

The difference between the two kits is very small. They come in easy-to-carry travel cases. Both can be stored away very easily in almirahs or lofts.

4. Tripod

One of the biggest problems of creating professional-level photos/videos is the stability of your image. You might need to create a time-lapse or change things around in your set frequently to get the desired result on camera.

However, if you don’t have someone to assist you or to hold the camera in the right place, then a tripod is necessary for a home studio setup. When your frame is stable you can easily make the minor improvements you need to your subject.

Our AriesX Heavy Duty Tripod and AriesX Professional Tripod work with a wide array of cameras and mobiles. (Mobile holder sold separately) It ensures that the quality and consistency of your image are constant.

These are some of the very basic products that will help you achieve the ideal home studio. Each of these products come with their own added benefits. They are easy to work with and will last you for a long time if you do some regular upkeep.

We hope this comprehensive guide will help you make a better choice when it comes to picking the right product. For any more queries, please contact us.

Seamless Paper Backdrops: Which Brand should you go for?

Seamless Paper Backdrops are one of the most popular kinds of photography backdrops in use today. Their ease of use and availability of colors makes them popular with all photographers.

They’re easy to set up, reliable and efficient. It helps you get an infinite background with the least amount of effort.

Here are a few things to consider while deciding which Seamless Paper Backdrop to buy:

1. Thickness

The thickness of the paper is measured in gsm or gram per square meter. This is a factor to be considered when factoring in how durable a seamless paper backdrop is, however after decades of use and research 145gsm has been widely accepted as the point of diminishing return.

Heavier than 145gsm the paper becomes difficult to roll, set up, and work with. The perfect tolerance range for big rolls is considered to be between 120-150gsm.

Both Superior Seamless and Savage seamless paper backdrop rolls are available in 145gsm whereas TruLite seamless paper backdrop rolls are available in 125gsm. Most people can’t tell the difference between them, even by touch. The lesser thickness of the Trulite seamless paper backdrops enables them to be made available at a lower cost to the end-users.

2. Paper Length

The biggest benefit to seamless paper backdrops is that they are sold in the form of rolls. This enables you to unroll and use as little or as much as you need. This also makes them perfect to be used for designing sets, for events, and for all photography sessions.

Savage and Superior Seamless Backdrop Rolls are all available in the standard length of 36ft or 11m. Trulite became a pioneer and started providing different paper lengths, leaving the decision to the end-user.

Trulite Seamless Papers are available in 18ft and 32ft variations.

3. Roll Width

Seamless Paper rolls are usually available in 4 sizes:- 4.5ft, 7ft, 9ft, and 12ft.

However, most manufacturers and sellers are capable of cutting the rolls to a width more suited to specific use cases. This gives seamless paper backdrop rolls even more versatility.

What Backdrop to choose? Paper or Muslin?

Great Backdrops Make your Images Shine

Photographers always tend to see beyond the model when studying images that they like. One thing that always catches their interest is the background of the image. A good backdrop choice must always compliment both the model and the garments. However, the intent of the photographer is always to pick a backdrop that doesn’t stand out to a layman noticing the image.

Depending on the type of photography, whether it is a portrait session, product shoot, or a reel video, different types of backdrops are suited to each. There are two main types of backdrops normally used by photographers, Muslin Backdrops and Seamless Paper Backdrops. Both these types of backdrops have existed for decades and are immensely popular.

Muslin vs. Seamless Paper Backdrops

We stock 3 different brands of Seamless Paper Backdrops, Superior Seamless, Savage, and Trulite. All 3 of them are Made in the USA and are made to be really easy to use and give you consistently good results.

Both Superior Seamless and Savage Seamless Paper Backdrops have a thickness of 145 gsm and are available in 3 different sizes:- 4.5ft x 36ft, 7ft x 36ft, and 9ft x 36.

Trulite Seamless Paper Backdrops have a thickness of 125 gsm but most people can’t even tell the difference between 145gsm and 125gsm. Trulite Seamless Paper Backdrops are available in 4 different sizes:- 4.5ft x 18ft, 7ft x 18ft, 9ft x 18ft & 9ft x 32ft.

