Today’s Post by Joe Farace.
I think shooting a portrait against a solid color backdrop, like seamless paper, is the ultimate tests of a photographer’s ability to make something from nothing. You’re shooting without a net—naked, even if your subject is wearing clothes. All that stands between you and a good portrait is your imagination.
Because there’s nothing for your subject to interact with, your posing directions are going to have to be more precise than normal and you better cross your fingers that the subject is inner directed because it’s just the two of you.
Backdrops may not be the main focus of a portrait but they not only enhance an image, they can improve it in many ways by placing all the emphasis on the subject.
A background can be as much an important part of the photograph as the person standing or sitting in front of it. Then again, using that same background, unlit and barely visible, the subject becomes the main focus and the background is reduced to a supporting role.
If by selecting the right background, the person being photographed feels special, it helps the final product and ultimately your bottom line. By working with different colored backdrops you can experiment with different designs and textures so you’re ready for anything. When shopping for backgrounds try to find one that complements the subjects without competing with them and that’s why the most classic of all backgrounds is in solid colors like the above portrait.
How I made this shot: I photographed Lori against as a seamless paper alternative; Savage’s affordable ($83.99) Economy Background kit that includes a black polyester backdrop along with support stands The portrait was shot in my home studio using an Olympus EM-10 Mark I and Olympus 45mm f/1.8 lens with an exposure of 1/125 second at f/11 at ISO 400. Lighting was with a Plume Wafer Hexoval 100 was attached to a Purple Haze Alien Bee B800 monolight located at camera right.
New copies of my book, Posing for Portrait and Glamour Photography are available from Amazon for $17.84. Used copies are selling for $17.63, so if you’re an Amazon Prime member the new book might be cheaper because it includes free shipping. Prices are as I write this…