A Beginner’s Guide to Photography Backdrops
As a photographer, you must be hands-on with planning out your project before you start. This is because every element of the project will play a key role in the overall ambiance. Backdrops are elements that cannot be ignored in events such as birthday parties, weddings, or even corporate events; they significantly turn the surroundings into great photographic spaces.
Photography Backdrop Tips
If you are a beginner at photography, then you might not have much knowledge of photography backdrops and how to implement them. To guide you with that, below are some general helpful photography backdrop tips:
Be Keen to Details
You could easily pay attention to the main subject and forget about the background. This will easily mess you up as a photographer. A photographer needs to pay particular attention to the background. This is mostly because the background often entails the entire photograph, especially when shooting landscapes.
Have a Good Distance Between the Subject and the Background
You definitely do not want to focus more on the background than the subject. Creating a good space between the subject and the background will help you avoid distractions by blurring the background. However, you do not need to always blur your background. For instance, when working with environmental portraits, you will need to see what’s going on behind your subject.
Choose a Subtle Background
Unless you are doing an environmental shoot, your focus should always be on the subject and not the background. Choosing a “fun” background will most likely take away your attention from the subject. Go for a subtle background that won’t affect your focus on the subject.
The Zoom in Power
As much as you want your background to be the best, you want your photography to focus more on the subject than on the background. Moving closer or zooming into your subject will help you avoid most of the background. You can also zoom into the subject to a point where you see no background. This will help you to give all your attention to the subject as there will be nothing else in your vision. Sometimes you might need to crop a bit of your subject to get rid of the background, which is very okay.
Various Types of Photography Backdrops
Now that you have a little knowledge of backdrops, it is necessary to also know more about various types of photography backdrops. There are numerous types of backdrops that you would get confused on deciding what to use during your next shoot. Well, here are the main types of backdrops, and more details about where and when to use them:
1. Seamless Paper
For over 60 years now, the seamless paper has been almost a stable item in nearly all photography studios. The seamless paper backdrop has earned its stripes in professional photography for various reasons such as; its consumable nature, color variety, as well as high-quality background. If you are a beginner, you might need orientation in using this backdrop to make the best out of it. Below are things to have in mind when using the seamless paper backdrop:
When and Where
As mentioned earlier, seamless paper backdrops can be used in nearly all photo studios. However, there are a few cases that using this backdrop will be your best choice. Some of these setups include:
- Baby Portraits
- Food Photography
- Cake smash shoots
- Pet photos
- When desiring an infinity, bold color, bright or a seamless background
As the name suggests, seamless paper is made of paper. Therefore, anything that could affect normal paper will affect your seamless paper. When storing this backdrop, be sure to look out for moisture. The seamless paper will absorb moisture in the storage space. This could cause wrinkles and ripples, something that will definitely mess up your photography.
2. Muslin Backdrops
This is the go-to backdrop if you are looking for something long-lasting. Muslin backdrops will not tear or develop signs of wear as most backdrops do. This backdrop is ideal for portraits, group photos, product shoots, video productions, amongst many others.
Muslin has a non-reflective cotton fabric that makes it suitable for making blue and green screens during video productions. The following heads up will make it easy for you to use muslin as your background option:
Of course, you need an ultra-smooth background for your shoot. To achieve that, you will need to steam the muslin or adjust your lighting setting a bit to shake off the wrinkles from your focus.
Have a Reasonable Budget
Well, if you are not ready to spend a little, then you might as well overlook this backdrop. Muslins are a bit expensive compared to most backdrops. However, the fact that muslin does not tear or wear cancels out its expensiveness.
3. Canvas Backdrops
Canvas backdrops are made of heavy materials that block background light. Other than photography, canvas backgrounds are also used for hand painting due to their heavy texture. Canvas can also be used in specifically designed backgrounds such as old-world plaster walls and classic clouds. The backdrop is also ideal for portrait photography. Below are more tips on using canvas backdrops:
Water can be used to clean canvas backdrops. Spot treatment is more appropriate when cleaning this backdrop. Use a damp sponge to remove dirt. It is crucial to note that you should never apply water to canvas used for hand painting
Canvas backdrops are durable. But still, you have to store them right to enhance their durability. Canvas should be stored straight not only to help them last longer but also to keep them ready for next use.
4. Collapsible Disc
A Collapsible disc will always come in handy whenever you can’t work with existing walls or plants to create an appealing background. Most photographers move around with collapsible discs in their cars as it always saves the day in cases such as;
- When you find yourself in a very small room; too small to have portrait sessions
- When you need to adjust your background more than the environment can accommodate