We stock over 120 different colors in Seamless Paper Rolls so that you can choose the color that you like and best fits your images. Seamless Paper Rolls are a product all studio photographers swear by, 4.5ft rolls are perfect for on-location portraits, and 7ft rolls are perfect car-sized backdrops.

Muslin Backdrops are made from premium 100% cotton and are dyed to make single color backdrops or textured muslin backdrops. Single Color Muslin backdrops are available in 3 different thicknesses of cotton and 1 wrinkle-resistant variety made from a cotton-poly blend. The 3 thicknesses are 165gsm(Solid), 190gsm(Deluxe), and 210gsm(Canvas). The Textured Muslin Backdrops are created by dyeing and processing them by different techniques. The main types of textured muslin backdrops are Handpainted Mottled, Crush Dyed Mottled, 3D Mottled, Washed Mottled, Solid Mottled, and Reversible Mottled.

Advantages of Muslin Backdrops

Both types of backdrops have a variety of advantages over each other. The primary advantage with muslin backdrops is that they are extremely portable and are hence perfect for on-location shoots and carrying around for those spur-of-the-moment portrait ideas. Muslin backdrops are also very rugged and take a whole lot of abuse before becoming unfit for use. While we don’t recommend washing these backdrops, you can easily spot clean dirt with a sponge and neutral non-abrasive detergent.

Due to the nature of the cotton fabric, it develops natural wrinkles. While a lot of photographers prefer shooting muslin backdrops with these wrinkles as it adds depth to the image, you can easily get rid of them with a steam iron. Alternatively, you can hang them overnight and spray some water on the wrinkles and gravity does the rest. All of our backdrops are made to strict international quality standards and with some tender love and care, they can almost last a lifetime.

Advantages of Paper Backdrops

Seamless paper isn’t as portable as muslin backdrops due to the size of the rolls and the need for a stand, but seamless is the backdrop most photographers use when shooting high-key lighting. The clean, smooth look that seamless paper provides makes it easy to white out a background for that immaculate appearance that is currently all the rage in advertising imagery.

Some clients want a crisp photo background in their commercial portraiture; for this look, seamless paper is the way to go. There’s no need to iron wrinkles as with muslin. When seamless paper gets dirty or creased, you simply tear off the soiled portion and unroll more for a perfectly clean background. If a particular color is needed beyond the basics, Savage’s Widetone paper comes in dozens of shades from Tulip pink to Sky Blue, making seamless a great choice for achieving an exact color. It really just depends on what you’re shooting. Both muslin and seamless paper have their strengths and weaknesses, but either will give great results when used properly. I enjoy using both in order to have the utmost versatility.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Resources for Photographers

As the threat of coronavirus spreads around the world, photographers are grappling with the potential for severe economic impact on their livelihood. Although a prolonged outbreak will require significant federal intervention, a number of groups have already started to provide useful information or financial support for freelancers. We’ve compiled the following list of resources for photographers that we’ll continue to update.

Articles on COVID-19 and Photographers

Photo Trade Organization Info

Technology, Distance Learning, etc

Artist Assistance Lists

Small Business & Banking Support

Grants & Crowdfunding Initiatives

Sourced from PhotoShelter

How the Surface affects Lighting when shooting Glass Bottles

Here’s a 7-minute video in which photographer Dustin Dolby of Workphlo demonstrates how your choice of shooting table influences the resulting lighting when shooting bottles.

Dolby starts by showing the resulting highlight you get when placing the bottle on a “normal” rectangular table and lighting it with a speedlight and stripbox adapter.

The table’s edge presents a barrier for placing the light. Adjusting the position of the light will alter the resulting highlight on the bottle, but they all have the flaw of not having a clean highlight where it meets the bottom of the bottle and table.

Next, Dolby uses a custom-welded rectangular shooting table that’s about the size of a textbook. For a similar solution, you can buy a baby wall plate.

While the issue at the bottom of the highlight has been suppressed a little bit, it’s still not “clean as a whistle.”

Finally, Dolby uses an even smaller circular custom-welded shooting table that fits just a single wine bottle. For a similar solution, you can also use an upside-down cup.

