Background Holder on a Budget

I love using seamless paper for a background. I have lots of different ways that I use seamless paper and I always keep plenty of different lengths and colors on hand. Over the years I found that the papers I use the most are my 53″ white, 53″ black and 53″ grey seamless papers. They are perfect for product shoots and they make a great background on portrait shoots. The 53″ length is a great size for a single person or a couple (even though you may need to fix the edges in Photoshop) and you can easily set it up by yourself. 107″ wide paper rolls are the ultimate, especially for large groups, but they can be a bit difficult to take out to locations. I use 107″ rolls of paper but I usually shoot individuals and couples so 53″ wide has always worked fine for my location work.

My favorite thing about 53″ rolls of seamless paper (besides it’s portability) is that they’re crazy cheap. 12 yards of white seamless paper runs about $25 from B&H photo and I use white paper a lot. With a roll of white paper you can create a white, grey, black or colored background (depending on how you light it) so it’s super versatile.

But just having rolls of paper won’t do you much good if you don’t have a way to put it up.

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the Cape Lookout Lighthouse

On a recent vacation to the coast of North Carolina I had a chance to visit the Lighthouse at Cape Lookout (located on the Cape Lookout National Sea Shore). I’ve been sharing some pictures from my trip on my social media sites like Google+ and Facebook but I thought I’d compile some of my favorite shots from my trip into a single page along with a few facts and some history I learned while I was there.

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Dusk Photography (with Flash)

Location photography is all about showing your environment and making it look like someplace others want to visit. Location portraiture is all about getting great portraits and including a cool background (but not letting the environment dominate the shot). An easy way to get killer shots (and tone down the background in your portraits) is to shoot early in the morning or really close to sunset. Having a little less brightness in your background lets you bring out your own lights to take control of your final shot.

Whenever I walk into a location shoot I start by looking around and trying to figure out the story I want to tell with my final image. Sometimes I see my shot immediately and sometimes I have to search a bit to find my image. The bottom line is that you have to look past what’s in front of you and think about what it could become. For this blog entry I’ll be talking about how I get into the mindset of finding my shot and how I work through the process of setting up a shot using small flashes.

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Photographing Peaches in a Moving Vehicle

During a recent trip to the Shenandoah National Park I spent my day photographing all sorts of scenic overlooks, animals (including some bears), sunsets and getting some shots of the world going by as we made our way along the Skyline Drive.

Getting motion shots is something I’ve been doing for years (my automotive clients use them for creating composite images of new cars that can’t be taken out on public roads). There’s something I really like about a shot that makes you feel like your moving. Add in some additional interesting elements and you can really make some awesome shots. The difficult part of making this kind of shot is all of the planning (and getting perfect weather) and getting your camera mounted as solidly as possible. For this blog entry I’ll talk a bit about how I take these kinds of shots and the equipment I use to make them happen.

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