Shooting portraits that look more professional are easy if you choose to shoot on an Old Master background. Of all the different backgrounds available to a photographer, I like the Old Master series best, as they create the same feeling you get when you see a Rembrandt, Monet, or Van Gogh Portrait. The background is out of focus intentionally to keep the attention on your subject, whatever color or size you choose will work with or without a background light. Many have a built in hot spot in the center of the background to provide a vignette with the edges darker and center a little brighter. This makes your photo appear to have a background light lighting the background when in reality it is painted into the background. Style shown MO7101 and MO5049
An Old Master background will work well with children, men and women, although some colors work better on some subjects than other colors. Shown MO7025 and MO125
I like to use the Old Master series of backgrounds to create a more quality image. Shooting the same images as illustrated on a paper or cloth background that is sharper detracts from the romantic feel, I try to put into my images. I find the Old Master background works exceptionally well in doing Lingerie and Boudoir portraits. Shown MO5016 and MO7084
I start by positioning my subject about 6'feet from the background. This gives me plenty of room to allow the background to fall out of focus and position a rim light if I decide to use the rim light. I set up a fairly large soft box or large white umbrella just to the left of my camera about 4-5 feet from the subject. Light should be a about 6 feet high to light down on the subject slightly. Then I add a rim light behind the subject to light the model's back side, when setting this light you will need the standard 6" reflector that comes with most lights, I like the SoCal 200 or 400 lights, I then add a 40º grid on the reflector to keep the rim light lighting the subject and not coming into my lens. You need to set the rim light one F:stop lower than the main to not let it overpower the main light.
A simple two light set-up with an Old Master background and you will be creating truly professional images.
Try it on your portraits.
It works for me.
Background shown below