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cheap, seemless gray backdrop equivalent?

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Jon Iverson
cheap, seemless gray backdrop equivalent?
on Jan 10, 2019 at 3:03:58 pm

I've been trying to take a few portraits of myself and family in my home. Unfortunately, the walls don't do well and I am looking for a cheap background that I can put up and take down easily. I initially looked into the cheapest Muslin fabric I see all over online, but reviews seem poor as it seems to have wrinkle issues. The seemless paper seems to be the way to go, but starting at like $30, not including shipping, is a deal breaker for me. I want to use a neutral gray background, not too dark or light. 6x9 foot size, not the big rolls that most of the venders sell. Unfortunately, no photography stores nearby, but there are art stores like Michael's and Hobby Lobby. Would they have the equivalent paper or something that would work? Thanks.


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john sharaf
Re: cheap, seemless gray backdrop equivalent?
on Jan 10, 2019 at 3:13:18 pm

Use a white sheet and keep the light off of it, ratio of foreground light to it will determine grayness

All this at no cost to you

JMHO

JS



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Todd Terry
Re: cheap, seemless gray backdrop equivalent?
on Jan 10, 2019 at 3:21:07 pm

As long as you are doing just head-and-shoulders portraits, you could go to Hobby Lobby or Michaels and get the largest sheet of white (or whatever color) foamcore that they sell. Only a few bucks. If you want a gray backdrop, buy white... white is whatever color you light it. Don't light it fully and you have gray.

If you need something bigger, try a local sign shop. We buy 4x8 sheets of foamcore there (we cut them in half to make 4x4 bounce cards) where we get them for a fraction of the price of what you'd pay at FilmTools or other industry sources.

John's white sheet is the perfect no-cost answer, but you seem to be struggling with wrinkles, which is why I'm suggesting something rigid like foamcore.

T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com



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Jon Iverson
Re: cheap, seemless gray backdrop equivalent?
on Jan 10, 2019 at 3:42:38 pm

The problem is that I really don't have anything to hang a sheet. Right now, I actually do have a white sheet draped across a piece of fishing line I strung from wall to wall. Of course no good due to wrinkles. The paper I could just tape up somewhere, maybe even an existing wall. Space is sort of limited, so really didn't want to have to go and get a proper stand for the sheet. Too bad a closest hanger wouldn't stretch between walls, but too long.

I like the idea of the foamboard, but seems limited up to about 24x36". With a kit lens, it will be tough to not have undesired background at the edges. That is, unless I switched out to my prime 135 mm lens. I never thought about using primes for portraits and certainly haven't tried, so not sure how that would work. Also, less light with the prime. I'm using an umbrella softbox (front closes) with speedlight and I place a white foamboard reflector where needed.


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Jon Iverson
Re: cheap, seemless gray backdrop equivalent?
on Jan 11, 2019 at 6:13:14 pm

Well, it looks like I'm simply going to be able to use one of my white walls, although lighting and using the white sheet for high key might be used at a later date. I find speedlights sort of hit and miss, so the speedlight illumination of the sheet will take some trial and error (all manual flashes). Thanks for all the suggestions here, however.


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