Behind the Scenes – Wallpapering the Studio

So over the last week I have been busy making some more adjustments and updates to the studio which had been a few weeks in the making.

I have got a little too comfortable shooting on black and white backdrops only lately, so it’s definitely time to switch things up a bit.

I had bought some massive sheets of coroplast (also known as corflute in NZ and Australia), which is normally used for signage. It’s very light and flexible, pretty easy to cut and as it turns out reasonably easy to wallpaper.

I bought 2 boards in black and 2 in white, so that I could use the sides that I don’t paper as v-flat to either bounce or cut light.

Of course because I am in a basement, we don’t have the luxury of 9 or 10 foot ceiling studs like I had in the West Footscray studio, so having something that is easy to cut down to around 7 feet is a definite bonus. Luckily it was able to be done with scissors unlike my last attempt on the polystyrene boards (bit of a fail and polystyrene beads everywhere).

My biggest roadblock was waiting on the wallpaper to arrive from China (good old Ebay), but as soon as it arrived I got down to papering. Here is where I made my first mistake though – I didn’t get enough wallpaper. Now I have actually done the maths (admittedly after the fact), but at 10m per roll and 0.53m wide – I should have expected to cover 2 sheets with a bit to spare. Nope – and so I have half finished boards and awaiting another lengthy shipment 😦

Part of the problem probably comes down to the fact I am using damask and flocked patterns which lose a bit of length trying to match the pattern but lesson learnt.

Toronto Portrait Photographer | Wallpaper Photography BackdropsToronto Portrait Photographer | Wallpaper Photography Backdrops

Measuring up the lengths and matching the patterns

Toronto Portrait Photographer | Wallpaper Photography Backdrops

The little spots are actually the glitter in the wallpaper catching the light – I love glitter!

My second problem is that I sort of messed up the first board. I papered them completely separately thinking that I wouldn’t worry about papering over the seam and that I would join them into a v-flat later. Except coroplast is really really bendy. Papering the seam stops it being so bendy. So now I need to figure out if I just going to tape the seam on the un-papered side, or re-paper over the seam when the next roll arrives.

Toronto Portrait Photographer | Wallpaper Photography Backdrops

You can see the seam in this shot where the boards don’t sit quite flush to each other

Toronto Portrait Photographer | Wallpaper Photography Backdrops

But overall I really like the effect it has. Don’t have a model today and the cats are notoriously unreliable for shoots so my wedding flowers had to step in as subject matter.

I used Weldbond glue which seems to be either exactly the same or really similar to PVA glue. I used a bit of cardboard and left over coroplast to spread the glue, but I think I might have been a bit too thin on the application as I do have a bit of bubbling in the paper of a couple of the boards. Overall though, considering I have NEVER wallpapered anything, I am pretty happy with the outcome and how it shoots.

Toronto Portrait Photographer | Wallpaper Photography Backdrops

So here we have a bit of a bubble in the top right corner. I think this should be easy enough to fix in editing – a bit of dodge and burn to flatten it out.

Toronto Portrait Photographer | Wallpaper Photography Backdrops

A pull back on the messed up studio. I have been trying to sort out all my backdrops so that they are easier to manoeuvre and stick to the wall and skirting boards with Velcro.

Toronto Portrait Photographer | Wallpaper Photography Backdrops

Shooting with the light to my back.

Breaking it down I spent

Coroflute $25 approx per sheet (4’x8′)

Wallpaper $30 approx per 10m roll

Glue $15 total

It might have been a little more than I was initially expecting but I should be able to get dual use out of these and a custom backdrop tends to be a lot more expensive.

So as you can see I still have a bit of work to go, but I am looking forward to shooting on these soon.

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