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Guest blog and photos by Michael Friedman

3 Colors to Play With in Your Studio this Season

With Spring in full swing and Summer approaching, many of us will be looking to coordinate concepts with seasonal colors, and what better way to do that than with some new bright colored seamless paper backdrops!

I’ve been working with Savage Universal’s Blue Mist, Lemonade, and Coral seamless paper backdrop colors (among others) and have been able to add a tremendous amount of mood to my photos, just by switching out the background to a color that is more appropriate for the subject matter.

This gallery has some images that I shot recently, demonstrating how I use different pastel colored backgrounds in my beauty work.

One colored paper backdrop can give you a multitude of tones, colors and gradients, by adjusting the distance, angle and intensity of your background light source.

For the most control of the background appearance, keep the background a fairly far distance (at least 4-5 feet) from the subject and light the background independently from the subject (not with the key light).

There are times where you can effectively light your subject and background with a single light if necessary. However, if the space and equipment are available, opt for the additional control of a separate background light (or two).

I use a 500 watt second strobe on a very low (2-3 foot) light stand, positioned behind the subject (usually right behind the posing stool). The strobe is pointed either directly towards the background from a central position behind subject (best for evenly lit background), or from an angled position sitting just out of frame to the left or right (best for gradient effect).

It’s important to use a reflector to contain the spill from the strobe behind your subject. This can be further achieved with v-flats and flags if necessary.

The paper background is just a starting point to get close to the desired color I’m after, but I often edit the background to match the saturation and tones in the image. You can see the more vibrant Coral shot of Savannah, compared to the more muted version that was adjusted post production. Same with the Lemonade background.

You can see how I’ve used other colors from Savage in my work on Instagram also. Feel free to send me any questions you have.