Portrait studio backdrops – Types and Recommendations

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Portrait studio backdrops
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There are numerous considerations involved in choosing which portrait studio backdrops to use. Some photographers consider price the most important factor while others consider flexibility or portability as the most significant feature.

In this post, I will discuss the various types of backdrops and their supporting systems, and I will mention some recommendations for each type.

Portrait studio backdrops

Photo by Flávio Augusto from Pexels

What is a backdrop

A backdrop refers to anything that can be used to enhance the look of the photograph. Put simply, the filling in of a background is the backdrop, which must be considered carefully to get it right. It can be used inside of a studio or taken out for an outdoor photoshoot.

Some modern photographers choose to use a digital backdrop, rather than the traditional ones described here. Check out this post for more information on how to use digital backdrops.

Backdrops come in various forms – some are freestanding and can be erected anywhere, others require dedicated stands. Some can be hung on a standard curtain rail, allowing you to easily transform a room in your home into a studio. Others are also in self-contained steel frames and can be held up by an assistant.

 

Backdrops Materials

The common materials used in making photography backdrops are paper, muslin, vinyl, and microfiber. Let us discuss their pros and cons and my recommendations for each type in the following paragraph.

Paper Background

Paper Background has been around for many years, which means it’s a go-to product for pros looking to get consistent results. It’s relatively inexpensive and makes a good cost-effective option. With many color choices, you can capture any look imaginable; they have also a non-reflective texture.

Features

  • They are used when shooting high-key lighting
  • Ideal for seamless, crisp backgrounds
  • When it gets dirty or creased, you simply tear off the soiled portion and unroll more for a perfectly clean background.

Savage Seamless Background Paper – #1 Super White

Portrait studio backdrops

Product highlights

  • Savage Seamless Background Paper is the industry standard for producing smooth, even backgrounds for photo and video use
  • Sizes from 26 inches x 36 feet up to 107 inches x 36 feet
  • Professional quality, non-reflective surface available in an array of vibrant colors and sizes
  • 100% Recyclable


Muslin Backdrops

They are made from 100% cotton material and are glare-free, washable, and durable. They come with sewn sleeves for a supporting rod, although they are light enough to hang from improvised supports on location. Muslins quickly and easily create a professional look while also offering versatility. They come in a variety of patterns and styles, from solid colors to retro-print backgrounds, all with seamless construction to eliminate background lines.

Features

  • Muslin is lightweight, so it is much more portable than a large roll of seamless paper. It’s easy to transport.
  • You can steam muslin to remove wrinkles.
  • Muslin is more durable than seamless paper, they can last for many years.
  • Great for textured backgrounds
  • Not as many solid colors available as in paper backdrops

Neewer 10 x 12FT / 3 x 3.6M PRO Photo Studio 100% Pure Muslin Collapsible Backdrop Background

Portrait studio backdrops

Product highlights

  • 10 x 12ft/ 3 x 3.6M Background, perfect for television, video production and digital photography.
  • Rod pocket on ONLY one edge allows being draped or hung.
  • Finished along all edges to prevent tears.
  • Made of 100% pure muslin, good vertical sense, and durable.
  • If necessary, please iron the back surface with steam iron but not dry iron.


Issuntex 9X15ft Blue Background with 4 Clips Muslin Backdrop

Portrait studio backdrops

Product highlights

  • Sizes from 5X6.5 ft up to 10X24 ft
  • Soft fabric: High-quality soft fabrics, effective wrinkle resistance
  • Non-gloss: Microfiber nonreflective and non-gloss surface
  • Easy to install: Rod pocket on each top edge allows to be draped or hung
  • Easy to care: Simply dust off the surface and it will be ready to use. Machine washable.


Vinyl backdrop                                                 

A vinyl backdrop is touted as a wrinkle-free option that is easy to clean between shots. They are durable, strong, and come in a glare-free matte finish so they are great for studio photo sessions.

Features

  • It can be used when your photography involves intense action shots (Kids, bets)
  • The vinyl backdrop is relatively heavy.

Funnytree Vinyl Wood Photography Background Backdrops Wooden Board

Portrait studio backdrops

Product highlights

  • Size:3ftx5ft up 8ftx8ft; Item send by folded, easy to carry.
  • Material: Profession photography cloth(Thin vinyl) Whole piece, without Splice.
  • Color: Vibrant colors, use high-resolution pictures and high-tech digital production equipment, carefully printed by inkjet printer, glare-free.
  • Usage: It can be used in Photography, Birthday, Party, Wedding, Festival Decoration, and so on.
  • NOTE: iron the backside with low temperature to remove the creases.


