Studio Tuesday: Choosing the Right Backdrop

They may not be the main focus of a photograph but backdrops not only enhance an image but they can improve it by simplifying the background, placing the emphasis on the subject. By working with different kinds of backdrops, you can experiment with different designs and textures so you’re ready for anything. A new background can get a photographer’s creative juices flowing. There’s something about adding any new element to an image that can jump start you out of a rut.

Savage Infinity vinyl backgroundWhile your needs may vary depending on the project or budget, variety is the single most important factor to consider when purchasing any background that will complement your subject without competing with it. That’s why the most classic of all backgrounds is solid color seamless paper. Photographers have used Savage seamless background paper for more than sixty years. Their Widetone paper has a non-reflecting surface that’s available in 68 different colors and in 26-inch x 12 yards, 53-inch x 12 yards, 107-inch x 12 yards and 107-inch x 50 yard rolls. Savage seamless paper rolls are core wound and come wrapped in a plastic sleeve.

Savage Infinity vinyl background

1/125 sec at f/6.3 and ISO 250

Savage also offers vinyl backdrops and their Infinity Vinyl series has a matte finish that produces for a glare free background that’s ideal for portrait or commercial photography. Infinity Vinyl backdrops come in rolls on strong cores and can be used on most background support systems and have several advantages over seamless paper: They are durable and the white version creates a pure white when properly lit making it ideal for high key photography. I like the matte back (at right) as well for creating a dramatic low-key look. The backdrops are also easy to clean with damp sponge and because of its weight hangs straight.

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To learn more about studio lighting techniques, please pick up a copy of my book, “Studio Lighting Anywhere” which is available from your favorite book or camera stores as well as including Amazon.com.

Author: Joe Farace

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