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This week I received Savage Universal’s all new White Brick/Dark Gray Collapsible Backdrop. I have worked with previous designs of their collapsible drops before so I was very excited to get my hands on one from their new grunge collection! These backdrops are great for setup in small spaces, they collapse down for easy travel and are perfect for any type of head shot or ¾ length images you are looking to create.

The majority of my business comes from Senior Portraits so I decided to test out this new backdrop with one of my senior clients during her session. We started with the White Brick side and then transitioned to a second outfit on the grey side.

I take a slightly different approach than most studio photographers and like to shoot with a very shallow depth of field even with strobes. For the White Brick images I placed my subject about 4-5 feet in front of the backdrop and set my aperture at f/4.5. This created a very soft and elegant look with the whitewashed brick.

My senior had a very classic look so I wanted to really soften the drop behind her to better fit her aesthetic. By placing her farther from the backdrop I was also able to place a hair light on either side of her adding additional definition to the portrait. I really like the whitewashed brick texture as it adds a little extra dimension as opposed to photographing the subject on straight white. It is subtle which I love because I always want the focus to be on my model.


Photo Courtesy of Emily Voss


As soon as I pulled the backdrop from the box I instantly knew I would love the grey side. I have a large variety of grey backdrops from hand painted canvas drops, to cloth drops and of course a wide range of seamless papers. Having been trained in the fashion industry in NYC I can’t get enough of classic grey backdrops but this is definitely my new favorite.

Many grey backdrops have a bluish undertone but I would consider this one to be a very pure grey. It reminds me of a hand painted Oliphant backdrop but for a fraction of the cost. Because of this I decided to return to my roots for these images and went with a one light setup. I placed the subject very close to the backdrop and used an overhead parabolic light source to feather light across my senior. The texture, color and mood of the backdrop is just perfect! I can see it as being very versatile for fashion shots, beauty portraits, corporate head shots or anything else you might set your mind to!

Emily Voss

Emily Voss is a professional portrait photographer that stands apart based on her emphasis on clean lighting and strong use of color. She is the owner and sole photographer of VOSStudios, a state of the art portrait studio in downtown Wausau, WI where it is in its fourth year of business. Emily graduated from Luther College in 2013 with dual degrees in Fine Arts and Spanish. In 2012, she interned and photo assisted Annie Leibovitz in New York City resulting in a love of the city and passion for lighting. While her home base is in the Midwest, she makes trips back to New York to work with actors, dancers and models. Back home in Wisconsin, Emily specializes in high-end senior portraits and corporate headshots but has branched out to include newborns and pet portraits as well. She has been published in a variety of online and print sources such as Photo Vogue, Photographers Forum, Compliance Today, Boutique Design magazine, and the NCAA Champion Magazine. Check out her website here. Learn More