What are Photography Backdrops and How do they Work? | Article

by Greg Thomason



Photography backdrops can make or break your photos. A photography backdrop is very important - in fact perhaps even more important than the subject you are photographing. Photography backdrops can work either with you or against you when shooting photos, so it is important to invest in a quality photography backdrop and know how they work so that you can create the most ideal situation for photographing subjects.



What are Photography Backdrops?

Photography backdrops are essentially large screens that you place behind you or a subject that allows you to capture the subject in the best possible way. There are several different fundamentals to consider when taking the best shot - meaning you need to make the best use of light, color, texture, texture, shape, form, tone and space. Photography backdrops allow you to take more control over some of the main fundamentals by offering a consistent area to shoot the photos against.


Photography backdrops come in many different sizes and materials for multiple different applications. The size and material that you need varies on the type of photos you are wanting to shoot as well as the subject that you are taking photos of. Other considerations include color, mounting types and textures. Check out how to choose the right photography backdrop for your photos here .


How do Photography Backdrops Work?

The right photography backdrop can impact both your photos quality and clarity. Sure, you can use photoshop to edit photos; however, there are some things that photoshop cannot fix and can be very time consuming to try to edit. Once you decide what type of photography backdrop you need , you need to sort through what tips and tricks are best for you to shoot the best photo.

The color of your backdrop and subject should coordinate
You need a photography backdrop that is going to compliment and coordinate with the subject. A photography backdrop should highlight the subject and not take away from them or distract from the main focal point of the photo. For example, if your subject is wearing white and the area is very light, you would not choose a white backdrop as it could cause the subject to fade away and “blend in” with the background. Some backdrops have multiple sides, allowing you to customize your background as needed.


You need the right distance between the subject and backdrop
The subject you are shooting should not be right against the backdrop. Remember, the backdrop is to enhance photos and not take away from the subject. If the subject is too close, the backdrop may become much more noticeable since it is no longer in the background. For most backdrops, six feet in front or away from the backdrop is the most ideal for quality photos. This six foot distance also helps prevent odd shadows or reflections in photographs.


The focus is the subject, not the backdrop
When choosing a backdrop, you want to choose one that will capture the subject without distractions. If your backdrop has too many textures or colors, it could take away from the actual photo or the focus. Not only that, but it could skew with the highlights and colors of the photo itself.



Positioning and Hanging your Backdrop

Since photography backdrops come in many sizes, weights and materials, they can be set up just about anywhere you are wanting to take a photo at. How you set up your backdrop depends on where you are shooting the photo at.


In a Permanent Location
In a permanent location such as a studio, it is best to set up the backdrop with a stable, standing set that will allow you to easily change the position of the backdrop how you need. There are many different stands that you can purchase or even make for under $200. Whether you go the professional route and buy a stand, or if you DIY a stand out of materials such as PVC, standing sets make it easy to keep your photography backdrop up long-term.


In a Temporary Location
Oftentimes, temporary locations make it difficult to set up a photography backdrop as you are constantly packing up and moving onto the next location. For the photographer on the go, there are collapsible backdrops that are not only light weight, but easy to assemble as well. They can come in many different sizes but all are important to taking quality photos on the go. Check out V-Flat’s tabletop backdrops and DUO boards - both with easy and quick installation for photography on the go.




Final Thoughts

Whether you are a photographer on the go, in the studio, or just someone that loves to photograph moments, it is important to do your research on the best photography backdrop for you and figure out how they can work to your advantage in creating the best photos.

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“I’m really loving how I can turn into a background, use it to fill shadow or add more shadows, and also as a changing room lol. I’m loving it.”

Jefferson L.