Creating a Backdrop
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    VetNurse
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    Creating a Backdrop

    by VetNurse » Wed Dec 05, 2007 8:22 pm

    I received an email asking how I made the backdrop for my "Baby" shoot - so I thought I would post a how-to to give people some ideas. If I've left out any steps or info, let me know and I'll be happy to update this.

    1. Buy Painters raw Calico Drop sheet from Mitre 10 (about $20), approximately 3 metres long and 1.5 metres wide. For those of you who can/want to sew several together - go for it.

    2. Hang Calico on washing line (Don't tell your wife/Significant other/Spouse)

    3. Mix el-cheapo acrylic artists paint (purchased from reject shop i.e. buck store for about $3 per tube) in spray bottle with water. Yup, that's right - ordinary, garden variety trigger spray bottle. Shake Well.

    4. Spray on Calico

    Okay, so there is SOME artistry at work here. For my background I selected three neutral, but complimentary colours - so not to overwhelm the subject. I chose (mixed/made) 1. Dark Charcoal 2. Light Charcoal 3. Fawn Brown. The base colours were experimentally mixed with white, light cream-yellow and black to get the tones I wanted.

    Image

    The colours pretty much dried the way they went on. I had expected some fading, but it just didn't happen. I also had a test piece of fabric that I had pre-dampened - this resulted in the spray spreading and being more of an indistinct "patch" of colour than a "spatter". I elected to go with the spatter finish for this particular shoot, which is simply achieved by spraying directly onto DRY fabric.

    Have the spray bottle nozzle wide open as the paint mix is quite thick. Have gloves if you don't want to get messy hands, as occasional de-clogging of the nozzle is needed. Unless you want a directional spray effect, keep moving your spray bottle in different directions and use varying distances. I found it dried thoroughly in about an hour.

    Props - Terracotta pots from Bunnings, on sale for $16. Flower bases were two blow up beach balls from the buck store for $2.50 each. Flowers from my and my neighbours gardens, attached to the beach balls with gaffa tape. Ground sheet - plain Painters Calico drop sheet

    Image

    Babies flower hat, $2 fabric kids hat from buck store with the brim cut off and flowers attached to it with safety pins. Add Baby. Add Camera and lights. Result...awwwwww sooo cute!!

    Image
    Just another Camera owner
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    Oneputt
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    by Oneputt » Wed Dec 05, 2007 8:42 pm

    Thank you for sharing that. It shows a lot of ingenuity.
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    Bodak
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    by Bodak » Wed Dec 05, 2007 9:25 pm

    Thanks for this Ruth, I'm off shopping tomorrow.....

    Tuts like this are great.
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    by losfp » Wed Dec 05, 2007 9:34 pm

    Nice one ruth - one day i have to get off my butt and get some backdrops and lights and so on organised :) :)
    Des - "Let us never speak of the shortcut again"
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    by Muzza » Wed Dec 05, 2007 10:11 pm

    Thanks for the information Ruth. :D
    I bought a backdrop stand recently so will be giving this a go.
    Later,
    Murray
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    DJT
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    by DJT » Wed Dec 05, 2007 10:51 pm

    Brilliant Ruth, I get to go to Bunnings you little ripper, need to get some tomatoe dust while I'm there. Now where do we get the baby from. Oh that's right I just got one of them. Looks like a busy weekend ahead. 8)
    David
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    Dug
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    by Dug » Wed Dec 05, 2007 11:31 pm

    Option 2 is go to a fabric shop and buy unbleached calico 2.5m wide on special it can go for as low as $2.50 per metre. Wash it throughly to get the dressing out of it and hang it or lay it out while still wet.

    Mix water based paint in a garden sprayer and go to town on the backdrop.

    The water in the material will mean a less defined spray pattern.

    If you are handy with a sewing machine you can join 2 or 3 widths of the calico together.

    If you find different water based paint at a garage sale mixing a lot of different colours together usually produces a grey brown colour that can be quite nice !!!
    "Photography to the amateur is recreation, to the professional it is work, and hard work too, no matter how pleasurable it may be."

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