Face Photography. Low cost idea to enhance your portraits. Face Photography. Low cost idea to enhance your portraits. | East Lansing Photographer-Todd L Church-Wedding and Senior photography Specialist

Face Photography. Low cost idea to enhance your portraits.

Hey guys,

I came up with a cool backdrop idea that will enhance your face photography. It’s fairly simple and doesn’t cost much. The most expensive thing about creating a shoot like this is lighting. You need at least three lights and stands. One of the light stands will hold a flash over the model’s head. The stand I used is the Impact multi-boom light stand and reflector holder from B&H.  That stand was a great buy for my needs because of its versatility. If you use a stand like that, be sure to get a sand bag to keep the stand from falling over. I broke a flash once because the stand tipped. Be careful!

Here is a diagram of the light set-up.

Light diagram

The CTS gel on the overhead flash created a unique daylight effect even though we were shooting in my living room in the middle of winter. That gel also works to balance daylight balanced flashes with tungsten lights.

Here is the result of that lighting set-up.

Rene back light

You can see in this shot that I crumpled  the aluminum foil  up to reflect the lights in different directions. I attached less than one box of aluminum foil to the
4 x 8  sheet of Styrofoam backing. That was enough to cover a 4 x 8 sheet. I also had the model wear a top that would stand out against the blue in the background.

In this next shot you can see the effect of moving the overhead light. The boom was just above her head in both shots but was lower in the shot above.

rene face photo

This gives the image a sunlit feel. I zoomed my 70-200 to 120mm and set aperture to f / 4.0 at 1/160 sec. I used the same setting for both photographs
I only changed the position of the lighting. The first photo was taken at 70mm instead of 120mm. Same lens but two different shots.

Next I had the model change outfits and move closer to the wall. This was a change from the face photography we were using before and went to more of a mid-range body shot. I changed the lens to a 17-55 mm and kicked the light up to f / 7.1. I also turned off the overhead light and eventually the blue gelled light. This was to create a metallic feel to the image. I wanted the light from the key light to bounce back. Here you can see the aluminum foil.

rene bodyrene behind

That’s it!  Aluminum foil makes a great backdrop because you can change the color by changing the light. The gels are easy to get too. Not expensive.

I bought a low-cost Rosco gel sampler pack from B&H years ago and have fun experimenting with the colors. I think the sampler pack cost about a dollar plus shipping. You will have to do your own investigation on that. If you find that you are using one gel for multiple purposes then I would suggest buying a full sheet. I use the CTS gel enough that it warranted buying a sheet. That only cost $5 plus shipping.

I don’t want to sound like a cheap skate but it has been my experience that you are better off keeping the cost down on photography gear as much as possible unless you have a particular job or a particular need, Then you can charge the client for materials. I have known people who go out and spend a fortune on gear only to discover that they use it once or twice and it ends up sitting and collecting dust.  Don’t be one of those.


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