I am a portrait and fashion photographer and the large percentage of my work is done in my studio. I love my studio, but space is limited and to achieve a good variety within my images, seamless paper rolls provide a cheap and convenient source for backgrounds.
Problem is, it all gets a bit boring when you are constantly shooting against a white seamless week after week! To add to this, I hate throwing things out so I came up with a few ideas to not only get creative with paper but to also utilise the left over scraps of leftover rolls.
Ok first off – getting creative with paper! I shoot a lot of beauty images and I always try to add a little depth or interest to the image rather than have a flat plain background. As I said – I sometimes have to work in very limited space so it is not always possible to add extra light to the background for example as the subject or model is usually positioned close to it. The solution I found was to add texture to the background itself. By cutting slices into the paper, the natural spiral in the roll will cause the slices to curl into a variety of shapes. Once we add a light source to this it can produce a wonderful three dimensional effect onto the background as shown below:
Ok so this was the process creating the background. Take a 2.72m X 11m seamless paper roll and mount onto a support stand, have some clamps handy also.
Next, start making slices into the paper with a box cutter in a loose curved fashion. You will notice that the paper will automatically curl into various shapes.
Once the slices have been finished, leave about 6″ from the roll and cut the remainder completely off. Next take the curled slices and reposition them with clamps onto a freshly rolled down ream of paper.
Once finished you can create various options with different coloured papers and slight variations on the cutting effects as shown in the following images:
Next – whenever you have a ripped, scruffed up bit of seamless paper – don’t throw it away! I had a portion of paper taped to the floor of my studio – now over time this starts to get worn down and needs changed. But I discovered it can make an excellent backdrop!
So this is what it looks like in shoot….
With these examples I used a large softbox and shot at f4 to soften and create a shallow depth of field. With the next few examples I shoot at f11 with a beauty dish to create contrast and bring out much more of the texture of the paper….
Off course getting the model involved also helps – here is a solution to those scruffed up torn edges of a large seamless roll….
And then we can always work a little colour into the ripped up paper background theme…
so hopefully when inspiration desserts us sometimes just remember all we really need is a few bits of torn paper to achieve some amazing creative results!