HUAYI 5X7ft White Brick Wall With Gray Wooden Floor Photography Vinyl Backdrop D-2504

Portrait studio backdrops

Product highlights

Material composition: Made of high-quality material, it is durable.

  • Size: 5x7ft up to 8ftx12ft, Lightweight, easy storage and carry.
  • In order to facilitate the transport, the use of folding, after receipt may be creased, please do not worry, the crease will not affect your use. Roll it up for 2 to 5 days and the wrinkles are almost invisible. If necessary, please iron the back surface with steam iron but not dry iron.
  • Using a series of high-tech digital production equipment carefully made digital pictures inkjet pictures. The backdrops need to keep distance to take pictures. In addition, many large format images may seem a little pixelated. Different lighting will have different shooting effects; you can try to adjust the lights to make your photos better!
  • Ideal for wedding, party, newborn, children, and product photography, as well as for television, video production, and digital photography.


Microfiber backdrops

It is a computer-printed wrinkle resistant microfiber backdrop cloth. Microfiber is soft, they are washable safe and a low ironing, and you can put these backdrops in the washer and dryer to clean them. They are portable, durable, and can reuse for your next shoots. They are folded not need big storage.

Kate 8x8ft/2.5×2.5m Blue Photography Backdrops Retro Solid Background Photo Studio Props

Portrait studio backdrops

Features

  • Size: from 3x5ft up to 10×20 ft, items are sent by folding, and easy to carry (The backdrop can be customized).
  • Material: Microfiber. Compared with other materials, Microfiber is soft, easy to keep clean.
  • Feature: Non-reflective, shallow wrinkles, seamless, easy to fold, and carry.
  • Be Suitable for: Children, Newborn, Baby, Wedding, Holiday party, Birthday Party, Family decoration.
  • There is a pocket at the top for wall hanging.


Image by Jerzy Górecki from Pixabay

The supporting system

LimoStudio AGG2612 10×7.3 ft. Adjustable Photo Video Backdrop Muslin Stands

Portrait studio backdrops

Product highlights

  • Contents: 1 x Backdrop Support Stand with Crossbar / 2 x Spring Clamp / 4 x String Clip / 2 x Sand Bag / 1 x Carry Bag
  • Good Flexibility with Width (5.3 ft.–10 ft.) & Height (2.7 ft.–7.3 ft.) Adjustment
  • Professional Lightweight Support for Backdrops, Aluminum Alloy Construction for Durability & Portability
  • Multi-Functional Clamp and String Clip to Stabilize the Backdrop Muslin / Premium Quality Sand Bag for Stabilizing the Support System


FUDESY Backdrop Stand 7x10Ft Adjustable Photography Background Support System Kit for Photo Video Studio with carrying Bag,Spring Clamps

Portrait studio backdrops

Product highlights

  • Kit Includes:(2) x 7Feet Light Stand / (2) x Extensible Crossbar / (4) x Spring Clamp / (1) x Carry Bag / (1) x Instruction.
  • FUDESY Lightweight Adjustable Photography Backdrop Stand is Made of Aluminum Alloy Construction, Stable and Sturdy. Easy to Set Up and Take Down, Ideal for Photo Studio, Video Shooting
  • The Length of Background Support System Able to Be Adjusted Freely within 5.3ft to 10ft.Two Male/Female Extensible Crossbars are Convenience to Connect and Adjust. Diameter:1inch
  • The Height of Backdrop Stand Can Be Adjusted From 2.7ft to 7ft, Fully Folded, It Measures Just 2.4ft Long. When Each Light Stand is Fully Extended, The Area is 4.6 sq. ft
  • Come with 4 pcs 4.5inch Spring Clamps to Hold Background to Prevent It Slip-Out, Such as Muslin, Canvas, Paper. Included a Nylon Portable Carry Bag with Velcro, Easy to Transport and Store


Fotodiox Triple-Roller Roll Paper Drive Set with Wall Mount Support for Mounting 3X Paper Background Roll

Portrait studio backdrops

Product highlights

The Triple Drive Paper Background Kit is designed to support up to three rolls of seamless paper, as well as muslin and fabric backgrounds mounted with PVC or aluminum tubes. The Triple Hook Wall Mounts can be wall or ceiling mounted via drywall or stud anchors. The Paper Drive Roller sets are inserted at each end of a paper core, expanded, and then placed on the hooks. The Paper Drive Chains on the drive set gives the convenience of rolling up or down a paper background.

