So here is the shoot scheduled you had been looking upto for so long. You have been running around the city to find a good background , but they are sometimes so noisy and sometimes compete with the subject for attention. It would have been a solace if the hardships stopped there, but that heavy post processing consumes almost all of your ‘me’ time. “What do I do now ?” is the million dollar question you are left with, and that’s where the super backdrops come to rescue.
Backdrops give the control of the scene back to you and help you move the focus to the subject. Also editing photos becomes effortless.
But choosing which backdrops should be a part of your inventory can be a bit overwhelming. Photographers are often bombarded with a series of questions like … What type of backdrop should I choose ? What size of backdrop should I choose ? What shades of backdrop should I go with ? Do I need textures ? or should I use a smooth blend ? And how many should I buy ….and more and more and more .
We will try to answer as much of that as possible in this article and help you make your backdrop a good investment and a valuable asset of your inventory.
Which backdrop should I choose ?
Backdrops are available in various materials like paper, Muslin, Vinyl and Canvas . Paper is preferred for a solid background. Muslins are lightweight and handy . Vinyls are sturdy and preferred for a printed background. Canvas backdrops are sought after for their rich look , durability and old masters (oil painting) effect. Each material also has its own challenges too: Papers are mostly one time use; Muslins get wrinkly and torn ; Vinyl starts to look plastic and repetitive after some use. Canvas may get bulky and often portability becomes a restraint.
Weighing pros and cons of each material against the type of photography that you are involved in, will help you zero this down. For eg. Canvas backdrops are ideal for portraits, fashion and baby and maternity photography.
What size of backdrop should I choose ?
Once material is finalised , Size is the next consideration . Mainly one factor dictates the size of the backdrop that is the size of your subject, other things like the space in your studio and portability could also be considered.
Sizes like 2ft x 2ft, 2ft x 3ft and 3ft x 4ft backdrops are best suited for food photography and product photography.
Sizes like 3 ft x 5ft or 5ft x 3ft are good for newborn and sitter babies. Size 6ft x 4ft can cover a wide range of setups for newborn, sitter and toddler babies. You can also use it for close up portrait shots. Thanks to its versatility 6ft x 4ft is our most selling backdrop size.
Size 5ft x 7ft is another favourite for Toddlers and Up close portraits .
Size 6ft x 9ft and 6ft by 10 ft are ideal for full length shots and thus best suited for maternity, fashion and couple shots.
Larger sizes like 8ft x 12 ft are best suited for group or family shots.
Another obvious point to keep in mind that we tend to forget is that(specially by the time you go to the last question 😉 ) , a larger backdrop will always make up for smaller size, but the viceversa isn’t possible.
We will continue with other questions like shades and texture in our next part