Posted July 15, 2018 by Gavin Hoey in Videos

Bed Sheets As Backgrounds

When I first started shooting portraits, I made do with some very basic gear. My studio was my garage, my second light was a reflector and my backgrounds were sheets of fabric.

Fortunately I’ve added one or two more lights to my gear over the years and I have my own, permanent small home studio. My backgrounds have evolved a bit too but one of the most challenging parts of being in a studio is the limited choice of backgrounds. So in the video below I revisited my early days by buying three cheap bed sheets for use as backgrounds.

I love dark and moody studio shots, so my three bed sheets (technically they’re duvet covers) were a basic black, stripy black and damask patterned black. Each gave a very different result, as you’ll see in the video below.

So what did I discover? First off, king sized duvet’s are amazing value (I limited myself to £20 max per sheet) and because they open up, adding some timber inside helps them hang well. However the creases were a real pain and took an age to steam out.

If all you want is a basic black background, a bed sheet is cheap and works perfectly. If you want a pattern, look for sheets that are advertised as crease resistant or ironing free but be aware that those terms aren’t really accurate from a photographic point of view.

As a bonus each duvet set comes with two pillow cases. So what should I do with those? Ideas below please.

Gavin Hoey