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The Beginner’s Guide to Product Photography Backdrops

“A T-shirt lying flat on a shabby and somewhat washed-out floral printed bed sheet” would that photograph influence you to buy that T-shirt?

I guess no….

Product photography is the only way your product gets to build its first impression among consumers. For that, you need to choose a proper background that will bring out the best of your product along with making it alluring enough for the customers to get a hold of it.

Considering your struggle to choose a proper product photography backdrop as a beginner, we have designed this article in such a way that it will give you a detailed insight regarding photography backdrops. 

So, without further ado, let’s dive in. 

What is a Backdrop in Photography? 

A backdrop is a painted canvas that is generally seen hung as a background on a theater stage, usually various scenes to complement the context. However, a backdrop in photography refers to a surface that acts as a background in a photograph. 

In photographs, a backdrop could be anything ranging from a wall and paper to cloth. As long as the surface can make the photograph look more pleasing by highlighting the subject while staying behind the subject, it can be regarded as a good backdrop. 

A backdrop plays a vital role as the main objective of a backdrop is to convey a story through the photo and set the mood in such a way that it stirs the viewer’s mind and compels them to stop and check your photograph with interest.

What Size of Backdrops Should You Choose for Photography?

The backdrop size mostly depends on the size of your studio and the space for the light setup. Generally, the height of the backdrop is determined considering the ceiling height, and width is decided considering the size and placement of the subject. 

Hence, if your studio is large enough, then you can go for 10 feet wide x 10 feet long backdrop to stay risk-free. However, a 5 feet wide x 7 feet long backdrop is good for headshots and product photography with or without models.

Note: Always place your subject 2-3 feet away from the backdrop to create depth and prevent shadows. Also, keep at least 1 foot extra on both sides to prevent photographs from having a hint of edges of the backdrop. 

The 14 Best Product Photography Backdrops for Photographers

Choosing backdrops as a beginner may seem challenging due to not having enough idea regarding the pros and cons of different categories of backdrops.  

Hence, to make your learning easier, we have gathered information about the 14 best photography backdrops you can consider purchasing. 

1. Vinyl Backdrops 

Vinyl backdrops

Vinyl backdrops are made from PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride). It is one of the best photography backdrops for being waterproof and abuse-proof. It comes in a roll which needs to be set in a stand. The long roll can be extended to the floor to give a seamless impression. 

However, the lighting setup needs to have extra attention in the case of the black vinyl background as it is a bit glossy and reflects light. Besides, if it becomes stiff or has a crease, using a hair dryer or other hot air tool would fix it. 

ProsCons
Long-lastingCan become stiff at a lower temperature 
Water-resistantBlack side is reflective with visible texture
Can be wiped off dirt with a wet clothHeavy and a bit expensive
Crease and wrinkle resistantShoe prints are difficult to remove
Matte vinyl is glare-free
Available in various sizes, colors, and patterns like faux wood, faux marble, etc.

Note: It should be placed on a hard surface to avoid damage from high hills. Also, using masking tapes or fabrics underneath the shoes will help to prevent getting scuff marks, if extended to the floor. 

2. Foam Board 

Foam Board 

If you want small backdrops for product photography then Foam Boards are a good option. It is inexpensive and easily available in most craft shops. The best part is you can use colors to customize designs and create patterns according to your preferences. 

Besides, you can use it as both a backdrop and surface for flat-lay product photography. Without a doubt, it’s one of the best DIY photography backgrounds.

ProsCons
LightweightCan be damaged easily
Budget-friendly Good for temporary use
Easily transportableNot completely waterproof
White foam board can be used as reflectors
Can be stuck to the walls with removable adhesive

Note: It’s too fragile. Hence, it should be handled carefully if you intend to use it a couple of times. 

3. Painted Canvas Backdrops for Photography

Painted Canvas Backdrops

Canvas Backdrop is a long piece of fabric backdrop for photography usually used to provide an artistic look to your product. This type of fabric is thick and can absorb paint appropriately. It is perfect for portrait shots of your product. You can also use it as a surface drop for flat-lay product photography. 

