Seamless Paper & Alternative Backdrops

February 28 is the 59th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. There are 306 days remaining until the end of the year (307 in leap years).

Making a portrait a subject against a solid color backdrop, like seamless paper, is the ultimate tests of one’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.

They may not be the main focus of a portrait but backdrops can not only enhance an image, they can improve it in many ways by simplifying the background, placing all of the emphasis on the subject. A scenic 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 lone. By working with different colored but neutral 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 it and that’s why the most classic of all backgrounds is in solid color colors.

I photographed Lori against as a seamless paper alternative—Savage’s affordable ($83.99) Economy Background kit with the black backdrop—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.

On this blog there are lots of posts about portrait posing. Use the Search box on the upper right-hand corner and type “posing” to find appropriate posts. If you want something lasting, please pick up a copy of my book “Posing for Portrait and Glamour Photography from Amazon and help support this blog.

Author: Joe Farace

Share This Post On