Categories
Backdrops for Photoshoots

Studio Backdrop: Bay Window

Working in white makes people look into it. White is ethereal. There’s a purity to it, it makes things look elevated in a way.

-Jonathan Milne, Sculpture
Andrea is wearing the studio’s fabulous mauve robe that is seemingly made from miles and miles of tulle.

When I started the photography studio in 2017 I worked solely with natural light available from a northward facing Bay window. Even in sunny Tucson we occasionally experience overcast and rainy days, on an average of 53 days a year. I need to be able to capture photographs on any day no matter the weather, or the time of day (or evening for that matter).

Therefore, in 2018 I added strobes to my photography gear so I could create any kind of light I want depending upon the style of photographs my client’s need or desire. As a professional photographer it’s critical that my gear enables me to capture the types of images my client’s want me to capture.

Andrea captured in front of the Bay window. An extra layer of drapes were hung for additional texture in the image.

Portrait sessions include images captured with natural light, strobes and a mix of both. I have also added an outdoor farmer’s market canopy to better control the light for photographs captured in my backyard. A favorite set-up with the outdoor canopy is to hang sheer fabrics that sway in the wind and play hide and seek with the rays of the sun. It’s nice having two distinct areas to capture natural light images both inside and outside.

Ali and Coral look ethereal in the glow of the bay window.
It’s always a wonderful day in the studio when Lindsey and Campbell are in front of my lens.
Adalis and her daughters make my heart sing in this soft light.
Miranda chose both light and dark lacey fabrics to wear in front of for the window light for her maternity session. She had a boy!
Lowry and Lindsey are the sweetest sisters. When I discovered Lindsey is a twin I couldn’t get the sisters into the studio fast enough.
Coral is a gifted dancer and it shows in her poise, beautiful posture and pointed toes.
Brigette is lovely in corset and tulle and surrounded by dreamy soft light.
Maddie photographed using only natural light in front of the Bay window.

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.

Categories
Backdrops for Photoshoots Headshots and Personal Branding

Studio Backdrop: Seamless Paper

The single most important component of a camera is the twelve inches behind it.

–Ansel Adams
This image of Maddie was inspired by Stuart Weitzman’s shoe campaigns.

A 9-foot wide roll of white seamless paper is a staple at the studio. In addition to white, seamless paper is available in 55 colors which makes it an ideal choice for personal branding photoshoots to complement your branding colors. Seamless paper is also a terrific option for fashion-inspired images providing a commercial look.

A lighter toned portfolio of images can include photographing against the white V-Flats, textured light gray backdrop, warm gray backdrop, and window light through the Bay window.

White seamless paper provides a commercial, fashion-style look to a photoshoot.
Maddie is wearing a black bodysuit accessorized with a cage skirt. There are bodysuits to compliment every body type. Cosmopolitan magazine proclaimed that the bodysuit is one of the “7 items of clothing that look good on absolutely everyone.” This may come as a bit of a surprise because bodysuits look terrible on a hangar, but when you find the right one, with the right fit, the bodysuit beautifully shapes a figure. The bodysuit also looks great paired with fishnet stockings, thigh-high hosiery or boots, a motorcycle jacket, tuxedo tails, and corset belts, to name just a few ideas.
Savannah wanted to capture edgy fashion-inspired images. Mission accomplished. Makeup by Areli Jones-Acosta and hair by Claudia Ratcliffe, the owner of Alluminare Salon.
Miranda was photographed towards the end of her pregnancy. She gave birth to a handsome baby boy who is absolutely adorable. Maternity photos are treasured keepsakes for a lifetime and beyond for the next generations.

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.

Life is like photography. You focus on what’s important. Capture the good times. Develop from the negatives and if things don’t work out just take another shot.

–Unknown
Categories
Backdrops for Photoshoots Headshots and Personal Branding

Studio Backdrop: White V-Flats

The question is no longer IF you have a personal brand, but if you choose to guide and cultivate the brand or let it be defined on your behalf.

