Forums > Photography Talk > Backrop being used outdoors

Photographer

ShotbyRon

Posts: 774

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, US

I am looking to pick up a solid white backdrop. Problem is I need something I can use outdoors. I don't own a studio right now, so making the best of the situation. Would I even be able to do this? What about being able to see through the backdrop on bright sunny days? Any brand I should look for or try to avoid?

Jan 18 13 06:49 am Link

Photographer

Hero Foto

Posts: 878

Phoenix, Arizona, US

Jan 18 13 07:23 am Link

Photographer

Loki Studio

Posts: 3163

Royal Oak, Michigan, US

A solid white backdrop on a regular stand will be a nightmare to use even in a light breeze.  You will need sandbags and braces to keep it upright for more than a few minutes.  Its just a bad idea.

I would work on a location with white walls instead, or work on camera techniques with blurred backgrounds so they are less important.

Jan 18 13 07:40 am Link

Photographer

click snap

Posts: 468

ACE, Texas, US

I've used both seamless paper and cloth backdrops outdoors.  It is a lot of work.  You have to contend with the wind, wrinkles, and the sun, not to mention the time it takes to assemble and secure the backdrop stand.  If you can find a shady area without wind, it will make things better but it still may not be worth the trouble.  It is not worth the trouble for me.  Good luck.

Jan 18 13 07:50 am Link

Photographer

Kaouthia

Posts: 3152

Lancaster, England, United Kingdom

Lighting wise, it's easily doable.  If your background's not bright enough, hang a diffuser or large sheets of ND over your subject to decrease the amount of light hitting them.  Then open up your aperture, or lengthen your shutter speed to bring the exposure of your subject back up to where it should be (which will also brighten up the background)

However...

Loki Studio wrote:
A solid white backdrop on a regular stand will be a nightmare to use even in a light breeze.  You will need sandbags and braces to keep it upright for more than a few minutes.  Its just a bad idea.

^^ This.

If it's breezy, you might find your backdrop turns into a sail or a kite rather quickly. smile

Jan 18 13 07:52 am Link

Photographer

ShotbyRon

Posts: 774

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, US

The collapsible disk looks interesting. I'll have to see if I can't find some photos taken while using one. As far as white walls, I really don't have access to anywhere indoors. (Other then peoples homes) If that were the case I could just set up the backdrop indoors and not worry about it.

I do have access to barns and things of that nature if it gets to windy. But I guess because of the mountains that seems to be very rare.

Jan 18 13 08:27 am Link

Photographer

E Delsigne Photography

Posts: 30

Los Angeles, California, US

I recommend that you don't use real backdrop. Look up creative materials for backdrops. I once used a white backdrop outside and It was the last time I used it. It was trashed!

Hope this helps!

Erin Delsigne Photography
https://www.facebook.com/EDPhotos

Jan 18 13 11:23 am Link

Photographer

Mellisa Reeves

Posts: 57

Swindon, England, United Kingdom

It may benefit you to look up about hiring a studio. Getting all this equipment, and having to set up on location will be an awful lot of faffing around, and you may end up damaging your kit and will keep having to fix/replace it. Costing you more in the long run, but a studio already set up will save you time, and depending on where you were intending to set up these shoots, it will be warm, provide the equipment, your team will have an easier and nicer place to work in, you wont get any infiltrating light, and it shouldn't be too expensive (depending on the studio)

Jan 18 13 12:59 pm Link

Photographer

Silver Mirage

Posts: 1579

Plainview, Texas, US

About the only way I've successfully used a backdrop and stands outdoors is to put it against a wall or fence so I can anchor it. The people who do this sort of thing on a regular basis are the people who can carry a crew to set up and help hold things down.

If you do try it I suggest you use white sheets - the "no iron" poly-cotton variety. They travel well, look OK in the photos and you can wash them as needed. Plus they are cheap enough to replace when damaged or stained. Two queen size (one for the wall, one for the floor) will cover most setups. You'll need a bit of retouch where they meet, but not that much if you're careful.

Be sure you have good anchors and/or reliable assistants on your stand. Last thing you want is a backdrop falling on the model.

Jan 18 13 01:21 pm Link

Photographer

AVD AlphaDuctions

Posts: 10630

Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

find someone with a nice wall. offer to paint it white for them in exchange for permission to shoot once in a while.

