If you are creative, on a budget and want to maximize your money, purchasing a white backdrop will allow you some flexibility with a bit of lighting and settings in the camera. First, if you bought a white background, and you light it, usually a stop to 2 stops brighter than the lighting on your subject, you will get a pure white background.
This type of look is best achieved with continuous studio lights for a couple of reasons. These types of lights usually have a modeling light which helps to visualize where the light will fall on the background. The second reason is they are usually more powerful than speed lights and can easily be adjusted in stops which helps figure out the power.
The second look you can get is the gray background. You can achieve this by turning off the background light and just lighting your subject. The light fall off will make the background appear gray as in this example.
For a black background, simply adjust your shutter speed to maximum sync speed of the light, usually around 1/250th should produce a black background. Then when lighting the subject, they will appear against a black background. Super simple. Play around with this and you can produce some really cool looks.
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