Backdrops for Photoshoots Tutorial

Studio Backdrop: Vibrant Olive

Green is the prime color of the world, and that from which its loveliness arises.

-Pedro Calderon de la Barca
A three-quarter length portrait of Andrea. I particularly like how the dress matches her skin. The green backdrop has a touch of peachy orange tint to it.

A couple of years ago I purchased an olive green backdrop. I really liked how it photographed but didn’t use it often because it is small measuring about 4′ x 6′. It’s fine for photographing one person, but even then, most of the time I had to expand the backdrop when retouching the image in Photoshop.

The less time I need to spend in Photoshop the better. People seem to think there is a magic wand in Photoshop (which ironically there is a tool in Photoshop called magic wand but it’s powers are limited to making selections and masking… in other words, not a Harry Potter-style magic wand). All that sitting during retouching is slowly killing me – not joking – so the more I can get the image right in camera, the better.

Laura, a Wise Women: The 50 Over 50 Project participant, included her daughters, Valerie and Andrea, in two sets during her photoshoot. They were the first to be photographed on this hand painted backdrop.

This is a long way of communicating to you that the goal was to create a larger olive green backdrop that replicated the color of the small backdrop so I could photograph more than one person against it. As I described in the Old Masters Brown blog post, I brought the olive backdrop outside along with paint samples from Home Depot to assist with selecting the closest colors for the new backdrop.

For this backdrop I used a big brush to pound the wet colors together on the canvas to roughly blend and add texture. I’d refine areas using a sea sponge to blend.

The end result, interestingly enough, produced a more vibrant green than I anticipated. The smaller olive green backdrop is subdued and delivers almost an Old Masters oil painting tone for a background. The olive backdrop that I painted delivers a bigger punch of color that I did not expect, but quite like. It’s not what I was aiming for, but I’m happy nonetheless. Because this:

Interested in learning more about what the studio has to offer? Click on the following links to jump to the studio’s portfolio of images, and download a digital copy of the studio’s Magazine and Style Guide to learn how to prepare for your photoshoot:

Link to the studio’s portfolio.

Link to the studio’s Free Magazine and Style Guide.