Photography Backdrops add detail to your photos and videos in addition to conveying a specific mood. There are many different options for photo backdrops, but I would recommend having at least four different backdrop colors and three different backdrop sizes. The most common backdrop sizes are 6’x9’, 10’x12’ and 10’x20’. So, when would you use one size over the other?
- 6’x9’ – this size is most common for “headshots” and very small subjects
- 10’x12’ – with this larger size, you can still do headshots but also full body shots.
- 10’x20’ – the 10’x20’ photo background is the most versatile. It works well for group photos or wedding pictures. Remember, you will need more lighting (or increased brightness) with the larger backdrops.
Now, you will want to consider the color of your backscreens. Green, Black, White and Blue are the most common colors and each shade has its own purpose. So, when would you use one color over another?
- Green – Green Backdrops are great whenever you want to change the background of the photo or video. This is known as Chroma Key photography and has been in use since the 1940s. You typically will see green backdrops used in for weddings, portraits, filming, TV productions or during periods of rain. If you are making a YouTube video for example, you might want a green-colored backdrop. One of the common uses of green screens are with weather forecasts as the meteorologist is really just pointing at a green screen, with the weather maps being exchanged by the studio production crew. You can also use Photoshop to add your particular photography background.
- Black – Black Backdrops are used at times to create personality or to make the subjects really jump off the print. It really can enhance the skin tone of a person who is a subject and you can create highlighting lines around the edge of their clothing and create special headshots. You want to typically have the black backdrop further back from the subject and you also will want to have sufficient lighting as the black backdrop will absorb the lighting. Though black photo backgrounds are not the most common, they provide is a great way to produce some unique and memorable photos.
- White – in my experience, a White Backdrop is the simplest to use. As with a black backdrop, the white version will cause the person or subject to seemingly “pop out” of the photo. Make sure to have sufficient lighting. If not, the subject can take on the hue of the white background. The main purpose of a white backdrop is for the viewer’s attention to focus on the subject. If I am taking a photo of a product for example, I always want to use a white backdrop.
- Blue – as in the case with green screens, Blue Backdrops are also classified as “Chroma key” photography. Take note that blue backdrops require at least double the luminosity of a green backdrop. In addition, since green and blue are at opposite ends of the color spectrum, you will want to use a blue backdrop if the subject is green or in the green spectrum and do the opposite if the subject is blue or in the blue spectrum. Blue backdrops are marvelous for creating darker or nighttime conditions. Often, I find that bluescreens can be easier to work with than their green “cousins”. Blue hues have less “color spill-over” with Blue Backdrops and allow for a much cleaner “color correction”. Use a blue backdrop when desirous of conveying your subject in a professional environment. For example, I will do a headshot of an executive wearing a black suit and red against a blue backdrop. Again, Photoshop or other apps will create the digital photography backgrounds, as needed.