Unique Headshot Backgrounds for Small Areas Using Softboxes and Gels

I’m always on the lookout for new ideas for unique backgrounds, especially ones that work in small spaces. If the background is easy to set up and can be configured from material or gear I already have, well sign me up. So when I saw the title to Gavin Hoey’s latest video, I knew I had to watch it and if you are also looking for something small and easy, I suggest you watch this video.

I don’t have a large studio space to work in, so I have to keep my backgrounds small, not only when I’m using them, but also when stored. Because of this, I’m a big fan of Hoey because he’s built a small studio himself, and is always demonstrating what can be done in a small studio space. Of course, his use of softboxes as a background element isn’t anything new. However, it is a good reminder of what can be done with existing equipment for developing interesting headshots. If you are already doing headshots then most likely you already have the needed equipment.


By adjust the whitebalance, Hoey adds another element to the image to make the images pop a little more. But stop there? Why not add some inexpensive gels and you can have numerous different looks. Perhaps try different color gels in each of the softboxes for even more variety. You can also adjust the light output of the two softboxes to create different looks.

So with some equipment that most of us already have or can easily rent, and a little bit of experimentation a unique headshot background can be easily created almost anywhere. Or why stop there? I’m thinking of using this with even larger softboxes for a three quarter body shot of some athletes.