Among the biggest challenges photographers face is the selection of an appropriate background for their photoshoots. Shooting at outdoor locations can be exciting, however, it is difficult to set a convenient schedule, manage the environment, deal with the logistics, and make the best of the weather and lighting conditions, as well as the expense. An alternative is shooting indoors, but it calls for using appropriate backgrounds. Fortunately, today you have a wide choice of photography backgrounds available commercially, and if you need something specific, you can always have it customized for you. Given the variety of materials, sizes, styles, colors, etc., choosing the right photography background can be daunting unless you know how to. Some pro tips that can make background selection easier:
One of the factors you must consider when choosing a photography background is its size. Two important considerations are the size of the subject and your studio. You must remember that the backdrop must be wide enough to include what you are shooting, given the fact that the minimum distance between the subject and the camera is three feet since you will want to prevent shadows. Smaller backdrops are easier to handle and store and are more affordable, however, if you have the space and the budget, you should buy one of the larger custom backdrops that are 10 feet wide or more as they will permit the shooting of both portraits and products of every kind. Beginners should start with medium size backgrounds.
There is a huge choice of materials for photography backgrounds. Each of them has different levels of light reflectivity, textures, and durability. If you want a formal look and easy maintenance fabric for portraits, you will do well to choose muslin. According to Digital Photography School, you can make muslin look modern or retro by controlling the lighting. You can get paper backdrops in almost any texture or color of your choice, but you can use them only once. Vinyl backdrops are popular since they are cost-effective, easy to maintain, durable, and not impacted by humidity. A good alternative is a polyester backdrop that has the advantage of being glare-free, wrinkle-resistant, lightweight, foldable, and machine washable. Painted canvas backdrops are fit only for in-studio use since they are heavy.
The color of the backdrop is an important factor of your choice since different colors convey different meanings. The color also affects the subject’s hair color, skin tone, and color of the eyes. You may also wish to have a photographic background. However, you must select a background color, pattern, or graphics that add to the beauty of the photo and not take away attention from the subject.
All the effort you put into the background selection can be wasted if you ignore the need for proper lighting that is essential for complementing the background or highlighting specific aspects of your subject like skin or hair color, facial expression, etc. You must ensure that the lighting is even unless you want to play around with shadows. The amount of contrast between the subject and the background can make or break a photo.