Photography Backdrops And How To Select The Best One For You

You've studied all the different camera settings and by now you've learned all about the difference between shutter speed and f-stop. Thanks to your studies of lighting patterns, the difference between butterfly and split lighting is an obvious no brainer … Now, it's time to consider the backdrop.

In my experience, having over 6000 professional sessions under my belt, MOST people prefer to have a natural setting rather than a formal backdrop.

For example …

If you're shooting Indoors – possibilities may include placing your subjects on the floor around the fireplace, (always have a fire burning or it appears as nothing but a black hole in the final print), or they could be posed on and around their furniture in the living room, etc.

Outside portraits could be in their back yard, at the beach, a local park, etc. Anyplace that has meaning for THEM!

Most people just want a beautiful portrait that singles them out as individuals – rather than just another group posed in front of the same old pull down screen that everyone else uses.

Whenever possible, ALWAYS try for a location that has meaning for THEM …

However, if you must use a formal backup, here are a few suggestions …

First – buy a commercially available background stand to hold your backdrops. They do not cost much and for ease of use, stability, transportability etc. it's better than making your own.

For this discussion, I'm assuming you DO NOT own a professional portrait studio and are doing your sessions in your home (or your customer's home).

There are several types of backdrop materials:

Paper- Large rolls of paper come in most any color you can imagine. They can be purchased at many local camera stores and are relatively inexpensive.

Pros – They are readily available – are fairly inexpensive – come in most any color you can imagine. They can be used in a "sweep" so the model (s) can sit or stand on the paper and have it seamlessly up up behind them. Paper rolls come in two basic widths (around 4 feet and around 9 feet as I recall, I do not often use them).

Cons – The smaller size is not wide enough for much more than a head shot while the wider size is very heavy – difficult to transport – and most homes do not have enough "empty" space to sweep it without moving around the furniture. (People really do not like you redecorating for them!) The paper gets dirty, gets creased, tears and has to be constantly replaced. If there are animals in the session, the papery feel and crinkly sounds freak them out.

Painted Canvas – These can provide some truly stunning portraits. Many back suppliers create them and they can be ordered over the internet if you do not happen to be near a supplier.

Pros – Depending on the creator, they can be stunningly beautiful. There are thousands of colors and patterns available and if you have something unique in mind, you can have one created just for you, to match your exact specifications. They are very durable and will last years. They come in many sizes and can be used in a seamless sweep.

Cons – They are EXPENSIVE! EXPENSIVE! EXPENSIVE! Again, like paper, the wider ones are heavy, difficult work with and to transport. Like paper, size vs. living room furniture is a challenge.

Seamless paper and canvas backgrounds tend to be the province of professional studios – where they can be mounted on the walls and just folded down when needed.

They are really difficult to work with in the field.

I recommend that you go to the fabric store and get strips of material. As wide as is available and about 12 feet long. Getting some sort of material that either does not easily wrinkle, or where wrinkles will not matter is best.

Pros – Choose the type and colors you like, you can get any color, style and texture that suits your fancy. It can be hung bunched up (like theater curtains) behind the subject, or stretched flat if only one piece is needed. One piece can also be used as a seamless sweep.

You can use one piece or thirty – no matter how wide your back needs are, you can easily accommodate them.

It's easy to store and transport (just fold up the strips and put them in a box in the back seat of your car!) Material is very inexpensive compared to a painted canvas (which can run into the thousands of dollars) It's reusable so it works out to be cheaper than paper in the long run.

Use another piece of two for the flooring and since it's flexible, it can be flowed around furniture. Animals have no problem walking on it. (It's washable too!).

Cons – If you want multiple strips (and you do!), You may have difficulty finding enough of the same material. If you live near the garment district in a large city, they may have it. Otherwise you may have to have your local fabric store special order it for you.

These are the major background considerations and you should have no trouble finding the perfect backdrops for YOUR creative vision!

Australian Outback Vacations In Nullarbor

If you want to experience the ultimate in road trips, look no further than the Nullarbor Plain. Nullarbor is derived from two Latin words meaning "no trees" and this is a very accurate description of the area. Although arid and barren, there is not only incredible beauty in this land, but also lots to see. Covering 77,000 square miles, Nullabor is one of the largest semi arid Karst deserts in the world. The gateway to the desert is the Nullarbor Roadhouse, a motel and service station located next to the historic Nullarbor Homestead. North of here are the Murrawijinie Caves which can be toured with National Parks officers. The desert is home to a large network of caves which are dramatically cut into the rocks, and are often multiple kilometers wide.

