Take your photography to the next level and beyond...

  • NEWS

Why not join for free today?

Join for Free

Your total photography experience starts here

shooting with backdrops

9 Nov 2012 2:40PM
hi all, as some of you may know if you reconize my username is that i recently became the owner of a Nikon p510 bridge camera after owning just basic 100~ the many years before that from my early 20s to now like i say in my late 20s (28) owning a p510

as i have moved onto much better shooting equipment which i have now done i am now also looking to move into shooting for a living and as a job in a way, not so much so as how some of you are, because lets face it i am still only a beginner so i have a learning curve in front of me that i have to get around before i start shooting properly for a living, so for now i would class it as more shooting portraits of people that i know so that its more like half job, half hobby, while charging the people i know and possibly even people i dont know very much nothing at all or a fee like 10-20 just to cover my travel fare for example

now moving onto the topic title... as i have already said i am beginner with all of this, only previously having shot what i enjoy the most, so wildlife, landscapes, macro etc. and i want to start shooting portraits of peoples kids or pets or families (like mother, father and baby for example) but what i want to know is what equipment i need, i already have my recently purchased Nikon P510 and i am now looking to purchase backdrops like this backdrop kit amazon.co.uk/Professional-Photo-Studio-With-Backdrop/dp/B004WDHRHK/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1352470632&sr=8-1 and of course i need all the assistance i can get from this point forward, if i buy that, is it an absolute must that i also need lighting along with a kit like that or could i get away with just my camera and a backdrop kit like that while still maintaining decent images, all i am looking for is decent looking images, images that look better than having no backdrop, otherwise i would only be shooting portaits of people in homes, so with sofas etc in the background of my image

i am also hoping i do not need lighting, as i would not be able to carry that about with me, i don't drive so have to get public transport like buses and trains to places i need to get to

i guess there should be more i have written about what i want to achieve etc. but from what i have written i hope i have given you a good understanding of the question i am trying to get out there to reach all of you that could possibly help me

anyway, thanks for reading

Join ePHOTOzine for free and remove these adverts.

arhb Plus
10 3.4k 68 United Kingdom
9 Nov 2012 3:07PM
Hi kev and welcome to epz Smile
Use your lack of equipment as a challenge.
Consider using any available natural light to light your subjects,
and also to find a suitable natural background to use with the natural light - in someones house, a plain neutral wall will work, and outside many natural elements will work, so you need to experiment.
You will learn more about your genre with the limitations you have, and how to make the most of them.

Learn to use your bridge camera in full manual mode, so that you learn about exposure and depth of field,
as this will make you use your camera to it's full potential.
9 Nov 2012 3:15PM
thanks for the reply arhb, very nice response right there, i like the sound of the advice you have given me and thank you for the helpful advice

and yes i can understand that using it in full manual is the best way to go, i will not jump straight in at the deep end straight away, but i will certainly be using it to train myself that i become a better photographer and so that it can also result in better photos and more creative ones, and exposure and depth of field is defiantly subjects i need to learn more about, just as learning to get the right shutter speed and aperture allso which i have been experimenting with lately, i understand getting the right aperture can get you the blurred background look which i absolutely love in photos (i think the proper name is bokeh?)

however after setting my cameras minimum and maximum aperture in aperture priority mode i have yet to achieve this bokeh look, but i guess there is alot more to it than just getting the aperture right which i guess is why i have failed so far in getting bokeh type photos when i want them

thanks again for the reply Smile
arhb Plus
10 3.4k 68 United Kingdom
9 Nov 2012 3:23PM
The lack of bokeh might be due to focal length.
The blurry backgrounds will always be better with a longer focal length eg 200mm rather than 20mm.
Always use F2.8 aperture rather than F16.
Maybe experiment with macro mode also.
9 Nov 2012 4:42PM
so the smaller the number the better for bokeh shots? and i dont think my p510 can go to F16 anyway, i think its highest number is like F8 or something like that? not sure as dont have my camera to hand right now

and where you said the longer the focal length the better for bokeh, so its better that i am as far back from the subject as possible and zoom in as much as possible while still keeping them in the photo and of course in focus to get a bokeh look easier?

and i have achieved the bokeh look on one photo, i did a macro shot on a spider, i zoomed in slightly to reach the spider and in macro mode i got this result (see link below), so i guess it does indeed come down to me just getting the composition right, if thats the right word to use?

here is the shot, with the house in the background of the shot blurred http://www.flickr.com/photos/kevcampbell/8169727545/in/photostream
Jestertheclown 9 7.7k 252 England
9 Nov 2012 5:01PM
You might want to look at this

. . . or this.

They're aimed at DSLR users (and I believe that you would get a better effect using one because the sensor is larger) but the theory is the same.

9 Nov 2012 5:09PM
thanks, i will have a go of that website, looks quite interesting and fun to use

if i ever do get a dslr though it will not be for many years, and on top of that, my p510 was only purchased just the other week, so no plans for a dslr, not yet anyway
Paul Morgan 17 19.1k 6 England
9 Nov 2012 9:11PM
If your going to use backgrounds, cloths and the like, your going to need light modifiers of some sort, at the very least a 5 in one reflector.