Or use fabric, but join a sailing club and take a course in navigation first.

Jan 18 13 01:54 pm Link

Photographer

ShotbyRon

Posts: 774

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, US

Thanks for the tips everyone! I went and bought that collapsible backdrop that someone posted. I figured it would be easy to carry, set up without troubles and hopefully work when I need it. Full body shots might be a bit of a challenge,. But it's better then nothing.

Hopefully some time soon I can find something indoors. But into the mean time I'll work with what I got.

Jan 18 13 07:43 pm Link

Photographer

Hero Foto

Posts: 878

Phoenix, Arizona, US

ShotbyRon wrote:
Thanks for the tips everyone! I went and bought that collapsible backdrop that someone posted. I figured it would be easy to carry, set up without troubles and hopefully work when I need it. Full body shots might be a bit of a challenge,. But it's better then nothing.

Hopefully some time soon I can find something indoors. But into the mean time I'll work with what I got.

those collapsible BG's are only good for head shots ... 3/4's if you push it ...

Jan 18 13 07:54 pm Link

Photographer

J M

Posts: 372

Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Avedon used backdrops on location, you'll just need people to hold it and make sure they don't topple, strong sunlight looks amazing, but also often in the shade, where you may receive less wind in some circumstances, sandbags would still be useful though, just find walls to block the direction? Easily doable.

Jan 18 13 08:02 pm Link

Jan 18 13 08:03 pm Link

Photographer

Rebel Photo

Posts: 11446

Florence, South Carolina, US

forget carry backdrops outdoors... Nature and city scapes provide excellent backdrops, just learn to recognize and exploit them

Jan 18 13 08:09 pm Link

Photographer

Christopher Daemon

Posts: 345

West Hazleton, Pennsylvania, US

I have a few of those collapsible backdrops, I think mine are lastolite, and they can be great indoors, but in all honesty.outdoors, a piece of fabric stretched on a form is nothing but a kite. Even small reflecting discs require decent anchoring or a human to hold it.

Jan 18 13 08:21 pm Link

Photographer

Herman Surkis

Posts: 9559

Victoria, British Columbia, Canada

ShotbyRon wrote:
Thanks for the tips everyone! I went and bought that collapsible backdrop that someone posted. I figured it would be easy to carry, set up without troubles and hopefully work when I need it. Full body shots might be a bit of a challenge,. But it's better then nothing.

Hopefully some time soon I can find something indoors. But into the mean time I'll work with what I got.

Hell of a good price.
My Avi was shot against similar.

Jan 19 13 02:27 am Link

Photographer

Kent Art Photography

Posts: 3122

Ashford, England, United Kingdom

Have you thought about nailing a sheet to a wall?  One for the wall, and one for the ground, perhaps?

Jan 19 13 02:35 am Link

Photographer

ShotbyRon

Posts: 774

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, US

Strength Studios wrote:
I have a few of those collapsible backdrops, I think mine are lastolite, and they can be great indoors, but in all honesty.outdoors, a piece of fabric stretched on a form is nothing but a kite. Even small reflecting discs require decent anchoring or a human to hold it.

I am not sure exactly where you are located in PA. But I'm in central area. We don't really get high winds around here. I guess because of the mountains. I will buy a sandbag. And for those really windy days I'll try to find something indoors if I really need it.

I am hoping to work out a deal with this girl who owns a studio. But as is, her prices are too high for when I do TF work and whatnot.

Jan 19 13 05:33 am Link

Photographer

KMP

Posts: 4834

Houston, Texas, US

Hero Foto wrote:
http://amzn.com/B006QFR04M

I've used them..as tents...in fairly windy conditions. They're a HELL of a lot easier to stake/weight down than C-stands..The sides giving protection from wind is what I like most..

It gives a white backdrop...offers protection from wind .. AND gives consistent, even diffusion from direct sun....  HMMMmmmm.. I'll have to remember that.


Very good and cool idea!

Jan 19 13 06:50 am Link

Photographer

Brian Hubbs Photography

Posts: 68

Chesapeake, Virginia, US

ShotbyRon wrote:
I am looking to pick up a solid white backdrop. Problem is I need something I can use outdoors.

Good luck with that!  A backdrop used outdoors is called a SAIL.

Jan 19 13 07:34 am Link