East of the roadhouse is the Head of Bight, a popular whale watching spot. Here southern right whales can be viewed from May to the end of October as they congregate in groups of up to one hundred individuals. Boardwalks take visitors to lookouts where they can see the whales and also enjoy the breathtaking view of the cliffs that drop from the Nullabor Plain into the ocean below. Another area that should be a stop on all itineraries is the Nullarbor Bunda Cliffs, a series of lookouts that stretch for over two hundred kilometers.

Along the way, try a stop in Iron Knob, and trace the town's importance in the steel industry at the Mining Museum. More than just a place to stop for services, Nundroo offers excellent fishing, surfing, and local history. If you are interested in Aboriginal culture, stop at the Ceduna Aboriginal Arts and Culture Center, where you'll find authentic art and gifts, and the Language Center that is working to preserve the many varied Aboriginal languages.

Cross Pens Make Outstanding Gifts

If you need a special gift for a special occasion, birthday, graduation or special holiday gift; consider the gift of a Cross Pen.

It can be hard to find a good gift for a graduate. A Cross Pen will make an outstanding gift for the graduate that is just going forth into the professional world. First impressions are everything on job interviews and when networking. Having a really nice pen to take down important names, numbers or notes just looks more professional than a leaking, blotting cheap pen.

You can further personalize your gift of a Cross Pen by having it engraved. People tend to keep specially engraved gifts for years upon years. Cross pens can be refilled and used again and again so the engraved gift you give will be useful forever to your pen recipient.

If you need a special gift for your Dad for Father’s Day, consider a Cross Pen with a special message. If your father has retired, the pen will still come in useful for jotting down notes, signing necessary documents and even just writing checks to pay the bills. Choose a humorous saying that means something between you, a simple “I Love You” or his initials will all make great engravings for the pen.

Along with an engraved Cross Pen, you can make the gift complete with either a personalized portfolio to hold appointments (written with a Cross Pen of course); and add in a leather Cross Pen holder for the person that travels or is on the go. The holder fits right into a carry on bag, suit pocket or purse and keeps their Cross Pen neatly tucked away until it is needed.

Cross Pens are constructed to be high quality, non-leaking and always deliver a clean line. This attention to detail in their design has made Cross Pens one of the most recognized names for fine writing instruments around the globe. An engraved pen is an outstanding gift for your groomsmen or bridesmaids. You can have the special date you all celebrated together engraved on the pen and give each of your wedding attendants a special pen as a memento of their participation in your special day.

If you’ve been searching for a good gift and you want to get a special someone a gift that they can use for years to come, consider a personalized Cross Pen that lets them know that they are special to you and they are often in your thoughts, even when they don’t see you face to face.

Planning the Perfect Hawaiian Honeymoon

Whether you're getting married in Hawaii or just planning your honeymoon there, you definitely want to speak with some of the locals about the activities there. They will give you a different perspective about things to do and where to stay. You can also plan a wedding and honeymoon in Hawaii and have some of your wedding vendors help you with your honeymoon plans.

Because of the abundant splendor in Hawaii, your honeymoon will be filled with moonlit walks on the beach, drinks at sunset, and romance in the air. Few places can bring romance to your honeymoon the way that Hawaii can and you deserve it.

This is outside of the fact that Hawaii is native to many different kinds of tropical flowers, adding to the perfume of the air that comes so naturally. There is little to compare to the fragrance of tropical Hawaiian flowers in the air while snuggling with a loved one on the beach. Make sure you pick the right island for you Hawaiian honeymoon so you've always wanted. Do your research ahead of time and then talk with your local travel specialist so you can have the perfect honeymoon in Hawaii.

You can choose between any of the various vacationing spots in Hawaii, but it is often recommended to do one destination for a couple of days and then hop on over to another island to finish out your Hawaiian honeymoon.

Do not worry if you've been to Hawaii several times and you're not sure that you wan to honeymoon in Hawaii because it will not be special. All the circumstances have changed since you were there and it will be different with your new spouse in a tropical paradise. Plan on visiting several local sites, not just those for tourists, so you can experience Hawaii on honeymoon. Live like the locals for a few days and learn why so many people are attracted to Hawaii in the first place. Make sure your transportation is arranged ahead of time so you do not overspend on tour buses to take you places. Then you can explore the island on your own as well.

If you are thinking about the perfect Hawaiian honeymoon, keep thinking. There are so many things to choose from when it comes to planning a honeymoon of this sort, but there is nothing more romantic than a Hawaiian honeymoon. It screams tradition and is the perfect follow-up to a traditional American wedding.