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Choosing the right backdrop for your photoshoot

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Choosing the right backdrop for your photoshoot doesn’t only come down to the one you think looks the best. You will also have to consider the material it is made of. Is it user friendly? Does it wrinkle? Besides the material you will also have to consider how much you’d like to spend on a background. So let’s start comparing shall we?

Choosing the right backdrop for your photoshoot

Seamless paper

Why should you use Seamless paper?

  • Lots and lots of variety

Seamless paper comes in a lot of colours and a lot of sizes. Seamless background paper comes in rolls, with typical widths of 26, 53, 107, and 140 inches. And 12, 35, or 50 yards long. Sizes that are not always available in different materials. Funny enough the most sold Seamless background worldwide is still just the white one

  • Seamlessness

The transition between the backdrop and the flooring is seamlessness. It flows perfectly

  • Disposable

Did you do a cake smash and the backdrop is covered from top to bottom in cake? Don’t worry about cleaning it up. Because it is paper, you can just cut off the part that’s dirty and move on.

  • Inexpensive

Seamless paper is by far the most inexpensive backdrop you can use for your photography.

Why shouldn’t you use Seamless paper?

Remember the saying: a knife cuts both ways? Unfortunately it is also true for Seamless paper. But let me warn you: every backdrop has both his advantages and disadvantages.

  • Weight and size

Because they come in sizes that no other backdrop does, the Seamless paper is not very mobile. The paper is rolled around a thick cardboard tube. When setting up your background you will need someone to help you.

  • Outdoor use is not ideal

Sure you can use it outside but since it’s paper you will need a clean firm underground since it could get easily punctured. And of course stay away from rain or water

  • Takes lots of storage space

In order to store seamless paper it needs to be rolled up and stored in a dry environment. Humidity causes the paper to wrinkle over time.

Conclusion

I think every photographer should atleast have the white seamless backdrop. If cared for properly you’ll enjoy it for a very long time. If you are new photographer who’s just starting out, you can’t go wrong with investing in a few paper backdrops!

Vinyl backdrop

Why should you use a Vinyl backdrop?

  • A one-time purchase

Unlike a paper backdrop, a vinyl backdrop is much more durable. When you spill something on it, just use a wet cloth to remove it. This is why this backdrop is so popular with newborn & food photographers. Unlike paper it’s much more environmental.

  • When stored properly, it will not wrinkle

Do not fold a vinyl backdrop when you store it. Rather roll it around a strong cone.

  • Great for High-Key photography

IF you buy a non-reflective Vinyl backdrop that is.

Why shouldn’t you use a Vinyl backdrop?

  • Most expensive backdrop

A vinyl backdrop is the most expensive one you can get. Of course it is, when properly cared for and stored, the most durable of them all.

  • Weight & size

Depending on the size of the vinyl backdrop, the weight can become too much for one person to handle.

  • Not ideal for outdoor use or on location

Because of the weight and the fact that it needs to be rolled up makes it harder to use it outdoor but it’s not impossible

  • Takes lots of storage space

Just like paper , the vinyl needs to stay rolled up. And it should be kept in a room temperature setting. Cooler temperatures can make vinyl stiff and nonpliable.

Conclusion

I have to admit the one that I use the most often is Vinyl. Although I often shoot on location, the weight and size does not bother me enough to not want to take it with me. But my husband is always with me to help me set it up…

Muslin backdrop

Why should you use a Muslin backdrop?

  • Inexpensive

It is more expensive than paper, but it’s cheaper than Vinyl

  • Medium-weight

Doesn’t weigh a lot and it’s easy to carry making it ideal for those outdoor & location shoots

  • Washable

Now this is both a pro and a con. It is washable but not as washable as vinyl where you can just take a wet cloth and be done with it..

  • Easy to store

How to store a muslin backdrop depends entirely on how you want it to look when you take it out to shoot. Do you want to have a textured look? Or do you want to go for a smooth unwrinkeled look? Less storage space is needed if you decide on the textured look, you can just toss it in your closet ( yes literally ). To achieve a smooth unwrinkeled look, you must use a PVC pipe and have a steamer nearby to remove those last creases and wrinkels.

Why shouldn’t you use a Muslin backdrop?

  • Wrinkels easily

Depending on how you like your Muslin backdrop, you might need to steam your backdrop before each shoot.

  • Washable

Not as washable as vinyl..

Conclusion

Personally I am not a big fan of Muslin backgrounds. But it’s got more to do with the kind of photography that I do than it does with the muslin itself. Since I photograph babies and young children, things get spilled. When using Vinyl, I just use a wet cloth and be done with it.

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