This table allows the highlight to extend all the way down to the bottom of the bottle. To finish the lighting with the one-light setup, you can add a reflector card on the opposite side.

 

How to Remove Light Stands via Compositing in Less Than 2 Minutes

In this video, I’ll show you a simple Photoshop compositing technique to remove light stands from your images in less than two minutes. Then, we’ll do a complete rundown of how the image was shot, lit, and processed.

Why is Compositing Useful?

Here are some reasons why you’ll want to spend a minute and learn this technique:

1. Not enough flash power: We’re often working with lights that don’t pack enough power to be placed out of frame. Although medium-large strobes (like the Profoto B10 or Godox AD200) have become quite popular, they aren’t in everyone’s toolkit.

2. Shooting wide: maybe you are looking to achieve a wider composition but still need to add light to your subject.

3. Creative purposes: maybe you are intending on using your lights to really spotlight your subjects and getting your light stand close to your subject is the easiest way to do this.

Regardless of the reason, this is a useful and simple technique to master, here are the steps. To make this quick, we’ll jump straight to the editing portion of this tutorial, assuming you’ve already shot a “plate image.” If you don’t know what a “plate” shot is, watch the video in full, or start with the section below on “How the Image was Lit and Photographed.”

Posted in PetaPixel by Pye Jirsa

How to Balance Strobe Light with Ambient Light

My name is Jay P. Morgan from The Slanted Lens, and in this 6.5-minute video and article, I’ll illustrate the balance of strobes with ambient light. Whether it’s inside or outside, you’re going to have to learn the formula to balance strobes with ambient light. It’s not that hard, so let’s go back to 1930 and learn the formula!

For this shoot, we are using a Ford 1929 Model A with our two talents, Devyn Howard and Michael Nelson. We’re going to play around with different situations and eventually get to a night shot here. The idea is to balance the strobes with that direct sun and then into an ambient dark setup later on.

So this is the formula you need to understand.

#1: Choose aperture setting

What aperture do you want in the setting? How much depth of field do you want in the shot? f/2.8 is going to be wide open, f/11 is going to be everything in focus.

#2: Match strobe power to aperture setting

#3: Match shutter speed to ambient light

When you balance these two, you get exactly what you want.

Setup #1

Here’s our first setup and we’ll use our formula.

I’ve got our softbox off to camera left here. I chose f/5.6 so there is a little bit of depth of field and I see some detail in the background.

The power of the strobe is perfect on her face.

Setup #2

Here’s a more subtle application of the formula. First off I’m just going to take a shot of the ambient light. I’m going to keep it fairly dark.

As this is a little dark, I just want to brighten it up just a little bit. I’ve gone to f/3.5 because I don’t want as much depth of field because I want the background to fall more out of focus because they are at the car and I can hold them and the car mostly in focus here at f/3.5.

So there we have it; just a kiss of light on their faces.

Setup #3

I love shooting at nighttime because you have complete control of the light. First off, we’re going to combine our strobe with the ambient light we have it the shot from the car lights and the LED in the lantern.

Starting with our aperture, we’re going to do f/4.5. I don’t want to open all the way to f/2.8 because I want enough depth of field to see the front of the car, so f/4.5 becomes what I have to balance my strobe with.

Now that I have my aperture, I’m going to lengthen my shutter until the lights from the car give me a nice ring light on my couple and now I can see the lantern in the foreground really nice.

I’m putting a little LED inside the car back there so I can open up the car just a little bit.

Next, I’m going to add a blue light. This is a Dynalite Baja B4 to camera left and camera right. This opens up the car, the grass, and the whole scene really nicely.

Now the last thing to do is, when I put this into Photoshop, I’m going to open up the shadows a bit and that gives us a nice open scene, even though it’s nighttime.

Conclusion

So that’s how to balance strobes with ambient light. You’ll do it every time you shoot regardless of where you’re at because it’s seldom that you’ll be setting up strobes and you don’t also have an ambient light source you’re balancing to.

Keep those cameras rolling, and keep on clicking.


About the author: Jay P. Morgan is a commercial photographer with over two decades of experience in the industry. He teaches photography through his company, The Slanted Lens, which runs a popular YouTube channel. This article was also published here.