The paper drive sets incorporate two expandable plugs; one side has a large toothed gear which a high impact plastic chain and weight is attached to allowing easy raising and lowering of a seamless background paper roll, the other side has an adjustable tension drag. The Paper drive can accommodate almost any size paper core and length.

This background support system is a smart substitute for an expensive motorized system for the small-medium sized studio and home-based studio. Durable, lightweight, counter-balanced chain and gear assembly make raising and lowering your backgrounds quick and easy. It takes small space when the background is rolled up, very easy for installation on your studio wall or ceiling. Economical and convenient.

Kit Includes:

2x Triple Hook Wall Mounts

3x Paper Drive Roller Sets (Pairs)

3x Paper Drive Chain & Weights

Conclusion

It is important when choosing a backdrop to make sure that the colors in the background and the foreground are coordinate. You should ensure you choose a background color that highlights the subject, without affecting their look. You should never select a background that is going to create a distraction or take attention away from the subject of the photo. You should ensure that they are not standing too close to the backdrop or that the background has blemishes or lines, as this will reduce the quality of the photo.

Related posts

Photography Studio – Setting Up Home Photography Studio

How To Make Digital Background In Photoshop

How To Use Digital Background In Photoshop

 

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12 Comments

  • Sounds great. I generally lean toward muslin backgrounds since it’s easy to manage and cost-effective. Moreover, while utilizing distinctive lighting techniques I can significantly modify the way muslin product backdrop looks in a photograph, giving it either neutral or progressively sensational feel.

    • Thanks for your comment, it is great to know that you like muslin backdrops, it is my favorite type too!

  • Nice article you have here.when I started photography, I started with paper background, news paper design precisely and it’s quite amazing and inexpensive. It is cool for someone that wish to go into  photography but are constrain by finance. My observation about Retro background is that, you should always monitor kids around it with sharp objects. In other not to destroy any of the background.

  • Thank you very much for sharing all the product recommendation. I am actually searching for new backdrop for some internal events that will be held my company after this coronavirus pandemic has been subsided and we can start working at the office again. We plan to use custom backdrop for photoshooting with high durable materials, because we want to reuse it for other events. Does Muslin material suitable for custom backdrop? Thank you for your answer 

    • Hi Alblue

      Thanks for your comment, using custom backdrops is a great idea, most of the places that offer the printing service can also offer you many options regarding choosing the suitable material for your customer backdrop.

  • Thanks. This is a very comprehensive review and explanation of all kinds of backdrops. I see that you did include some mention of the reflective qualities of backdrops but I didn’t see any discussion or explanation on this point. One of the obvious problems of reflective backgrounds would be creating unwanted color cast on the subject. Then of course another element that comes very much into play is lighting the background and lighting the subject. Noting that there will inevitably and often be some interaction of the two. I did get involved in lighting TV studio sets many years ago – in a previous life it feels like now – and I remember that background lighting often has to be achieve from very acute angles and this can be an issue when the backdrop or background has texture. Thanks again for a great review. Best regards, Andy

    • Thanks, Andy for your nice comment. I agree with you, lighting the background can be tricky and need special attention.

  • I love photography and am very glad to have come across your website which is full of a variety of resources.  I have bookmarked your site for future reference.   I was pleasantly surprised by the pricing of the backdrops and wall mounts.  Do you think the use of backdrops is declining, being replaced by the use of more digital backdrops?   I have been an amateur photographer for many years ever since I purchased my Nikon D3300 Kit.  This has been a very versatile camera.  For anyone who is looking to take the step to upgrade their camera – what would be the next reasonable and cost-effective camera that you would recommend?

    • Hi Steven

      Thanks for your feedback, although the use of digital background is increasing rapidly, I think that the use of ordinary backdrops will continue for years to come because the use of digital background needs mastering an editing program like Photoshop, it is a slow process and time-consuming!

      For your question regarding updating your Nikon D3300, I recommend going for D7500 it is fantastic

  • This is a wonderful resource for buying portrait studio backdrops. It’s so hard to know what the quality is before you buy backdrops online so this is a huge help. Thank you for showing these beautiful backdrops and making it so easy to buy them. For me, as a novice photographer this site is a great place to learn and grow my business. 

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