Tag Archives: Backdrop

Interior with manfrotto paper roll system

Small group workshop 23rd July 2011

Update 02th July 20:31 – now fully booked

There is one place left on my the next small group workshop. These sessions are for up to 4 photographers allowing plenty of time for shooting, reviewing and getting to know everyone – as well as learning and having fun. Our model for the day will be KatyCee, one of the UK’s top full-time professional models. Katy and I will be on hand to help you learn and ensure you get the most of the day.

The workshop details:

  • Saturday 23rd July 2011
  • 10.00am – 5.00pm
  • Professional model – KatyCee
  • Location, my studio, Rushden, Northamptonshire, UK
  • Lunch & refreshments included
  • £250

We will cover the following topics during the session:

  • Studio flash
  • Constant lighting
  • Different Lighting setups
  • Working with a single light
  • Working with multiple lights
  • Working with models
  • Directing models
  • Creative ideas

Review and set activities will form part of the day to ensure that when you leave you can put the things you’ve learnt into practise. My sessions are informal yet structured and allow time for questions and discussion.

Some of the equipment available to use is:

  • Elinchrom studio flash heads x 6
  • Broncolor ring flash x 1
  • ARRI constant lighting heads x 5
  • Broncolor Mobil 2 kit x 1
  • Elinchrom 6 foot Octa Softbox x 1
  • Elinchrom 5 foot Recta Softboxes x 2
  • Elinchrom 130cm x 50cm Softboxes x 2
  • Lighttools soft egg grids for 130cm softbox x 2
  • Flats, reflectors (various)
  • Grids, barndoors (various)
  • Umbrellas, snoots (various)
  • Backdrop system with vinyl and paper rolls
  • Plenty of props, accessories and clothes

The style covered during the session will be art-nude and erotic mainly but we will be also be doing some portraits.

More details on how to reserve the last place on this workshop, or put your name down for a future session, can be found on my website at the following page: http://www.johntisbury.co.uk/photography-workshops.htm

Studio gets a facelift

I realised that I’ve had my studio for over 12 months and I thought it was about time to review any annoyances and/or improvements that I needed to make. Having designed it from the ground upwards it was likely that there may be a few areas for improvement. I’d shot in there many times over the past 12 months from stills to video so 12 months I felt was a good time to reflect on the choices I’d made whilst it was being built and how it was shaping up to everyday use. I wanted to look at the studio from two perspectives;

a) mine as the user of the space and

b) my customer’s from their first impressions and how the studio made them feel.


  • Well insulated – warm for models and customers
  • Quality look and feel, clean, light and modern
  • Separate building away from the house
  • Good storage
  • Flexible workspace
  • Viewing and shooting location
  • Large enough to do full length
  • Not intimidating to customers


  • Some settlement cracks need filling in
  • Needs a fresh coat of paint
  • 1 power socket in the wrong place

So first on the list was the cracks which was easy to resolve with a bit of filler and some sandpaper. Next I tackled the paint. The builders, upon my request, had used magnolia emulsion on all walls, and I felt I’d like a change of colour to give me some variety to shoot against, so I chose a 18% grey.

Grey wall

Studio with one wall painted grey

Why grey?

Well for a number of reasons, one it acts as a great alternative to white or black, for monochrome shots it really comes into it’s own. It gives different reflective qualities to black or white, plus it’s very in vogue at present being used in many high fashion images and looks. There are more benefits too, which I’ll be covering in later blogs. So I paid a visit to B&Q to get them to mix me a colour armed with my trusty Colour checker rendition chart at the ready, but I need not have bothered as Crown do a perfect match and I choose 5 litres of that. I’ve shot against the grey a couple of times now and I’m really pleased with the results and gives a different feel and reflection to the lighting. It’s great to try new things and expand your repertoire. In a future post I’ll publish a blog on the build process for anyone who is interested.

The power socket is a work in progress so I’ll update once that it started.

Replacement white vinyl backdrop arrives

This is how the 'new' tube arrived from Colorama

I’ve been using a white Colorama white vinyl backdrop for about 3 years now and it was getting a little tired. The trouble with vinyl is getting rid of the shoe scuffs that it inevitably picks up when models are posing and moving around. I’ve tried most things to shift them, from white spirits to most household cleaners, but they are stubborn stains to remove completely. So 3 years on I decided it needed replacing.

Well the the new roll arrived during the week and on Saturday morning I decided to replace the old with the new. The new background looked well packaged in its stiff cardboard tube with matching plastic end caps which were taped on and the whole tube cling filmed from end-to-end. It was adorned with a large red label stating Fragile do not drop. Well upon opening it I was a little disappointed to find that both ends of the aluminium tube were crushed and the tube itself had a shape that resembled a banana! The tube could not be used as the end of my Manfrotto hanging rail system would not fit into the ends of the tube.

It's even worse at this end

As the backdrop was being used for a shoot on the Saturday the only thing for it was to remove the vinyl from its banana tube, unroll the old vinyl from its tube and put the new background on my old tube – which was a little tiresome. One hour later and normal service was resumed and I now have a lovely new white vinyl backdrop just waiting for the first heel to make its mark!

An email with pictures has been sent off to the supplier so we will see what they have to say.