Creating a neutral backdrop

If you're on vacation, the natural scenery may be all the backdrop you need. If you're shooting a picture to use on a resumé or to post on your Web page, however, create a neutral, professional backdrop. Find a room with some pale, open wall space and lots of natural light from windows. Find a stool or a low-back chair without arms, and position it about five feet in front of your backdrop. If possible, face it towards the brightest window in the room. Using your tripod or tripod substitute, position the camera about five feet from your stool.

To check the lighting, use your flip screen, take a test shot, or use the table lamp trick described earlier. If you need to add a little light to one side of your face or the other because it's appearing too shadowy, you can construct a homemade reflector out of white cardboard or similar material. Position your reflector as close to you as possible (although not in the photo itself, of course) and angle it so it bounces light off the brightest light source onto the area requiring illumination.

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