How to choose the right backdrop for your photos?

Though it might not be downright obvious at the start, choosing the right backdrop for the  hotoshoot is crucial for the overall mood and quality of the pictures. The thing is, we often tend to overlook the background, especially when it’s just a plain piece of cloth. However, if the canvas happens to be poor quality or not matching the direction of a shoot, people often have a problem pinpointing what’s really wrong with the image. But how to actually create a correct scenography for a portrait?

Right backdrop for a photoshoot — why it matters


The main purpose of a plain backdrop is to minimise any distractions from the frame. Although natural scenery — often blurred — can make a nice complement to the photograph, a smooth piece of canvas will always help to highlight the subject of a portrait. This clear contrast between the layers allows the artist to direct viewers’ focus more effectively, which ultimately leads to expression that is more precise and refined. After all, well-fitted commercial piece of cloth or paper — combined with proper lighting — can improve the quality of your work.

The right backdrop might also substantially affect the mood and overall direction of your photograph. Light and plain pieces of cloth or paper will result in clean, almost formal atmosphere, placing the focus entirely on the subject. Dark and irregular ones on the other hand will help you to create an aura of serenity, mixed with a little hint of mystery, which combined with specific type of lighting is bound to catch the eye.

How to pick the best photo background for a portrait?


While picking the best backdrop for your photoshoot, you have to think about the subject. Consider which aspects you  want to emphasize within the frame and either contrast or complement them with the appropriate piece of cloth — or other type of surface. The options here are endless, you’ll just have to trust your own sense of aesthetics and choose the colour composition that doesn’t hide or blend any elements of the subject, while simply looking good.

And you can rest assured, there is a lot to choose from. Colour is one thing, but the overall texture and finish is what truly sets the mood of a portrait. Apart from plain, solid colour photo backdrops, there are many other options available — starting from subtle patterns, often irregular and slightly washed, all the way to wavy muslin cloths, or even a green screen. It all depends on which elements of the frame you wish to emphasize and how you plan on presenting your subject. It’s worth noting, however, that pure white or black canvas might result in blending with some of the other content of the frame. But if that’s the risk you want to take — go for it!

When it comes to solid colour backdrops, especially if we’re talking about powerful and vibrant tones, your choice really has an impact on the effects of your shoot. Picking the right colour might turn an otherwise dull and monotonous frame into something inspired and aesthetically attractive. This applies not only to portraits, but also — or even primarily — to product photography. If you have to deal with boring packaging, simple label graphics and generally neutral appearance of a product, adding a little contrast might just do the trick.

Choosing photography backdrops — what else to consider?


While picking the right photo backdrop for your line of work, you also have to consider some technical aspects, such as mobility, available space or even type of mounting. It all depends on the location of your studio, as well as the resources at hand. Whether you mostly work at your own place or move between different locations should determine the nature of your equipment. The space and money you have at your disposal also play a huge role — decide if you can manage to own a few different canvases or if you just have to stick with one that’s more versatile. It’s also worth noting that no matter how much money and time you spend on choosing the highest quality backdrops, it probably won’t save the picture If the frame is poorly lit. Proper lighting — both natural and artificial — is key in the professional photography and you should learn that as soon as you can. But it’s not just quality that is at stake here — with different types of lighting you’re able to completely reinvent the canvas you already own. Modern times certainly offer a lot of new solutions to improve some aspects of your photographs digitally. By means of colour grading in postproduction you can slightly adjust the tones of your canvas, to make sure it matches the general direction you want to head towards with your shoot.

Endless possibilities!

As you see, picking the right backdrop for photography might be tricky. It all depends on numerous factors, which you’ll learn to recognize along your professional journey. Feel free to browse through our collection of high-quality canvas for portraits and videos. Also, be sure to contact us in case of any further questions, doubts or suggestions — we’re here for you!

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