Site Sponsors
Results 1 to 4 of 4

Thread: Which type of studio background?

  1. #1
    Member mrtoml's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Sheffield, UK
    Posts
    60
    Post Thanks / Like

    Which type of studio background?

    Beginning to plan my first studio setup...

    I have now decided on getting the Bowens Gemini kit (two 400 J heads + umbrellas). I also want to get some backgrounds, but they seem to come in several different options (paper rolls, vinyl, canvas, muslim etc.) and at varying degrees of expense.

    I am thinking of starting with one black and one white backdrop for high and low key portraits. What would you recommend for a beginner in terms of these backgrounds? Is it worth the extra expense to get vinyl or would paper be a good choice when starting out? Are cloth backgrounds difficult to look after and keep clean and crease free etc.?

    Thanks in advance for any advice.
    Mark Tomlinson www.marktomlinson.org.uk/photography
    Sony A900; Nex 7; Fuji X-100; Ricoh GRD II
    Blogs at: alt-digital.blogspot.com

  2. #2
    Administrator Bob's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Prescott, Arizona
    Posts
    4,492
    Post Thanks / Like
    Images
    367

    Re: Which type of studio background?

    Cloth or Muslin backgrounds will drive you nuts if you even think of having them hang there wrinkle free. It is a better idea to place the subject well in front of the background so that it will be thrown out of focus.
    Paper vs vinyl? Vinyl is very expensive, paper is pretty cheap. Consider it an expendable and cut off the dirty part once and awhile. Vinyl is also much more limited than paper in size and color choices. I am considering some vinyl myself, but only for white. The paper works well enough for my relatively small scale operation.

    Consider a mid-dark gray as well (maybe a thunder gray) as it is easier to gel up if you want color and has a bit of lightness to it which helps separate a black subject shadow from the dark but not completely black background.
    -bob
    Last edited by Bob; 19th October 2009 at 01:53.

  3. #3
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Posts
    1,513
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Which type of studio background?

    Agreeing with Bob here. The cloth backgrounds are very versatile, easy to store, and can be gelled for color/tint also. As mentioned, stop worrying about wrinkles, and place the subject far enough away to reduce the distraction. If you get anal over it, keep the cloth backgrounds hanging, and hit them with a steamer to help pull the wrinkles out. If you want the smoother look, paper is the way to go for a lot less cost. I keep several around (black, light gray, thunder gray, white, dark green, etc.) in both 9 foot width and the shorter 54" width for table top shooting. Rolls are cheap, and the do not get that dirty or marked up as one might think. I also have a roll of white vinyl that I like to use when I need to set up on location. Because it does not get as dirty, or is easy to clean, it makes a better "reusable" type material. It also works nicely as a big translucent bank for lighting, but it is a lot heavier and does cost a lot more than the paper rolls.

    Depending on what you are shooting (headshots, full length portraits, etc.), there are other options, such as collapsible backgrounds that do not show wrinkles and can be set a bit closer to the subject in more confined shooting spaces, if needed. Still, if you have the dedicated space, rolls of paper will do a great job. Add in a cloth (muslin) if you want for more creative (less smooth and structured) shooting, and you are set without breaking the bank for materials. Get a sturdy background stand with several sandbags and you are good to go.

    LJ

  4. #4
    Member mrtoml's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Sheffield, UK
    Posts
    60
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Which type of studio background?

    Thank you both for the excellent advice.

    I think I will start off with a couple of paper rolls and see how that goes. I just thought they wouldn't last all that long. The vinyl seems to be very expensive.
    Mark Tomlinson www.marktomlinson.org.uk/photography
    Sony A900; Nex 7; Fuji X-100; Ricoh GRD II
    Blogs at: alt-digital.blogspot.com

Tags for this Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •