Cool Tips Giveaway

I talked with Ron Egatz of for an hour and forty five minutes today for my interview. He was great and said it should be out in a couple of weeks. It’s always interesting to see the writers take on an interview. Years ago I did an interview for a HongKong magazine, it was published in Mandarin, to this day I have no idea what it says.

I took a look at my new canvas backdrops and noticed a color theme, not a theme was crazy about either. It seems I was going through somewhat of a mustard color stage. I’ve also discovered the finishes I would do for clients were more subtle than my photography backdrops should look.

When the backdrops are out of focus they just look like one color.   So I decided they need more contrast. I stapled an already painted backdrop back on to my wall with  a few staples. The backdrop I chose just so happened to have the back side painted also.  (so it will be a surprise when you receive it…receive it?  Read on Grasshopper).  The original is shown above, the final below.

I painted it with venetian plaster but the dark brown color was tinted glaze. I forgot however that glaze has a sheen, so part of it is flat and part is satin. If you want a glaze to be matte you would have to cover it with a matte clear coat, so I prefer using the venetian plaster.

You can thin the VP and brush it on, I spritz the background with a spray bottle so I can manipulate it on the canvas. I sponge on that layer with a silk sea sponge which makes the cool patterns. Before that dries I take a terry towel and pat the surface how I want the effect to end up. It’s all up to you how much pattern you want. You could have it all blurred or crazy looking if you like. I generally do a combination of both.

The silk sea sponge runs about $15-$20 (not the cheap ones you find at Home Depot ect.) These are the big sponges you find at the specialty paint stores ect.  When they are wet they are very floppy and “silky”.  The cheap ones are no substitute.  I love this brush from Home Depot for decorative painting, it’s very thin, soft and pliable, great for smoothing out finishes, $6.  I paid $200 for a specialty badger brush that pretty much does the same as this brush!  The terry cloth is sold to decorative painters for manipulating the surface but you could substitute an old terry hand towel.

So where is all this leading…well it’s giveaway time again. Lots of you have been emailing me telling me what tips you’ve been trying and asking for more details on certain techniques. Wow, that’s great. So here’s the deal, my latest giveaway is this 8×8 ft #12 canvas two sided backdrop, like the big boys use!!!   No way, you say.   Yes, way!


You just have to send me an image or images where you have incorporated one of my tips, ideas, suggestions or techniques.   Yep, that’s it.  I will pick a winner,  post their image on my blog with a little bit of info.  To receive this yummy prize you must be an email subscriber, yep, it’s all about the “email” subscriber.  Just leave your comment in the comment box, that’s all there is to it.

The giveaway ends June 19th. It can pay to read all the way to the end!

Today’s Stuff
Using Skype screen sharing more and more. I helped a fellow photographer with Lightroom and Photoshop today, looking over his default settings and such.   Later in the day he helped me with my blog.  I could see what he was doing and follow along.  I’m feeling less isolated when I’m having a problem.  I love Skype screen sharing, try it out, it’s free.

3 comments category: Backgrounds,Photographing models,Props,Styling,Workshop

1 David Weber June 15, 2010 at 1:28 am

Mary – shooting this weekend with a makeup artist for the first time shince the workshop ! Also putting to use my recycled closet doors 🙂 Shooting with my new beauty dish also. We’ll see how much I’ve learned.
Thanks Dave


2 Jerry Misiewicz June 14, 2010 at 8:32 pm

I have three of your DVDs and love your work. In fact I watched your third DVD this morning while I was at the gym (I put all of them on my IPOD).



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