Home Forums Photo Critique Backdrops


This topic contains 2 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by  James Staddon 8 months, 3 weeks ago.

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    Jamie Parfitt

    I don’t have a photo to upload with this question, but here it is: Do any of you use purchased backdrops? We are thinking of buying a couple with maybe a waterfall, rose trellis, or blossoming trees on them. When I look at them on Amazon, they seem to have all the pretty parts in the center, which seems to be the area that people would be standing. I held my fingers up in front of the pictures and noticed that the upper sections which show above my fingers often are dark clouds or dark other things. Also, I was surprised to read reviews saying they are plastic and therefore wrinkled and can’t be ironed. Does anyone have experience for or against them?

    ~Jamie Parfitt


    Caitlin Compton


    Great question! I have a backdrop that got given to me as a gift from a place called dropz. They do ship to the USA, but I imagine the shipping would be fairly pricey. My backdrop is made from vinyl and I’ve had no problems with it getting creased provided I store it in the cardboard tube it got shipped in. Because it’s vinyl, it means you can wipe it off if it gets dirty without ruining it as well. Mine is a fairly small backdrop that I more use as the background for stock photography, though I have used as the backing for a video. I haven’t use mine a lot, but it is really handy as far as being able to have a nice background that you can put in position to get good lighting etc. It’s also neat to have a background that you can take anywhere and that you’ll always have! The only problem that I’ve had with mine, is if you are doing stuff that’s too close up I can see the grain of the vinyl. But, it sounds like you’re wanting them for portraits, so that probably shouldn’t be a problem. For an example, you can see some of the pictures I’ve taken with mine here –

    Hope that’s helpful!


    James Staddon

    I have very little experience with anything but single-color cloth backdrops. In general, I like simple backdrops that are neutral in color because I don’t have to worry about it pulling attention to itself.

    Backdrops go hand in hand with studio lighting. I’ve tried using backdrops without studio lighting and have run into nothing but problems and results that I do not like. I’m in the process of figuring out a good, portable, 3-point light setup so I can shoot indoors using something other than a natural background and actually get results that I like. So, just a word of warning. The decision about what backdrop to use usually comes after all the lighting decisions have been made.

    So, since my observation is that backdrops require studio lighting, I find that backdrops that try to simulate a natural setting don’t really fit. They look “fake” and thus “cheap” somehow, regardless of how expensive they actually may have been in price. They are very hard to make look “right”. I think natural, outdoor backgrounds look in place when shot under natural, outdoor lighting.

    You didn’t mention textured or patterned backdrops, but I would say that they probably tend to unnecessarily date photos just like fads or trends in clothing.

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