For those who have been following DIYPhotography for a while now, you are well aware of the awesome photographic results that can be achieved with materials NOT purchased from your local, friendly photo gear retailer. For those who are finding this to be your first visit to DIYPhotography, may I please inquire as the exact size of the rock under which you have been hiding.
Photographer Cindy Lee had a specific request from a client for a white backdrop, but she didn’t have any on hand at the time. So, like all budding and resourceful geniuses, she decided to create a setup herself, testing it out in her living room beforehand.
The backdrop is constructed from PVC piping, plastic joints, two pieces of plywood, clamps and a white, queen-size bed sheet — all items easily found in your local hardware store, Home Depot (where Cindy shops) or Capitalist Consortium (a.k.a. “Walmart”). Wanting to maximize usefulness and flexibility, she constructed the backdrop to be easily convertible from an 8′x8′ configuration to 8′x6′ for spaces with a little less headroom. We have a similar tutorial on this here.
The backdrop was positioned 2.5′ away from the subject’s (herself) back. A Canon 430 EX II speedlight (you can substitute a YongNuo YN-468 II instead to save money) was mounted on a tripod behind the subject and pointed at the backdrop at 1/2 power.
Another Canon 430 EX II speedlight was mounted on an umbrella pointed downward to subject left at approximately 1/8 power, and both flashes were triggered by Scott Robert Lim wireless triggers.
CHEAP-ASS TIP: Save money by substituting the YongNuo YN-468 II (currently $85 new) for the Canon speedlights and the RioRand 4-channel wireless triggers (currently $25 new) for the Scott Roberts. I use both (and have been for several years) and can attest that, for the money, they are excellent products.
The subject is seated on a small bench approximately 2.5′ in front of the backdrop, and the camera was triggered using a wireless remote (1/200 SS, f/3.2, ISO 100).
The Final Outcome
Honestly, the results are superb and rival images I’ve seen from large studios with thousands of dollars-worth of equipment, another beautiful testament to the DIY spirit! And, if you’re gonna selfie, THIS is the way to do it.
Cindy Yang Lee is a family and portrait photographer (and current graduate student) with a penchant for exquisite self portraits. You can follow her work on her website, Facebook, and her blog, and even tag along on Twitter.