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All Photos Courtesy of Emily Voss

As a Midwest photographer, my bread and butter business in the summer is senior portraiture. At VOSStudios we love working with our clients to create images that really showcase who they are going into their senior year of high school. We go above and beyond to photograph our seniors in a way that they wish to be remembered, including their extracurriculars! While the setup, take down, visualization and lighting problem solving takes extra time and effort, I love creating unique sets for my seniors, which encompass their interests. As you will see with this particular example, seamless paper can be extraordinarily helpful in creating a design your clients will love due to the wide range of colors available, affordable cost, as well as the ease of creating with a disposable product such as paper.

In this particular case, the senior happens to be one of my VOSStudios summer interns. One of her projects during her time with us was to help design a window display. Our studio is located downtown and we have a lot of walking traffic, which makes having a creative visual display vital. She put together a unique display including dipped paintbrushes and paint cans hung in a swooping pattern. The week before it was her turn for her senior portraits she requested that we use the display as one of the backdrops for her images so we could capture her love of the arts.

senior portrait on savage blue jay seamless paper

This request made me stop and think. The window is very shallow so it would not be an option to photograph her in the window as there was no way I could get far enough back. It would also be difficult to photograph her from the opposite direction as the shape of the window is not square making it a serious challenge to fit a backdrop in the space. However, this would not stop us because we were on a mission!

The great thing about seamless paper is that you can purchase it in any color and with its disposable nature it is easy to cut and mold into any space! Luckily I had a roll of 9’ Blue Jay Seamless Paper in my stash and I knew it would be the perfect color to bring out Caroline’s bright blue eyes as well as to add a whimsical touch to the images. We cleared out the studio lobby to make way for all of our equipment, measured the width of the window and cut out the size and shape of our seamless paper. We rolled in the lights, sat our model in position and started snapping. I had originally thought my lights would be strong enough to overpower the sunlight streaming through the window behind the seamless paper but much to my chagrin I immediately realized I had overestimated their power. Weird shadows played against the backdrop behind my subject and it was back to the drawing board!

I loved the look of the set we had created for Caroline so I began to think of alternatives. After a bit of trial and error I realized the awning outside of my studio was just the perfect height to clip a black muslin backdrop in order to eclipse the seamless paper hanging a few feet on the other side of the window. The black muslin acted as a scrim for my backdrop! This was something I had never been required to do previously. Thanks to some quick problem solving and a patient senior we were able block the light, bring out the bright color of the Blue Jay Seamless Paper and capture just the images we were looking for. Had it not been for the flexibility of use of the seamless paper we would have been unable to photograph the senior in front of her creation due to the restrictions of the window design. However, because we were able to cut and mold our backdrop to the space we were able to develop a set that will be unique to Caroline’s images and create a fun series of whimsical images that capture her love of the arts!

This is not the first time I have used Savage Seamless Paper to create a set. I not only use various papers for senior sets but have frequently used them as well for studio window displays, fashion shoots and even sets for product shoots. It is the versatility of the seamless paper that allows for creation above and beyond the use of a standard backdrop. You can cut, fold, and even collage various papers together to create an entirely new and one of a kind backdrop. You would never dream of altering a $500 muslin or canvas for one-time use but with Seamless Paper you need not hesitate with experimentation because of the low initial investment! The options are limitless and you are merely limited by your own creativity!

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