Use Perforated Hardboard as a Backdrop for Epic Portraits with Beams of Light

Here’s a fun photo idea you might want to try out this Halloween: shoot epic portraits showing beams of light streaming in from the background. All you need are a perforated hardboard, a couple of flashes, and a fog/smoke machine (or some method of generating smoke).

The idea was sent in by photographer Nick Fancher, who tells us,

I have a couple large sheets of perforated hardboard that I picked up at the hardware store. I’ve been experimenting with how to modify light with them. The most effective way I’ve found is backlighting a subject with it. Then today I had the thought of adding smoke from a smoke machine. This would turn the pins of light into a radial of light shafts. I couldn’t wait for my next shoot to try it out so I thought my sons Halloween costume would work just as well. He wouldn’t stop staring at the main light, which turned into a happy accident as it gave him that heroic superman gaze.

The photo he shot is shown above. Here’s the lighting diagram:

Fancher says that for best results, you should have your rear flash three or four stops brighter than the main flash.

  • John

    For best results it’s also nice to have your subject in focus…

  • Kaitlin Bledsoe

    Idk what main subject you’re looking at…but his FACE looks like it’s in focus to me….

  • Yoni Mayeri

    Face is in focus, the rest is not as important and looks fine

  • Mead Norton

    If you stop down to F22 or so, then the beams of light will take on a star burst appearance.

  • Nikola Milasevic

    It clearly says f:2.5. There is this thing called DOF…

  • Tod

    It’s called peg board, and this has been being done for years.

  • Danny

    “It’s not in focus!” “It’s been done before” You guys remind me of the losers in the back of the classroom who rattled off insults just to get noticed. Nothing changed when you figured out how to use the internet did it? How about just seeing this for what it is….an awesome dad having fun taking a creative picture of his kid. And before you question this guys talent:

    Nick, great work as always buddy.

  • sebR

    NO the EYES are NOT in focus! the ears are. the eyes should be

  • Adam Gasson

    “the eyes should be” – is that a law? While we’re at it the horizon isn’t straight. And the skin tone isn’t perfectly natural.

  • Nathan Caulford

    Paint it black… It’ll look much better. :)

  • Jai Guru

    So that’s how Jesus did it.