If you have shot on a budget, you have tried several versions of paper backdrops to get a unique and smooth background in your images. We’ve all tried to use affordable chart papers or printed papers for tabletop photography. They might seem cool while you’re setting up, but they never seem to work out the way you want. The result on camera is always pretty disappointing.
When it comes to a professional set-up with the right studio lights, paper backdrops are what hold up the quality of your images or videos. They are used in fashion photography, commercial portraits, catalogues, product photography and so much more.
If you want to improve your content and know all the tips and tricks that industry professionals use, then you’re in the right place. Our experience of over two decades with handling seamless paper backdrops has taught us more than a few industry secrets.
What are Paper Backdrops?
Paper backdrops are large, non-reflective rolls of paper that have a thickness of 120gsm to 150gsm. This thickness doesn’t affect what shows up on your camera but it defines how easy it is to handle the backdrop and how resistant it is to wear and tear. The bright and consistent colours are what make them very popular with different photography professionals. They are available in a variety of colours (often a single colour) but you can also get printed backdrops with unique designs.
Professional photographers all over the world use seamless paper backdrops for studio and indoor photography. For decades, it has been used to create flawless images because the seamless paper is very easy to use. They give you a plain, crease-free, non-reflective surface that keeps all the focus on your subject. The smoothness of paper backdrops also helps you edit your images faster and make them perfect in no time.
Some Tips and Tricks for Paper Backdrops
Their biggest benefit is that they are rolled up and ready to use when you receive them. You can create a set very easily by just unrolling the coloured paper against a smooth surface. If you don’t have a stand to hang the roll of paper, you can also cut the paper and tape it to any surface to make a quick and easy set.
Since paper backdrops can be damaged or torn very easily, we recommend using only a flat, hard surface to roll out your backdrop. It can also roll back or curl up by itself, which is a hassle to keep fixing and makes it difficult to walk on the set. Use masking tape around the edges to keep it flat and smooth. And don’t forget to clamp the roll in place once you have unrolled the required length.
If you are shooting full-length photos or videos and your model has to step on the backdrop, then make sure to clean the shoes. Dirty footprints can easily appear on your paper backdrops, so keep a rag or doormat next to your set.
Some professionals also use transparent acrylic sheets on the floor. It keeps the backdrop clean as your model stands or walks around on it. And it also gives you the added benefit of a reflection in the image/video, giving it more flair.
How to Store Paper Backdrops
Storing paper backdrops for long term usage and keeping them in perfect condition is a question we are often asked. They can tear or rip easily and once they get dirty, you will have to cut off the dirty part before you can use the backdrop for a new shoot. When you are cutting away a part that has been destroyed, use a clean paper cutter instead of scissors. It gives you a clean cut and also helps you cut it in a straight line.
Savage Seamless Paper, Superior Seamless Paper, and Trulite are made with 100% recyclable paper, so you don’t have to worry about making a huge impact on the environment either. However, we know that minimizing extra costs is always the better option, whether you are a professional or a beginner.
After every shoot, you should roll up the backdrop tightly and store it in the box that we provide. It can develop creases and wrinkles if left hanging, so take it off the stand once your shoot is over. Store the paper backdrops in a dry space where there is no humidity and use silica gel packets to absorb any excess moisture. The best way to keep them in perfect condition for a long time is to keep them upright. This prevents the backdrop from getting damaged as the cardboard roll can bow, and ruin the shape or create waves in the backdrop.
Making Videos with Paper Backdrops
Video content is the way of the future and creating memorable Reels, Tiktoks and YouTube videos is what will set you apart from the rest of your peers. Use paper backdrops to create your video content and make your life easier.
The hassle of creating a set? All gone. Just unroll your backdrop, set up your camera and lights, and hit record. Paper backdrops give you the benefit of colour consistency, so you get the freedom to experiment with colours. Choose a unique colour backdrop and make your video stand out from the crowd. Then you can create a single colour correction profile that works on all your videos.
When it comes to size, a 4ft backdrop is perfect for a closeup of a single person talking. If you need a full-length video that has a lot of movement, go for a 9ft backdrop. Group shots are also best shot on the 9ft backdrop. And for anything and everything in between, the 7ft backdrop is perfect!
Some of the biggest photographers in the world have used seamless paper backdrops for their photography. Nick Knight, Annie Leibovitz, Jingna Zhang, Juergen Teller, Steven Klein – are just some of the few.
If you’ve read through this blog, you know all about shooting with paper backdrops. Go forth and make a masterpiece!