Photography Backdrops And How To Select The Best One For You

You've studied all the different camera settings and by now you've learned all about the difference between shutter speed and f-stop. Thanks to your studies of lighting patterns, the difference between butterfly and split lighting is an obvious no brainer … Now, it's time to consider the backdrop.

In my experience, having over 6000 professional sessions under my belt, MOST people prefer to have a natural setting rather than a formal backdrop.

For example …

If you're shooting Indoors – possibilities may include placing your subjects on the floor around the fireplace, (always have a fire burning or it appears as nothing but a black hole in the final print), or they could be posed on and around their furniture in the living room, etc.

Outside portraits could be in their back yard, at the beach, a local park, etc. Anyplace that has meaning for THEM!

Most people just want a beautiful portrait that singles them out as individuals – rather than just another group posed in front of the same old pull down screen that everyone else uses.

Whenever possible, ALWAYS try for a location that has meaning for THEM …

However, if you must use a formal backup, here are a few suggestions …

First – buy a commercially available background stand to hold your backdrops. They do not cost much and for ease of use, stability, transportability etc. it's better than making your own.

For this discussion, I'm assuming you DO NOT own a professional portrait studio and are doing your sessions in your home (or your customer's home).

There are several types of backdrop materials:

Paper- Large rolls of paper come in most any color you can imagine. They can be purchased at many local camera stores and are relatively inexpensive.

Pros – They are readily available – are fairly inexpensive – come in most any color you can imagine. They can be used in a "sweep" so the model (s) can sit or stand on the paper and have it seamlessly up up behind them. Paper rolls come in two basic widths (around 4 feet and around 9 feet as I recall, I do not often use them).

Cons – The smaller size is not wide enough for much more than a head shot while the wider size is very heavy – difficult to transport – and most homes do not have enough "empty" space to sweep it without moving around the furniture. (People really do not like you redecorating for them!) The paper gets dirty, gets creased, tears and has to be constantly replaced. If there are animals in the session, the papery feel and crinkly sounds freak them out.

Painted Canvas – These can provide some truly stunning portraits. Many back suppliers create them and they can be ordered over the internet if you do not happen to be near a supplier.

Pros – Depending on the creator, they can be stunningly beautiful. There are thousands of colors and patterns available and if you have something unique in mind, you can have one created just for you, to match your exact specifications. They are very durable and will last years. They come in many sizes and can be used in a seamless sweep.

Cons – They are EXPENSIVE! EXPENSIVE! EXPENSIVE! Again, like paper, the wider ones are heavy, difficult work with and to transport. Like paper, size vs. living room furniture is a challenge.

Seamless paper and canvas backgrounds tend to be the province of professional studios – where they can be mounted on the walls and just folded down when needed.

They are really difficult to work with in the field.

I recommend that you go to the fabric store and get strips of material. As wide as is available and about 12 feet long. Getting some sort of material that either does not easily wrinkle, or where wrinkles will not matter is best.

Pros – Choose the type and colors you like, you can get any color, style and texture that suits your fancy. It can be hung bunched up (like theater curtains) behind the subject, or stretched flat if only one piece is needed. One piece can also be used as a seamless sweep.

You can use one piece or thirty – no matter how wide your back needs are, you can easily accommodate them.

It's easy to store and transport (just fold up the strips and put them in a box in the back seat of your car!) Material is very inexpensive compared to a painted canvas (which can run into the thousands of dollars) It's reusable so it works out to be cheaper than paper in the long run.

Use another piece of two for the flooring and since it's flexible, it can be flowed around furniture. Animals have no problem walking on it. (It's washable too!).

Cons – If you want multiple strips (and you do!), You may have difficulty finding enough of the same material. If you live near the garment district in a large city, they may have it. Otherwise you may have to have your local fabric store special order it for you.

These are the major background considerations and you should have no trouble finding the perfect backdrops for YOUR creative vision!

Learning How to Increase Vertical Leap – Important Information You Should Know

When athletes are learning how to increase vertical leap they are often bombarded with pages of information that results in a brain overload! When we are trying to learn something new often we go out trying to find out as much information as we possible can about the subject. In this case we would go out and try to find out as much as we can about how to increase your vertical jump. When it comes to learning how your body works when you jump and what muscle areas and energy you need to increase your ability to jump many athletes get confused from conflicting information. Don’t worry, I was at that stage once before as well where I was trying to sort through the pages and pages of information that I had found out about how to increase vertical leap. Oh, and don’t forget the shelves of books and reams of information scattered across my desk.

