Types of canvases used as hand-painted photography backdrops

A photo studio where you cannot find a backdrop is not the studio. This is one version of a saying that is popular in the photography world and it is hard to disagree with. No matter what type of background is used in the studio, it is the basic equipment, essential for photographer’s work. Many who start their photographic adventure often focus on buying very expensive equipment, forgetting about such an important task, as the right choice of background. The number of available materials on the market is enormous. This article will focus on hand painted canvas backdrops, those made of linen, cotton and a mixture of both fabrics.

What is the definition of photography backdrop?


Photography backdrop or photography backdrops are simply backgrounds that are used to make a photograph. Used both in the studio and outdoors, they come in many sizes, types and colors: monochrome, hand-painted, abstract, artistic, thematic (stage, genre), bluescreens and greenscreens (for video purposes). Photography backdrops are made of various materials: linen and cotton (linen backgrounds and so-called creases), vinyl, cardboard, fleece, agrotextile and many others.

Rolled linen canvas for photography backdrop

Hand painted linen backdrops


The linen backdrops are made of canvas. Linen canvas is a fabric made of linen, and therefore one of the most natural materials. The canvas absorbs paint very well and is distinctive for its texture, which creates a unique look for the background and changes the way the light interacts with it.

A bit more about the texture

The canvas backdrop perfectly absorbs paints, oils, dyes, and when hand-painted, it becomes completely unique, also because of its texture. Multiple layers of paint give a background the depth and tone that cannot be achieved with printed backdrops. The hand-painted canvas backdrops make the photography much more vivid and rich.

Raw rolled linen before paiting
Amazing linen durabilityand excellent adhesion of paints
We use high quality linen to create our photogtaphy backdrops

Pros of linen backdrops


  • Durability of linen backgrounds: linen backdrops are made of, well…, linen, and linen is an extremely wear-resistant material.Linen also provides excellent adhesion of paints, and the backdrop made of linen does not deform, mold or crack. Proper storage and maintenance of such a backdrop allows it to have a very long life in a photo studio.
  • Mobility of linen backgrounds: photographers take photography backdrops to many different places. The canvas background, on the other hand, behaves very gracefully during the “journey” from place to place. It can be rolled up without fear. However, it should not be folded, because wrinkles may appear on its surface and they are impossible to smooth.
  • Versatility: hand-painted linen backdrop is one of the best backgrounds for getting the right effects in portrait photography. Thanks to the use of such a background, the portrait gains depth. Skin tones, hair color and clothes of the photographed person are emphasized.

Linen backdrops are also widely used in culinary photography due to their texture. The natural and unsaturated colors of the hand-painted backdrop give the dishes a very tasty look. The linen backdrop is also perfect for fashion photography, product photography and many others.

However, linen canvases have their drawbacks. The biggest disadvantage is their price of the raw material that can be twice as expensive as cotton canvases.


Hand painted cotton backdrops


As the same as linen canvas, cotton backdrops can be created from various type of materials which differ in tangles and grammage.

Cotton backdrops are often used in creative photography, portrait photography, still life photography, as well as product photography. Their unquestionable advantages include the ability to absorb the lamp’s light without reflection.

Cotton backdrop is perfect for various of photography projects: such as: daylight, nightlight and their varied colors and texture give the photos a unique character.

Raw folded cotton before paiting
Amazing cotton structure visible on the picture after painting
We use high quality cotton to create our photogtaphy backdrops

Pros of cotton backdrops

There are several advantages to using cotton backdrops including:

  • Portability – they roll up to be put in a roll and weight much less than linen canvas, this makes them a good choice for location shoots or for travelling to a client’s house.
  • Durability – cotton backdrops are very tough and wear-resistant and will last for a big chunk of time.
  • More economical – a cotton backdrop will last for many years if taken care of and it is cheaper than linen backdrop.

In our STORE you can find both: linen and cotton canvas.

Conclusion and few tips

It is not so much about which type of backdrop is the best, because both have their strong points. It is about which type is best for you and the photography or videography you do. Space, storage, and transporting as well as price are all factors that will contribute to your final decision, but both types of backdrops can be used for any photography shoot.

And always remember to roll hand painted canvas backdrops instead of folding it.

Cotton or linen backdrops  have many characteristics that other photography backdrops do not. Choose those backdrops that work best for you, and you will achieve great results!

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