However, the painted canvas can be expensive compared to paper,  foam boards, or even plain white canvas cloth.

 

ProsCons
LightweightNot water-resistant 
WashableFolds can create wrinkles easily
Doesn’t reflect lightNot portable due to heavyweight
Gives seamless effectIdeal for permanent setup 
Vinyl on the back makes it durableGets dirty easily

Note: Do not use any chemical products to clean them. 

4.  Paper Backdrops for Photography

Paper Backdrops for Photography

Both beginners and professional photographers prefer paper backdrops for photography for their seamless features. The professional output of the photographs at a reasonable price makes it a popular choice for all. The backdrop comes as a big roll of paper for long-time use and is 100% recyclable.

The heavy paper roll should be set on the drop stand bar with clamps to keep it in place. Otherwise, it may unroll on its own and get wrinkled. Also, edges should be taped to the floor to hold their position. 

ProsCons
Easy to useGet creased easily
Non-reflectiveUnrolled portion is good for 1-time use
Requires less time and hassle to editNot water-resistant
Seamless effect makes background smooth  
Damaged portion can be trimmed easily with a scissor or knife. 

Note: For storage, make sure to keep it vertically in a dry place to prevent it from absorbing moisture. Also, use shoe covers or clean shoes to avoid getting shoe prints. 

5. Ceramic Flooring Tile 

The simple yet beautiful Ceramic flooring tiles can be used as backdrops for product photography. It’s made using clay, glass, and sand. That’s why it’s durable. Though it has various colors and patterns, neutral colors like black, brown, white, off-white, gray, and so on are preferred to make the products look elegant. 

However, a single tile is enough for small accessories photography. But for larger products, they should be installed on the wall or floor, which will increase the cost. 

ProsCons
WaterproofShiney tiles are reflective 
Long-lastingWater makes it slippery
Fire resistantCan get scratches easily
Dirt and stains can be easily wiped offInstalling to the floor or wall makes it non-transferable
Cost-effective for a smaller setting

Note: Though they are firm, they can get cracked easily due to excessive force. Sharp products should be avoided to keep them scratch-free. 

6. Colored Or Textured Craft Or Construction Paper 

Construction paper is also known as cardstock paper. It’s made from groundwood pulp, paper, and dye. They have numerous color options. Due to wood pulp, the paper is less flexible and heavier than normal paper, and the texture of the surface is rough. 

Moreover, availability in local craft shops and also online in various sizes and lower prices make it one of the best backdrops for product photography for beginner photographers with a low budget. 

ProsCons
Glare-freeNot durable
InexpensiveNot water-resistant 
Colors are fade resistanceMost of them are not fire-resistan
Perfect for small products

Note: The black paper is not jet black in color, but rather a faded black. 

7. The Bokeh Background Technique

The bokeh background technique refers to the soft blurred background that separates the background from the subject and shifts the focus solely on the subject. For this, you don’t need to have any specific backdrop but rather a camera with a fast lens. 

For the bokeh effect, you have to select the Aperture in your camera settings ranging from f/2.8 to f/1.4. The lower the aperture, the smoother bokeh effect you will get.

ProsCons
Provides smooth effectLens are pricy
Ideal for jewelry productsImperfect Bokeh can ruin photographs
Makes the photograph aestheticImproper lighting can create a silhouette of the product
Draws spotlight on the product
Conceals imperfections of the backdrop

Note: Plain background should be avoided for creating Bokeh as it may not make the photograph look attractive. 

 8. Cloth & Fabric Backdrops for photography 

Cloth & Fabric Backdrops

If you are thinking of using a cloth backdrop for photography, then Muslin is the best option for its quality and longevity. It works perfectly in case of adding depth to the photograph. Although it is costly, the quality and support Muslin provides are worth the price. However, it is less expensive than canvas cloth. 

Apart from Muslin, silk can also be used in the case of jewelry photography as silk and Muslin complements jewelry the most. Such soft fabrics can be folded in different patterns to create a 3D look to enhance the beauty of the products.  

