The Beauty of the Gray backdrop

One of the most significant features of any studio is the ability to have control over the light. The other is the choice of background. Backgrounds vary in complexity and construction. Often the background consists of a simple sheet of paper or fabric backdrop. These come in a variety of colors and textures providing a wide range of choices for image creation. It is not always practical to have every type and color of backdrop on hand.

Fortunately, there is an alternative to having multiple colors of paper or fabric. Enter the gray backdrop.  Light takes on the color of any object it hits, this is referred to as producing a “color cast”.  Since white, gray and black objects don’t have a “color” as such they do not produce a color cast. Gray backdrops are particularly good at taking on the color of colored light that hits them.

The examples above are the result of colored light hitting a gray backdrop. The intensity of the light can be varied to get various color densities in the background. Colored gels are placed in front of the light source(s) to color the light. The variety of color combinations are limited only by one’s imagination.

Another option to achieve multiple backgrounds with a simple gray backdrop is to change it at the post-production stage.

The gray color lends itself to blending with colored images as it does not influence the actual color of the image or pattern being blended in, just the intensity of the pattern. The images above were photographed against a gray paper backdrop and the backgrounds added in later.

Using these techniques opens up a host of options for the look and style of the image one creates while having the convenience of needing just one backdrop. Please stop by www.pixyst.com to see more examples of my photography or contact me via photo@pixyst.com to find out a host of imaging solutions I can put at your service.

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Actor and Model Headshots

As an actor or a model, you trade in your visual appeal. Your headshot is not just for identification, it is your calling card and the best way to make a first impression. models_beautYour headshot is a way to convey your personality at a glance. Yes, people make snap judgments based on appearance and you want that to work out in your favor.  Even for experienced models, it helps to get effective direction from the photographer because you can’t see yourself while you’re posing 🙂

Very often in castings, the headshot photo will determine whether or not an actor/actress/model makes the first cut.

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For new talent, it is especially important for the photographer to be able to guide and direct the model. Part of growth as a model is being able to learn from photographers and to get to a point where they know their “angles”.  This makes it necessary for the photographer to actually have the knowledge to pass on. Otherwise, it is a case of the blind leading the blind. For more experienced models/actors, it is a lot easier but they still need some guidance, especially if the goal of the session is to achieve a particular look.

Other considerations are the photographer’s skill at lighting especially when in comes to being able to handle indoor and outdoor locations, to make use of natural and artificial lighting and to blend them when the occasion calls for it.

It is always advisable to take a good look at the photographer’s portfolio to get an understanding of their competence with lighting, checking how much work they have had published and if they have worked with agencies. If you are looking to get your portfolio built, you want someone who has a good sense of what agents/clients look for. A phone call or in-person meeting would be a very good idea. Get in touch with me at photo@pixyst.com if you need help with this.