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Backdrops: What size? What kind?

Margo K , Dec 09, 2008; 03:02 p.m.

I am wanting to get a couple of backdrops to use in my portrait photography business but I'm not sure what is best.  Should I go ahead and get 10x20?  What is the best size?  I want something portable and easy to use but I also want something big enough that if I ever need to use it for a family or group shot I won't have to purchase another one. 
Have you heard of Owen's Originals website? It seems to have some good prices.  I probably will just get a black one and a white one to start out with.  I prefer solid backgrounds for now.  I'm not sure what the difference is between the regular muslin and the economy.  The economy has the option to add 3" pockets.  May be a dumb question but what is that for?
Thanks for your help.   

Responses


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Craig Shearman , Dec 09, 2008; 03:46 p.m.

Denny Manufacturing is the biggest maker of backdrops. Westcott, Photek and many others are also big. 10x20 is the most versatile of the popular sizes because you can do anything from a head shot to full length. But it's the least portable because of its size. The Background in a Bag/PeoplePopper are very portable, but limited to maybe two people. Solid black and white backdrops are available cheap from Adorama but are of very limited use. Those are not colors you would normally shoot a studio portrait against. Much better off with various mottled shades of blue or gray. The late Monte Zucker liked a mottled shade of green and Denny actually makes a greenish backdrop named for him. Muslin is the most popular and portable fabric but canvas is used a lot in the studio especially for scenics. Seamless background paper is cheap if you want solid colors. Definitely go to the Denny web site to get an idea of what's available, then shop cheaper places if you can't afford them.

Margo K , Dec 09, 2008; 05:24 p.m.

I would like to use the black and the white backdrops for infants and young children.  Do you still recommend going with a color?  I have looked at the Denny web site some and am continuing trying to narrow things down.  I wonder if I could get by with a 10x10? 
I really appreciate your help.  Good advice!

Rachel Harmon , Dec 09, 2008; 05:48 p.m.

I bought mine from Amvona. They aren't Denny's by any means, but they were what I could afford and they photograph nicely. When I bought mine, I opted to purchase the large sized backdrops, and most of mine are 10x 20. I found several on sale, and was able to purchase the larger sizes for only a few dollars more than the smaller sizes.
As for colors... don't forget the extra lighting requirements if you want that hi key look with the white background. If you don't have enough lighting, your white isn't going to come out as pure white.

Emily Koch , Dec 09, 2008; 10:25 p.m.

When I started my portrait business about 4 years ago, I started with two 10x20's in solid black and white and then a couple 8x10's in a traditional brown and traditional grey. I never liked my end results with the 10x20 white cloth and I never use it today however one of my favorites among my collection of about 25 drops is still my 10x20 black. My other favorites are my seamless paper rolls. Now the white seamless paper is wonderful! Every now and then I still get the traditional customers in so I will pull out my first brown and grey ones as well.

John Wilson , Dec 09, 2008; 10:39 p.m.

For some things I really like to have seamless paper around.&nb sp;& ; nbsp;& nbsp; You can do a lot with lighting / shadow to either use or avoid the 'floating in spac e' look.
&

John Wilson , Dec 09, 2008; 10:40 p.m.

Margo K , Dec 09, 2008; 11:16 p.m.

Thanks to all that have responded so far. I appreciate your help. Has anyone used backdropoutlet.com before? I'm thinking about the poly/cotton solids to start with. I also like the fantasy cloths and possibly one of the petal mats.
So maybe I should go with a black muslin and white seamless paper. I just didn't know how easy the paper would be if I need something to transport (which I will mostly be doing at first).

Theresa Skutt , Dec 10, 2008; 10:06 a.m.

BEFORE you buy from Denny, check eBay. I spent up to $800 per backdrop and several of similar style were available on eBay for $50-120!!!! Seamless paper is a good idea; done with background lights you can create a gradient tool effect like the magazines do.

Theresa Skutt , Dec 10, 2008; 10:08 a.m.

Response to Backdrops: What size? What kind? (follow-up)

Buy 10x20. Definitely. Otherwise you'll find you get a group that won't fit and it's embarassing!!!


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