ProsCons
Washable Gets wrinkled easily
Long-lastingNot water-resistant
Easy to carryNeed steaming to remove creases 
Non-reflectiveNot budget-friendly 
Paint holding capacity is pretty goodHand painted backdrops are not washable
Can be stretched for smooth effect

Note: Before washing the whole drop, wash a small portion to know if your cleaning agent is good for it or not. 

9. Black Sand And Stone

Black Sand and Stone are the natural elements that can give your products an organic look. These elements are especially suitable for small accessories like jewelry or watch photography. Placing the product within different patterns that can be created with sand and stones will help to give an aesthetic look. 

Moreover, stones are the symbol of strength and sand symbolizes passing time. So, it can be used to conceptualize the theme for products like watches. It can also mean the durability of the jewelry. Besides, it is easy to capture a 360-degree view of the product with such natural elements. 

ProsCons
Easily availableGood for smaller products
Buying not requiredExcessive stones can create visual chaos
Gives a touch of natureArranging stones is challenging
Provides conceptual meaningMakes studio dirty

Note: Only Macro shots are recommended in case you use sand and stones as a product photography backdrop. 

10. Fovitec Reversible Backdrop

Fovitec Reversible Backdrop

Fovitec Reversible Backdrop is one of the best backdrops for photography. It is made from high-quality Muslin fabric and a lightweight steel spring frame that can be folded for compact storage. The foldable feature provides a fast setup and makes it easy to carry while traveling. 

The photography backdrop kit includes a bag containing a 5’x6. 5′ reversible backdrop having 2 different colors on both sides, a 7’6″ height-adjustable stand, a reflector, and clips to hold the background to the stand. 

ProsCons
DurableFolds create wrinkles
Lightweight Not totally opaque 
Affordable price Good for indoor use
Double-sided backgroundNot water-resistant
Gives big space effect in a small space

Note: Machine washing is not recommended.  

11. The Lastolite By Manfrotto Collapsible Backdrop

Lastolite by Manfrotto Collapsible backdrop is a 5’x6′ square-shaped foldable backdrop with a steel rim. The rim is confined to rim tape with a triple stitch line. The best part is that the rim is covered by a lifetime guarantee in case it breaks or pops out. 

ProsCons
WashableA bit pricey
Stitches are robustNot completely opaque
Crease-resistant fabricNot water-resistant
Rim has lifetime guarantee
Can be set up in both portrait and landscape orientation 

Note: It can be cleaned in a washing machine using lukewarm water. However, hand washing will retain longevity. 

12. The Neewer Studio Backdrop 

The Neewer Studio Backdrop 

Neewer is one of the top trusted companies providing all the necessary equipment for photography. If you want an all-in-one heavy-duty backdrop at a reasonable price, then the Neewer Photo Studio background is the one for you. 

The premium quality photography backdrop kit includes a 6 x 9 feet white backdrop sheet, 2 height-adjustable tripod stands, 4 cross bars, 3 clamps, 2 sandbags, and a carry bag. The adjustable height of the support system is 6.6 feet and the width is 10 feet. 

ProsCons
DurableNot water-resistant
WashableFabric is not crease-free
Affordable priceStands are lightweight and less sturdy
Axial locks ensure light safety3 clamps are not enough for a smooth look
Easy installation and portability

Note: Use sandbags to make the stand more stable and avoid casualties. 

13. The Kate Pop-Up Backdrop 

The Kate Pop-Up backdrop is another excellent quality double-sided collapsible photography backdrop made from premium microfibre, including a flexible metal frame with spandex hemming for effortless folding.  

The backdrop has 3 nylon buckles around its edge, which enable it to be hung on the stand-bars in landscape mode. Also, it can be hung on the stand with a clamp in portrait style.

ProsCons
DurableNot wrinkle-free
WashableNot waterproof
Easy setupDifficult to manage in windy situations
Both sides can be used
Lightweight & easily transportable

Note: Ironing should be done at a low temperature to remove creases.  

14. Savage Seamless Background 

Savage seamless background is an ideal choice for someone who prefers a paper background over the fabric. It is perfect for use in a limited space. The thick sheet of paper provides a professional look and seamless effect. 