-Shama Hyder
Capturing a personal branding portrait at 3/4 length provides flexibility in cropping the image for a variety of uses.

Two sided white and black V-Flats are perhaps the hardest working equipment in my studio. They are predominately used to control light. The white side bounce light and the black side absorbs light. Both the white and black sides can also be used as backdrops.

Renoir said once that nothing was so difficult, and at the same time so exciting, to paint, as white on white.

-Ambroise Vollard, French Contemporary Artsit 1866-1939

When I employ a white V-Flat as a backdrop it tends to be for personal branding images. The truth is pretty much everyone in business needs a professional headshot on a light background. The old adage is true, “You only have one chance to make a first impression.” This is also true of your online presence whether your headshot is featured on LinkedIn, your website, social media platforms, or dating service.

Maddie in the foreground and the tall V-Flats are stacked up like accordion cards in the background.

“A series of experiments by Princeton psychologists Janine Willis and Alexander Todorov reveal that all it takes is a tenth of a second to form an impression of a stranger from their face, and that longer exposures don’t significantly alter those impressions (although they might boost your confidence in your judgments). Their research is presented in their article “First Impressions,” in the July issue of Psychological Science.”

-Association for Psychological Science

The white V-Flats, depending upon the lighting set-up, can be pure white or have a gradient from white to gray.

Elise is a participant in the Wise Women: 50 over 50 Project. She incorporated a personal branding set into her photoshoot. She is makeup artist who owns Boomer and Beyond Beauty LLC.
Personal branding headshot for Hilda, owner of Morava Services & Consulting, LLC located in Tucson, Arizona.
Dan is the owner of Danwidth, a Tucson-based company that creates customized website solutions.

White V-Flats aren’t just for capturing personal branding, this series of fun “dancing” portraits” were captured with the white V-Flats acting as a backdrop.

A “9-Up” portrait collection of Jaquesha.

And, of course, we can have a bit of fun too. White V-Flats don’t have to be all about serious business.

Savannah visited the studio to add images to her modeling portfolio.

The studio’s gray backdrops also work well for headshots, in particular the Light Gray.

Black V-Flats are also frequently used in personal branding sessions.

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.

Categories
Backdrops for Photoshoots

Studio Backdrop: Warm Light Gray

In nature, light creates the color. In the picture, color creates the light.

-Hans Hofmann
Andrea photographed in front of the studio’s big bay window to add a base layer of natural light and then a strobe is added to give the light direction.

White, black and gray are essential in every wardrobe and this concept applies to backdrops as well. My general rule is to photograph lighter tones on lighter backdrops and darker tones on darker backdrops. Gray is the exception to the rule. As you can see with Andrea’s cover image there isn’t too much contrast between the lighter gray backdrop and her black shirt. It is subtle, but you can also see that Andrea’s blonde hair is complimented by the ochre color that was added as a golden accent to the backdrop.

The tones in this backdrop are cream, light gray and ochre. I had to photograph each backdrop before I could declare it finished. Backgrounds tend to look different in a photograph than they do lying on the floor.

In addition to this warm light gray backdrop, the studio has a variety of gray backdrops in hues that range from lighter to darker:

Light Gray | Blue-Gray | Portable Medium Gray | Charcoal Gray

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.

Categories
Backdrops for Photoshoots Tutorial

Studio Backdrop: Old Masters Brown

There is a vast difference between taking a picture and making a photograph.

-Robert Heinecken
Andrea captured in a chiaroscuro-style photograph featuring the studio’s new textured brown backdrop.

Old Masters refers to a group of renowned European painters that spanned the time period of roughly 1300 to 1800, from the early Renaissance through the Romantic movement. Some instantly recognizable names of Old Masters are Rembrandt van Rijn, Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, and Caravaggio, to name only a few.

