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Old 01-03-2008   #1
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Default Looking for an Easter/Spring backdrop

I'm going to start taking portraits of the children at my church this Easter. It'll be 2 or 3 times per year. I have two Alien Bees 800s and a couple odd strobes. The photographer that shoots at my son's daycare only uses two lights shooting into umbrellas so I'm guessing I should be fine light-wise.

But I don't have any backdrops. I'll need to eventually buy a backdrop stand (trying to see if I can borrow one from someone for this first shoot) and I'll need a backdrop.

There are tons of places to buy these, but since I've never used them before, i don't know what materials to look for, what brands or stores are better than others, etc. So I'm hoping for a little help here.

Does anyone know of some decent starter backgrounds taht would be good for an Easter or Spring shoot? These shots would be for boys and girls from infant to middle teens, so I need to get something that's pretty universal. I guessing I should get one that goes down onto the floor so I can get a full body, so an infant can stand next to a prop, or a toddler can sit in a small rocking chair, etc. Not sure about what I should do for the older kids.

I don't want to spend a fortune for this one as it's my first and I want to be sure that I will enjoy this gig and will be good at it. If it goes well and I get some money out of it, I don't mind getting better stuff.

And I'm not sure what types of backdrops come on rolls vs just wadded or folded up. The child photog at my son's school had a roll-up scene in front of a fireplace and they sat on the wood floor that was printed on it. Was neat.

Any help at all would be great. And before anyone posts the innevitable (you know who you are), yes, I have googled for this, but like I said, there are so many options that I don't know where to begin and I'd like opinions from people I know I can trust.

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Old 01-04-2008   #2
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Default Re: Looking for an Easter/Spring backdrop

Just another idea, if you shoot at/in a church maybe you could find a "natural backdrop" in or outside the church. So the images would be related to that place and day?
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Old 01-04-2008   #3
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Default Re: Looking for an Easter/Spring backdrop

I would buy the backdrop at Backdrop Outlet I got a christmas one there, panied muslin, and its awesome.

The support stand I would buy on ebay, they are fairly cheap
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Old 01-04-2008   #4
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Default Re: Looking for an Easter/Spring backdrop

I would say get a mottled gray one. Then using gels you can make it any color you like. For cheap one, you can check out amvona. For quality stuff, look at SilverLake. They run monthly special where you can buy 10x20 for $150. Nice muslins are quite expensive. I am still waiting for my first one to get shipped soon. Another nice one is Aurabackdrops. Someone also mentioned SayCheeseBackgrounds.

Another option would be to get portable background setup, like from Botero.

For real cheap, you can go to JoAnn's and buy some fabric. I didn't have much luck there as I was looking for something wide like 108".
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Old 01-04-2008   #5
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Default Re: Looking for an Easter/Spring backdrop

I forgot, I think for your case, People Popper from Photek would be quite nice. You get the stand and the heavy background in a portable bag for $150. I think they sell on B&H.

Here is the link

Photekusa.com
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Old 01-04-2008   #6
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Default Re: Looking for an Easter/Spring backdrop

another option is ebay. I picked up a support (2 stands and 4 crossbars) for $60 plus shipping.

I have also picked up several Silver Lake backdrops on ebay for $50-$60 each. Granted, they're only 10x12, but normally go for in excess of $200 each on Silver Lake's website. They're beautiful backdrops, very heavy, nothing will show through them.
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Old 01-07-2008   #7
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Default Re: Looking for an Easter/Spring backdrop

Thanks for the suggestions.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bobbyz View Post
For cheap one, you can check out amvona. For quality stuff, look at SilverLake.
What exactly makes a good one vs a cheap one?

Are all muslins supposed to be wrinkled or are some of the rolled backgrounds muslin, or are they canvas?

Do BGs typically have a hemmed section across the top with a space for you to put a poll through or is there a different type of bg support I need to look into?
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Old 01-07-2008   #8
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Default Re: Looking for an Easter/Spring backdrop

I'm really having a hard time deciding on one backdrop that will be good for both infants and teens and boy and girls.

I was thinking maybe a solid "colorwash" color like purple or something, but I'm not sure what a good color would be that would fit the bill.

I thought about the gel and grey background idea, but I'm guessing that would require more lights, true? I can't buy more lights till I make money from this.

I do have two of these Morris AC Slave flashes in addition to the two Alien Bees, so I guess I can have those on the bg with the gels.

Thoughts?
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Old 01-08-2008   #9
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Default Re: Looking for an Easter/Spring backdrop

CHILDREN and EASTER. These are the two key words I picked up on when Waple posted this. So what comes to mind with children and Easter? Pastels, pink and light blue mainly. You can do two things IMHO, buy two backgrounds, one pink one blue and photograph all the girls first on the pink background, then swap in the blue one and then do all the boys, or buy one that is painted in both pink and blue. You cannot use a pink or blue gel on a white background in an attempt to change the color of the background. Something you may be able to do is use an area of the multi colored background that is predominantly pink just for the girls and the find a similiar are of blue for the boys.

The background will be somewhat darker than what you think it will be and you may also wind up with some shadows from the main and fill lights on the background. To brighten the background up place a low powered flash unit on the background directly behind the subject aimed at the background. This light should be at the same power as the fill light alone.

Most of the parents will want full length images of their children, so plan on "rolling" the background back and up the wall. (See my posting entitled Miss Wells County 2007-08) as to how to do this.

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Old 01-18-2008   #10
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Default Re: Looking for an Easter/Spring backdrop

Well, looks like I have a lot more freedom in this than I previously thought. I wasn't sure if the church would want to use things like easter baskets or fluffy bunnies, but I just received this from the minister:

Quote:

Feel free to use whatever props you consider appropriate. We aren't too hung up on cultural "icons" making there way into the pictures since these are what typically distinguish the pictures as Easter or Christmas photos.
The color for Easter is White and Gold. Most people probably associate pastel colors more with Easter, so those would be fine. Easter baskets are fine. Bunnies are fine. I would probably steer away from an adult sized Easter bunny, though.
I'm still not sure what distinguishes a quality background from a cheap one. Can someone shed some light on this and maybe tell me what to look for or stay away from?


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