When it comes to working out one of the important factors is to have good nutrition. Did you know that when you are training your body it is using carbohydrates and proteins to fuel your body. But what happens once it runs out of these fuels? It starts to break down your muscles and use them as an energy source. This is why it is important to have a healthy, balanced and nutritional diet to prevent you from losing muscle power instead of gain it.

A common question I am asked about how to increase vertical jump is if hereditary factors plays a role. Yes some people are just naturally gifted jumpers because of their fast twitch muscle fiber to slow twitch muscle fiber ratio. The more fast twitch muscle fibers you have the more efficiently you are able to create force in a minimal amount of time. However, when it comes to this ratio you may not be able to change the fibers. However, you can change how quickly to recruit the generate power and also how much force they can generate. So realistically, if you think about hereditary factors, it does not play a major role in how high a person can jump.

Another factor that many athletes don’t know about when learning how to increase vertical jump is that there are different types of strength that affect how well you can recruit muscles to generate force to jump. When learning how to increase vertical jump we can split strength into 3 sub categories of absolute/limit strength, explosive strength and reactive strength. Absolute/limit strength is the foundation of all strength and is often the one that needs to be improved first before any of the other strengths. When we are learning how to increase vertical jump we need to focus on doing minimal reps with maximum effort because we are trying to train our explosive muscles, not our endurance muscles.

Best Tips on Group Health Insurance

Perhaps many of you are wondering what a group health insurance policy really means. Well, the answer is not complicated at all! It is just an insurance coverage made by an employer or other authority that is meant to cover all individuals in a particular group!

A group health insurance gives an employer the advantage of not paying the whole premium for the insurance policy in order to cover his employees. In the past, an employer was expected to pay for all the benefits of the employees, but fortunately, now the times have changed and an employer only has to donate just a part of the health insurance premium of the employees.

The general attitude of the insurance companies is to offer lower rates for a group health insurance than on an individual one. This is the main reason why people who are self employed to be aiming for a small business health insurance too. These persons can not be blamed, even if they incorporated to give the insurance company the impression of a larger corporation, as they are only trying to get a good deal on their small business health insurance rates. The result is that each and every person struggles to get an insurance plan, as a small business health insurance is very cheap when compared to individual health insurance.

It is a commonly known fact that group health insurance plans are very much appreciated by all the employees. This is the main reason why most employees value it very much too. A group health insurance policy or a small business health insurance has contributed to the success of many organizations. They have that enabled them to continue employ new people and, at the same time, keep the best people in their business!

No matter what group health insurance plans, service suppliers or a health maintenance plans that a company may offer, there are so many places where you can get informed about these things. You must carefully analyze the group health insurance quotes that a number of insurance companies offer, before deciding if there is something to suit your expectations.

In order to make the best decision regarding a group health insurance, a recruiter must study all the websites and brochures of the health insurance companies that the employee has selected and intends to engage. After comparing their service plans, costs and methods of payment, you must also keep an eye on the starting and ending dates of the insurance policies. The interesting, but disturbing thing is that some health insurance companies only cover you from your third payment, therefore you must be very well informed before making such an important decision.

Last, but not least, there is one more thing you'll have to consider before choosing a group health insurance plan or a small business health insurance: there should be any services or illnesses that are excluded from the policy, it is best to know it from the start. This is the main reason why it is for the best interest of any employee to keep away from any group health insurance policy that only covers a small number of diseases.

Are You Thinking About Investing Internally In Stocks?

One of the big challenges an investor faces on a daily basis is market risk.

Working hard to satisfy your investment goals while at the same time limiting your risk and exposure to volatility takes a solid strategy, reliable information, and a patience like no other.

Sure, we've all heard stories of the home run hiring investor who laid his money down and made a "killing" in a stock.

These are the kinds of tales that grab the headlines and attract the interest of the "fast buck players."

"Steady as she goes" would be a more realistic view of how to invest. It is difficult to just wait for an investment to climb in value, but without patience and the fortitude to keep a long-term mindset, you're probably going to miss out on a solid move.

