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Feb 9, 2009
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I'm just get started and I was thinking about getting some cheap backdrops from the fabric store just to play around with portraits. I have heard muslin is good. What kind of fabric should I get for a black backdrop and does anyone know approx. what size would be good?
Honestly the price of proper background paper and what you are going to pay at somewhere like Fabricland for something you'll end up having to sew together isnt worth the hassle


background stands are like 150 bucks and well worth the investment
The problem with most fabric you will find in a fabric store is the usually maxes out at 60" wide (if that)...which might be wide enough for a single portrait but that's it. If you want wider, you would need to sew pieces together which leaves you with a seam. That's not the worst thing in the world but it's not good either.

If I was going to buy an actual backdrop, I'd want it to be at least 10 or 12 feet wide.

I honestly don't know where they get fabric that wide...I work for an industrial fabric company and the only stuff we have that is wider than 62" is a poly material that isn't really suitable as a backdrop.

With proper lighting (and control of that lighting) you can make any background appear black in a photo. Black velvet makes it easier though.
Black is such a great choice to use for a back drop. Black absorbs light and makes for some good portraits. But for a few shoots me and a friend needed a back drop quick. So he went to a fabric store and bought a type of fabric that could be used for bed sheets. It was 100' long by like 20'. It was a great material to work with. If you think you want to use a fabric material, go to a craft store or fabric store and compare the prices of the fabric vs buying an entire set up such as the stands and paper.

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