When perusing through a collection of Old Masters’ paintings, frequently the backgrounds are deep brown and textured giving an overall warmth to the scene. Brown and helps colors such as white, ivory, orange red and gold to pop on the canvas. Brown does not have a spot on the color spectrum. The color is made by mixing red (or orange), yellow and black (or blue).

The color brown is reportedly the least favorite color of the general public and yet a section of the Old Masters’ portraitists found that earthy brown enabled brighter colors to pop on a canvas. As for me, brown is the color of a few of my favorite things: chocolate, coffee, oak barrels (especially when aging red wine), yummy carbolicious russet potatoes, the beautiful Sonoran desert and raptors, in particular owls.

Top Row Left to Right: Rembrandt (1606-1669), Van Dyke (1599-1641) , Rembrandt Bottom Row left to Right: Bagilone (1566-1643), Rembrandt, Velázquez (1599-1660)

Rembrandt, Caravaggio and van Dyck, among others, employed a style of painting called chiaroscuro. This effect has a monochrome look where the subject’s wardrobe matches the background so that the subject’s features illuminate out of the darkness. The most popular color for creating this effect is brown.

The most difficult part of painting for me is selecting the colors for the project. Without a plan in place the paint sample display at a retail store will look like a big confusing grid of color. To hone in on the best colors for your project it is really helpful to have a color reference in hand to either make a match to the free color samples, or have the paint retailer run a color match.

When I initially thought I was painting one double-sided backdrop I agonized over the colors. The painterly style photographs I make generate the biggest buzz. Many of those images were photographed on textured gold and red backdrops. I wanted a darker option that was not too black and not too brown, but just right.

Black V-flats are featured as a backdrop in nearly every photoshoot. It’s a versatile background that has a gradient look to it with tones of white and gray where the light is prominent. Model: Chrisie Ballard.

I like photographing clients against a black V-Flat, which is a polystyrene board. In a photograph it looks like more of a charcoal gray gradient than solid black. My sister, Juliette advised that the best way to compare colors is to take the reference material into the sun and compare it to the paint sample cards to identify the best match. So that’s what we did. After viewing the polystyrene board in the sun, the paint we selected had a blue cast to the black, which I did not anticipate. The color brown that we chose is a Behr flat interior paint called espresso bean. It is definitely a rich brown that has a black undertone to it.

Performing the sun test with the black polystyrene board and various paint samples.

My big mistake right from the get go is that I inadvertently purchased an oil based primer. I didn’t know that oil-based primers were still available to purchase. I was a little confused when I tried to thin the primer with water and the primer wouldn’t mix with the water. This was a bit of a head scratcher for me. And I’m embarrassed to say I didn’t figure it out until after I completed painting both sides of the backdrop using a whopping two gallons of primer on the 12×15 canvas. This also means that the primer alone on the canvas weighs in at a little less than 20 pounds.

I woke up one morning and the first thing that popped into my brain was that I had somehow purchased an oil-based primer instead of latex. And that’s why the oil and water weren’t mixing together into a smooth emulsion. Plus the oil primer has a strong aroma, much more so than latex paint. Doh! Sure enough, when I checked the empty can it clearly read oil based primer on the label.

Painting the base color of Espresso Bean by Behr with an inexpensive roller. Thinning the paint with water and then applying it randomly creates texture.

The problem is that over the long haul latex paint may not adhere to an oil-based primer. I couldn’t get a clear answer from multiple sources on whether the paint will indeed peel over time. Unfortunately, the part of the backdrop that flows onto the floor is peeling a bit already from normal wear and tear of furniture movement during photoshoots. So while the oil primer was a mistake, perhaps even a regrettable one over the long haul, I do think the oil primer lent a richness to the finish that is clearly different from the acrylic over acrylic backdrops that I painted.

Despite my whopper of a mistake, I am really happy with how this backdrop turned out. The rich brown is a neutral color, which means all warm colors look great against it as do most of the cool colors, especially the lighter hues.

A little air in the hair is one of my favorite things for longer tresses.

Link to the studio’s portfolio.

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