Using what could be called a butterfly approach and jumping from one hot stock tip to another can be the riskiest investment play of all.

Being patient is not enough though. If what you are investing in is oozing with risk, patience may not be the key to success. You devote your patience to solid investments and those with limited risk.

If you are an investor or contemplating investing in the various financial markets and instruments available, you must get into the flow of information.

Catching a thirty second or two minute report stating a company making an innovative new product that is going to revolutionize the industry should not be considered a call to action.

If you do not understand what you're being told to invest in … do not invest. Not having an understanding of what your money is invested in is comparable to sitting down at a high-stakes poker game without understanding the marks on the cards.

If you do not have basic investment knowledge to guide your decisions, your chances of making the right choices are limited.

It's simple; have a basic knowledge of how the markets work; have an understanding of what it is that you are interested in investing your money in; and most importantly, understand the upside and downside scenarios, in other words, what are the risks and more specifically the risk of losing your entire investment.

If you feel that the risk of putting all your investment dollars in the stock markets in the US is too great, perhaps diversifying into stocks from other countries is worth examining.

The mindset for many is that if the stock markets at home are suffering, there may be markets abroad that offer opportunity, because bad economic news on one front may be great news in another part of the world.

A quick example of such news would be the trade figures. If the US is witnessing a rise in imports month after month, you have to ask yourself; where are we importing from and what are we importing?

This could have the clue to invest in a company that consistently exports to the United States and the amount of its exports (in dollars) keeps rising.

On a more basic level; If a football team is having a terrible season, there is probably a team that is having a great season.

Think of it as; when two teams compete someone wins and in world economies, someone's bad economic news typically translates to someone else's fortune.

When you read a headline or story about some bad economic figures … ask yourself, "Who is on the other side of this?"

Who did well that directed in the US doing poorly? If the US did great, who suffered? Is this a trend? Is the company or industry showing real value in their stock price now?

Could this be just a fluke and there's a buying opportunity?

It pays to look past the headline and the story and into what made the story. Everybody hears news, but going the extra step and finding out what caused the news will give you better market insight.

If you think that you want to diversify in the international markets, you have to take into consideration what you stand to gain versus what you could possibly lose.

Currency fluctuation can boost a return on an investment. If the currency of a country you invest in increases against the dollar, when it comes time to sell, you'll get more dollars.

However, that can also work against you; the dollar increases against the currency of the country of the company you have invested in … and you'll get back fewer dollars.

Obviously, you want your stock to rise and a sweetener is getting a dividend (if it pays one) in the meanime. Keep in mind, markets rise and fall and companies announce separation suspensions, eliminations, or reductions.

This can happen in any of the world markets, not just at home.

Before you get too excited about international investment, you should understand that the US is not the only country where interest rates rise and fall.

The currency issue I mentioned, but worth mentioning again, currency fluctuations can hurt you.

In the US, you are fortunately because companies that list on the exchanges have to reveal a lot of information about themselves before they can be listed.

The rules are not the same all over the world, so investigate on your own, rather than trusting only what is offered to the public.

This would be of particular interest when it comes to the accounting methods of the companies and how they compute corporate and individual investor taxes.

Committing a portion of your investment dollars can be exciting and rewarding, but if you are not a savvy investor with a deep understanding of world markets, currency exchanges, tax laws, accounting, and company reporting practices, your personal investment risk will be very high .

I always suggest seeking professional advice when making any investment, be it; financial instruments, real estate, precious metals, or any of the other opportunities offered.

Take note, if you want to invest internationally there are alternatives to going directly to a foreign market and opening an account.

You may wish to investigate the various international mutual fund offerings, foreign companies that list directly on the US exchanges, or those that are offered through what are called American Depository Receipts.

The foreign markets always look inviting when our markets at home are showing some volatility, but with so many sectors in the US markets to choose from, it's not always smart to jump the fence into the yard with the grass that looks greener.

The more knowledgeable you are about investing, the better investor you will become. Multiple resources will provide varied opinions.

What one analyst loves, another analyst may dislike. Do your own research and do a lot of it, before jumping into the stock market because someone told you it's the thing to do.

"There are only two ways that you make money; you work and your money works … make your money sweat." -Lazz Laszlo