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How to Use Cardboard as a Studio Background

1/03/2024 Matt 0 Comments

This could be the cheapest physical background ever! On the face of it, using a brown cardboard box as a background might not sound like the smartest idea. Metal staples, parcel tape, and labels are just three of the things you really don’t want to see in the background of your portraits but when you use recycled cardboard packaging, they’re hard to avoid.

That’s where photographer Gavin Hoey can help. He breaks down how to backlight a sheet of cardboard (with hand-made holes) to create a bokeh effect. Gavin explains how to light your model, not the cardboard, and how to maximize the circles of bokeh.

But Gavin isn’t done there. Next, he turns the cardboard into a star-filled background by turning the holes punched into the cardboard into miniature four-pointed stars of light. The secret is a low-cost “starburst” filter that he attaches to his lens.

Finally, Gavin switches the set-up around and uses the cardboard as a cookie or gobo. By shining light from his Flashpoint XPLOR300 through the holes, Gavin can project the pattern of the holey cardboard onto the wall of his studio.

You may also like: The Best Position for your Strip Softbox to Create 4 Dramatic Portraits

About Gavin Hoey:

Gavin Hoey, an AdoramaTV veteran, is a seasoned photographer, a master of Photoshop, Olympus ambassador and trainer of all things photographic.Let's Get Connected:

About Adorama:

AdoramaTV is the preeminent source for videos related to photography, video, and audio. Of course, we have new product releases and gear reviews, but what sets AdoramaTV apart is how we connect with our viewers and create engaging creative content. We have over a dozen hosts that share their experiences, knowledge, and tips to over 1,500,000 viewers a

Image and video via Adorama