If you have ever dipped your toes into photography, you'd know the importance of backdrops. The right paper backdrop can make a huge difference in the impact and quality of your final shot.
However, if you are new to photography backdrops, you might end up with a useless paper roll. But with the right guidance, you can use paper backdrops to your best advantage and take your photography to the next level. Here are the top ten tips to remember when working with paper backdrops.
Paper backdrops are quite delicate and should be stored carefully to increase their longevity. One great way to store them is to keep them standing up vertically and not lying down. You can use tubes and wall mounts to store them vertically and prevent moisture damage. It also prevents the colored side of the paper from fading.
If you store them hanging, they might sag and lose their evenness. You should also avoid keeping them leaned against the walls. If you keep the paper backdrops folded for long, they might sag in the middle or get unwanted lines on them. It can ultimately ruin your backdrops and your photos.
Use Lighting Wisely
If you want to create a dramatic or edgy appearance with your paper backdrop, consider low-key lighting that works with shadows. Pick a dark, monochrome backdrop and focus the lighting on your subject to achieve this. The light shouldn't reflect from your subject onto the backdrop.
If you're looking to keep your photos neat and fresh, high-key lighting will work great. The best paper backdrops for this look would be solid-colored with light shades. The light falling on your subject should be lighter in the shade than the backdrop to create a glimmering ambiance.
With lighting, distance and angle are also crucial. You'd want to ensure you're not going overboard with the distance because that can affect the end result.
Paper backdrops are usually pretty heavy and can pose a safety threat if not handled properly. You should use a sturdy system like a heavy-duty metal backdrop stand when doing photography using paper backdrops.
Make sure you unroll them properly and use a clamp on each end to keep from unrolling too much. You would also want to stick it to the floor properly by choosing a smooth floor area.
Don't Walk On It
Whether you're using seamless or canvas paper backdrops for photography, it's easy to ruin them by walking on them with your shoes on. You can walk on it with clean shoes if you're the model, but you should only walk on the paper in your socks or, better still, go barefoot.
To make it easy, you can keep a couple of foot mats around the backdrop and wipe your shoes every time you want to step on the paper. This approach will help you prevent smudges and dirt on your backdrop.
Position Your Subject Appropriately
Your subject might be in the best maternity dress for photoshoot, but it can ruin their pictures if they aren't placed on the backdrop properly. To make sure you never get this wrong, you can follow the rule of thirds to perfect the subject placement in front of the background.
If you're using a textured or printed backdrop, place your model around six to eight feet in front of it to prevent undesirable shadows. In the end, it's all about proportions and how the subject fits into your lens frame.
Blur The Background
You got a backdrop for food photography because you want the food to pop and the backdrop to act as a supporting tool. So, to bring more attention to your product or subject, you can blur the backdrop a little bit. To achieve this, choose the appropriate aperture setting on your camera that allows you to shoot with a more shallow depth of field.
If you feel the blur is not cutting it for you, you might need to replace the dazzling background with a simpler one. This approach will reduce distractions in the frame and put the spotlight on the subject.
Depending on the size of the paper backdrop you're using, a few mounting options are available. You can mount it on fixed bars or stands to keep it simple. This approach is ideal for those who have a photography studio and don't need their backdrop mounts to be portable.
You can use rollers or portable stands if you want to take your background outdoors and shoot at different locations.
When choosing a paper backdrop for your photography session, you must pay close attention to its color. Every color has a meaning and a vibe. For instance, purple backdrops add elegance to your subject, while yellow draws attention. If you're looking for a color that causes the least distraction and can work with anything, you should go with neutral shades like beige, pastel blue, white, and gray.
Another thing to remember is that the colors in the background and the foreground should always coordinate. Picking a backdrop color that doesn't work with your model's hair color or your product's hues will throw off the entire frame. You can also go with multicolored printed backdrops if you're looking to create special themes such as season styles or abstract themes.
Pick The Right Size
Here's a mistake that many photographers make when picking out a paper backdrop for the first time - they don't measure the size properly. You must measure the depth, height, and width of the backdrop. It's especially important for those with a studio. If you're unsure of the measurements, buying a too-large backdrop is better than too small because it will be easier to crop images than digitally extend the background.
You don't want your ceiling height to become a limitation for the backdrop. You want it to be high enough to make room for the ceiling light that you'll use to illuminate the subject. Measuring the width is also a must because you might want to extend your backdrop onto the floor at times to have your subject or product take more space.
Sweep With Care
Once you've chosen the right paper backdrop for your photo shoot, you must learn how to sweep it properly. In simple words, you should be super careful when rolling it out on the floor or carpet. If you do it in a hassle, it might crease as soon as it hits the floor.
Another thing to keep in mind is that it shouldn't sweep on an uneven surface. If the subject steps on it while placed on an uneven floor, it might tear up and become unusable. You can trim away the dirty or torn sections at the edges, but you can't do much about the damage in the middle.
Paper backgrounds are a godsend for photographers because of their versatility. You can find them in different colors, designs, and patterns. Whether you are a product photographer, a pet photographer, or someone who does maternity shoots for a living, paper backdrops can jazz up your shoots by giving you immense creative freedom.
We hope this article helps you learn the ins and outs of paper backdrops and take artistic pictures.