Backdrops

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by bogleric, Dec 9, 2004.

  1. bogleric

    bogleric TPF Noob!

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    I am looking for some new backdrops and the local shop I used to purchase from has gone away. Has anyone ever used "Backdrop Outlet" on the internet at www.backdropoutlet.com? I am interested in some opinions and other site suggestions.
     
  2. Hertz van Rental

    Hertz van Rental TPF Noob!

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    They all look a bit cheesy to me.
    How are you going to use your b/g? There are many better (and cheaper) alternatives.
     
  3. bogleric

    bogleric TPF Noob!

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    I just need to make a background for 1 sitting. The entire family would like a christmas photo (just immediately family thankfully (7 people) and want me to take it instead of going to a photo studio.

    I normally don't do shots like these and there don't have anything to make a nice background. If you have suggestions I would like to hear them?
     
  4. Hertz van Rental

    Hertz van Rental TPF Noob!

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    Depends on how big an area you need to cover. You can get rolls of Colorama (paper) 18' wide. The best thing - cheap, easy to carry and use - is either a large sheet or a big piece of material. If you iron it and roll it up so it doesn't get creases you can stick it up with masking tape. If you want a bit of interest you can pin pleats at the top to get drape effects (try and sweep them down in a curve).
    You have a huge range of colours but avoid bright colours - dark and neutral are best.
    Any help?
     
  5. dreadpyrat

    dreadpyrat TPF Noob!

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    Ah, I was just wondering about this myself. Are there any good and inexpensive fabrics that make good backdrop material?
     
  6. Nina Paget

    Nina Paget TPF Noob!

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    If you are new to photography or backdrops in general, you might be a bit confused when you go to all of the various websites and contemplate ordering a backdrop. This website is designed to help you make an informed decision as to which type of backdrop would best suit your needs. Along with discussing the merits and pitfalls of muslin and canvas, we will addres some of the other mediums for backdrops as well.

    Muslin backdrops are made on "muslin." The term muslin is used lightly, because there are several different weights and weaves. Some muslin has some polyester in it, and other muslin is completely cotton. There are some really good cotton/poly blends of muslin and it has less shrinkage. The average muslin is going to feel somewhat like a bedsheet, A good muslin is slightly heavier, and has a denser weave (less transparent.) Both of the 50/50 blend, and the 100% cotton muslin that Signature Backgrounds use are of a high quality dense weave. You will be happy with either one. I stick with the 50/50 because it's less expensive, and I can't tell much of a difference between the cotton and the 50/50 anyway.

    Muslin will wrinkle a bit, but you can mist it with water or a Wrinkle releaser spray (Downing has one.) and the wrinkles fall out pretty well. You can gather or bunch the muslin when hanging it so that it has a draping effect. SB sells clamps that work well for this. A muslin has a casual soft effect for a photograph.

    Muslin is easier to transport and takes up less space than a canvas in your vehicle. Since it is lighter wt, you can hang it to a wall, or doors to create your backdrop, however, it looks more professional to use a muslin hanging system. SB has a variety of these to choose from (ranging from about $110 to $240, the more expensive they get, the larger backdrop they hold, and the more stable and weightier the stands.) Like I said, though, the system is not necessary.

    SB sells some muslins that are painted to appear more formal than the traditional mottled muslins. Their Standard and Two sided muslins are designed to be hung straight and appear more like a canvas. The trick to avoiding any wrinkles appearing in your photograph is to keep your subject a good 2-4 feet in front of the backdrop.

    A Canvas is painted on Stretched, primed canvas. It cannot fold and must be stored on rolled up on a dowell of some sort. Canvas will last you a long time if you care for them properly, however, I've seen a great canvas get ruined because I had a tripod laying on top of my canvas in the car for a few weeks (Unknowingly). It created a rippling, wrinkled part throughout most of the backdrop.

    For in my studio, I like to have one main, large canvas that is always available. I never take it on location because I paid a good thousand dollars for it and I don't want to risk damaging it. But it is solid, and I know that my subjects will always be happy with the finished result. It always looks artist, professional and high quality. It is done in the traditional old masters colors. Very brushy texture with the main color creamy browns, and the center has some blue, cream and a rusy color. It is a very classical look.

    For High Key portraiture, photographers have a couple of options. Either white muslin or white paper. The advantage to muslin is that you can wash it if it gets dirty. Paper must be torn off, and although you can purchase long rolls of it, you need to continually be replacing it. The downside to muslin is it is harder to light. You need to blast it to get that high key fantasy look, whereas paper is a bit more reflective and a little bit easier to light. Either way, when shooting high key, you WILL have to light your backdrop.

    For Low key, black, you can use either muslin, commando cloth, or paper. I don't really even consider paper, because I don't want it to be reflective at all. The black muslin that Signature Backgrounds sells is dense enough and non reflective, so that I can get a deep black as night look with it pretty easily. If I am in a situation where I have a window or a lot of light behind my backdrop, I go to the commando cloth. It doesn't allow any light to show through, even when I'm in front of a south window. (It's more expensive than the black muslin, though, and in most cases the commando cloth is overkill.) It will darken a room if you cover a window with it.


    [size=+1]Signature Backgrounds
    Old Signature Backgrounds Site
    Care of Muslin Backdrops
    [/size]
     

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