Picking a Fabric Backdrop for Photography
Choosing fabric backdrops can take some time, with the multitude of options available on the market. Fabric backgrounds are available in cotton, canvas, muslin, polyester, stretch knit, and velour. Each option gives a distinct style to photographs, but the most popular for both beginners and experienced photographers is a muslin backdrop. Muslin is easy to position, washable, storage friendly, and comes in several colors and patterns.
What Is a Fabric Backdrop?
Fabric options such as canvas backgrounds are staples in photography, as a professional, visually appealing option for photo backdrops. Fabric backdrops give you the flexibility to take backgrounds down and store them for future use. Since muslin backdrops are iron-friendly, folding and storing them results in little worry about permanent wrinkles or creases.
How to Use a Muslin Background
Muslin backdrops are more versatile than seamless background paper, but both produce a professional result. Using high-quality backgrounds made of fabric gives you options for different effects by simply shifting light focus. Fabric backdrops are also available in patterns and solids, and in a variety of sizes. Muslin is popular because it’s lightweight, low-cost, and you can drape it for stunning visual effects. Muslin photography backgrounds are ideal for the following studio photo shoots:
- Head shots: Shots of bust and head area, which are popular for modeling
- Portraiture: Figural shots; family; single; pets
- Engagement: Basic engagement photography
- Holiday and special occasions: Holidays; birthdays; anniversaries
- Product: Advertising and display photos for websites
Patterned muslin is ideal for holiday and special event photography, as it adds a further visual element to the photograph. If you do a fair share of super-imposing or background swapping, consider getting chroma key backgrounds. Much like green screens that allow for CGI in movies, chroma key gives you the option to use any background.
Are Fabric Backgrounds Movable?
Muslin backdrops are pliant; they drape well, and move from one location to another easily. Add photo props for a more dynamic photo, or manipulate the muslin to create a dramatic stage curtain effect. Keep muslin on support poles to prevent unnecessary wrinkling or potential damage, or choose a collapsible backdrop meant for fast takedown and portability. Collapsible options for backdrops are easy to move and work well if you have a small or constantly changing workspace. Fabric collapsible backgrounds are spot washable, fold easily, and set up fast. Several color options exist for collapsible backdrops, including:
- Chroma green
- Chroma blue
You can also get collapsible backdrop kits that include multi-boom lighting stands, carrying bags, and reflector holders. Optional equipment for larger backdrops includes photo lighting kits, backdrop support kits, and photo and camera boom poles.
For the right background for every situation, browse the huge selection at B&H Photo.