And these fold up backgrounds will be a whole lot easier to transport and setup, they also require a lot less space.

puertouk 6 1.1k 17 United Kingdom
10 Nov 2012 10:54AM
If I were you, I would do it for free to start with. This type of photography could set you back a lot of money. Also, what about post processing? PS6 or maybe Lightroom? You then need to start thinking of lighting. Get a lighting setup and then practice as much as possible, trying different settings to see how your shots turn out. I would do it with tethered shooting with Lightroom, where you will see straight away how it looks.

If people are paying, they want good pro results.
10 Nov 2012 11:03AM
hi there, photoshop cs5 is something i already have, not sure what lightroom is? only know of photoshop and photoshop elements

so if lighting is a must as you say and the personm before you said, what is the cheapest way to go? for lighting, as for backdrop i am looking for something that costs 30-40 which there was on amazon which come with a bag, that fold up backdrop is out of my price range for just a backdrop

tethered shooting with lightroom, what is this?
arhb Plus
10 3.4k 68 United Kingdom
10 Nov 2012 11:25AM
Kev, this , this, and this , were all taken with natural light and processed with photoshop - tethered lightroom is not needed.
10 Nov 2012 12:36PM
love the last 2 arhb, did you take those? if so was that just pure photoshop or were any additional filters used? i guess the last one is easy to achieve, the first 2 though complicated but challengingSmile
Jestertheclown 9 7.7k 252 England
10 Nov 2012 12:55PM
For the moment, I think that you should forget about photography as a job and just take these shots in exchange for costs and/or favours.
You can only shoot in Jpeg. using that camera, so Lightroom, which is predominantly a tool for converting RAW images wouldn't be much use to you and for what you're planning, tethering to anything won't be necessary. In fact, I'm not sure that it will even be possible.
I'd also forget about getting any kind of "professional" lighting set-up as well. Anything worthwhile will set you back a lot more than you want to spend. More, probably, than you paid for your camera and anyway, I think that you'll be limited to using just the on-camera flash. I stand to be corrected but I don't think that you can atach any external light sources to that camera.
Instead, learn how to use existing light sources. Place your models (victims!?) next to a window, there's still some good natural light to be had, even at this time of year, if you choose the correct time of day.
Shoot outdoors. The same will apply to the light there. You just need to be selective.
Instead of lights, get a set of cheap reflectors; I think that someone's already said that, or better still, as an experiment, take some practice shots of a friend/your sister/your neighbour's dog, using pieces of white cardboard, so that you see the difference that they make.
Don't spend any money unless you absolutely have to. Keep it simple and learn how to maximise what you've got rather than thinking that you need all kinds of equipment to improve your results,. You don't.
These days, I use a DSLR but I used to and still sometimes do use a Fuji S5700 bridge camera which has served me well for a long time but with similar restrictions to those that you'll be facing.
I got some pretty good results using it, including taking shots of friends and/or their children, many of which have ended up as A4 prints on their sideboards, so it can be done.
Almost all of those shots were taken using natural light because I found the built-in one too harsh and I never spent a penny on backdrops, lights, reflectors, in fact, any kind of extra gear.
I did, though, spend ages practicing and taking on board as much advice as I could find.
There's no reason why you can't get the same results.
You just need to learn how.


Edit: I should also have said that I've never been paid for a photograph in real money in my life.
Every one that I've taken and processed etc. for these people has been 'paid for' with lifts (I don't drive either), bars of chocolate etc.
User_Removed 8 4.6k 1 Scotland
10 Nov 2012 12:58PM

tethered shooting with lightroom, what is this?

Tethered shooting (with Lightroom or any other suitable program that supports it) simply means that you shoot with your camera "tethered" to your computer, either with a cable or via WiFi. That way you can get a far better idea of the results immediately than you would see on your camera LCD screen.

If you are not familiar with Lightroom, download a free trial of it from the Adobe website. I probably do 90% of my photo-processing (and all my workflow management) in Lightroom and only go near CS6 for the very odd task. If you are just starting out, then this is the ideal time to begin using Lightroom.

Serious portrait work probably needs a minimum of three lights (or two and a reflector) and, from what you say, that may be well outside your budget at present. Using natural light as arhb suggested is very specialised but very satisfying and capable of striking results if really studied. Even then, a decent reflector can be a great help.
10 Nov 2012 1:10PM
thanks for the advice jester and leftforum, with advice comes knowledge and learning, i will take the advice i have been given on board and try to shoot with what i have within my budget, so for me that obviously means no backdrops or lighting and maximizing what i can get out of natural lighting which is obviously going to be the learning part of it all, which i will enjoy i am sure, as my favourite types of photography is landscape, wildlife and outdoor macro shots, so thats all outdoors under the natural light

someone recommended this book to me earlier, deciding on whether to buy it or not, not sure what you all think, but as always, any sort advice and tips are welcome in any way at all

thanks again jester for the lengthy post of advice and leftforum for letting me know what tethered shooting is, and of course thanks to the rest of you who have replied so far aswell

Sign In

You must be a member to leave a comment.

ePHOTOzine, the web's friendliest photography community.

Join For Free

Upload photos, chat with photographers, win prizes and much more.