ProsCons
Easy to useNot water-resistant
Non-reflective Requires cool place to store
Cost-effectiveProne to creases and scuffs
Professional qualityCan’t be used without clamps
Different color options

Note: Requires additional tools like backdrop stand, clamp, sandbags to support the stand, and tape to secure edges. 

What Color Backdrop is The Best For Product Photography? 

White is the best fit for a product photography backdrop as it brings the focus solely on the product without creating any visual distraction and gives a neat and professional look. One can also use neutral colors like black, gray, brown, beige, light pink, light blue, pale yellow, mint green, etc.  

From Where Do Photographers Buy Their Backdrops? 

In local stores, temporary use backdrops like foam boards or colored paper can be found. But for purchasing good quality, long-lasting professional backdrops, searching local stores can be troublesome. 

In such a case, purchasing online is the best solution. Below are some of the most reliable sites from where photographers usually buy their backdrops.

  • Amazon
Amazon

Amazon is one of the most trusted eCommerce sites worldwide. Here you will get your everyday necessities, and photography backdrops are no exception. However, all the varied items may not be available all the time. 

  • Savage Universal
Savage Universal

Savage Universal is part of paper, pulp, and paperboard mills industry situated in Chandler city of Arizona, USA. You will get a variety of solid colors and patterned backdrops. 

They offer a wide range of top-quality backdrops, including solid vinyl, painted vinyl, seamless paper, painted canvas, Muslin, Printed, collapsible, wrinkle-resistant, green screens backdrops, along with the necessary equipment. 

  • B & H
B & H

B & H is an authorized New York City-based photo and video equipment retail company. Their product category includes seamless paper, canvas backgrounds, green screens, Muslin and Fabric background, vinyl & PVC backdrops, collapsible backdrops, and also metallic backdrops to give your photography a dramatic look. 

  • Backdrop Outlet
Backdrop Outlet

Backdrop Outlet is small trustworthy photography backdrops, props,   and studio equipment company located in the Oceanside city of California, USA, since 1991. Their wide variety of backdrops comprises faux marble, faux wood, printed brick wall, and other realistic-looking backdrops. 

They also have digital backdrops, painted canvas, vinyl backdrops, and sequin backdrops. Moreover, they have arranged the categories based on themes like abstract, architecture, nature, bokeh, textured, and so on. The best part is that you can even order customized designs as per your theme. 

FAQ on best backdrops for product photography 

Are PVC Backdrops Good?

Yes, PVC backdrops are good as they are durable and water-resistant. Dirt and stains like shoe prints can be easily cleaned off with a wet cloth. If you are fond of using water or other liquid substances to enhance your photographs, then you should opt for PVC backdrops.

How To Use Digital Backdrops For Photography?

For using digital backdrops, you have to shoot your subject, considering the placement of your subject on the backdrop. Then, cut out your subject using photo editing software and place it on your digital backdrop accordingly. Also, smooth out the edges to erase harsh lines. 

What Is The Best Material For Photography Backdrops?

Well, the best material for photography backdrops depends on your preferences and purpose of use. If you prefer water-resistant backdrops, then Vinyl backdrops are good for you. But if you want texture or non-reflective backdrops, then seamless paper, canvas or Muslin would work better. 

Where To Stand On Photography Backdrops 

The distance between the subject and the backdrop depends on the size of your subject and the backdrop. Usually, a 3 feet distance is enough to prevent shadows from falling on the backdrop and create depth.  

How Do I Stop Shadows On My Backdrop? 

To prevent shadows on your backdrop, place the subject far from the background and set up lights towards the background from all sides. Make sure to illuminate both your subject and backdrop evenly using reflectors and diffusers.  

Final Verdict

To make your product look appealing and ensure its quality to the customers, there is no alternative to having a good backdrop. An appropriate backdrop complements your product as well as grows the trust within the consumers. 

We hope our article has enlightened you enough to be able to select your perfect backdrop for photography.

Amy Grace
Amy Grace

Amy Grace has been engaged in commercial photography for a long time.
She has enough proficiency and skill set in photography and has nailed the task up to the mark and has helped a lot of entrepreneurs create a brand.
Aside from photography, Amy has passion for travelling.

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