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Top 5 best photography backdrops in 2024

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Written by Becky T

Published Feb 02, 2023

Photography backdrops allow you to transform any room at home or on location into a temporary photography studio. A smooth white or solid colour background creates a clean, distraction-free area to shoot against, and is a must-have whether you’re shooting portraits, products or fashion photography. The best photography backdrops are easy to transport and can be set up with minimal fuss, providing an essential foundation for great photos that attract clients to your business.

But with the number of products out there now in different materials and sizes, it can be overwhelming trying to decide what backdrop is right for you. So we put together this guide to clear up any confusion, breaking down exactly what you need to consider before buying a photography backdrop, as well as sharing our top 5 choices for the best photography backdrops on the market in 2024. 

Contents:

  1. Do I need to buy a photography backdrop?
  2. Things to consider before buying photography backdrops
  3. Quick tips for shooting with photography backdrops
  4. Our top 5 photography backdrops
  5. At-home alternatives to buying a backdrop
image showing a photographer taking a portrait of a man against a white photography backdrop
Photo by Cody Lannom

Do I need to buy a photography backdrop?

If you are planning to only shoot at professional photography studios, they generally provide background options for you, so you won’t need to invest in your own backdrops. However, if you are planning to build a home studio or travel to other photoshoot locations, then you’ll definitely want to have at least one backdrop on hand to achieve that professional finish. It's important to take into consideration your photoshoot concepts and the overall effect that you want your images to have before choosing what photography backdrop will work best.

Things to consider before buying photography backdrops 

Backdrop material 

You have two main options when it comes to backdrop types. You can either go for a high-quality reusable material such as cotton muslin and canvas, or you can choose disposable paper. 

Buying a fabric background is more expensive but can also last you a lifetime. A reusable backdrop is generally worth investing in if you work in a particular niche, for example, you take professional headshots and require a level of consistency from image to image. The downside is you may need to iron or steam out wrinkles in the material between each shoot. 

image showing a black cloth photography backdrop
Photo by Krists Luhaers

Seamless paper comes wrapped up on a cardboard roll so that after a shoot you can simply cut the bottom off and roll up the unused seamless ready for your next shoot. It is a low-cost option and offers versatility - photographers tend to have a variety of colours and sizes on hand. However, transporting multiple rolls is not very convenient when you’re shooting on location. You may also need to consider durability if you're using an outdoor photo studio setup.

Size

To get the right backdrop you’ll need to consider both the size of your studio space and the size of the subjects you shoot. You can find backdrops designed specifically for portraits and small products, as well as large backdrops suitable for groups. 

You’ll need a backdrop wide enough to allow you to get enough space between you and the subject to prevent shadows and allow for easy lighting. And you’ll need extra length if you want your backdrop to extend onto the floor. It may be that you need a few different backdrop options if you like to shoot a variety of subjects. 

image showing a white photography backdrop extending onto the floor, with plant pots on it
Photo by Olena Sergienko

Colour

Backdrops come in a range of colours and prints which will affect the mood of your images. White seamless backgrounds are generally the most versatile because white offers a clean, professional look and doesn’t distract from the subject. 

Alternatively, you may like to have a range of solid colours to choose from to play with contrast to make the subject pop against the background. 

Black can also be a powerful colour, it adds richness to an image and allows you to play with low-key lighting. Patterned backgrounds can also play up the drama and transform a simple subject into a striking image. Different colours evoke different moods and showing versatility on your photography website shows that you know how to work to diverse briefs.

image showing a woman having her photo taken against a black photography backdrop
photo by Marissa Lewis

If you’re looking to add a digital image to the background, a green backdrop will make it simple to insert digital effects in the editing process. 

Mounts

Some backdrops are freestanding, meaning you can stand them anywhere you have a flat surface. Other backdrops require a dedicated metal stand to support them, which is sometimes included in the kit and sometimes not, so it’s worth checking before you buy. If you are a solo photographer you’ll need to consider whether it’s possible to set your backdrop up on your own. If you don’t wish to buy a mount you can always look into DIY solutions such as removable wall hooks.

Quick tips for shooting with photography backdrops 

  • Try blurring the backdrop by shooting a shallow depth of field. This will create a softer backdrop that focuses the eye on the subject.

  • Your subjects shouldn’t be positioned too close to the backdrop or they will cast unwanted shadows. Try placing the subject at least one metre away from the backdrop, to begin with and then adjust from there. 

  • Experiment with high-key and low-key lighting techniques. High-key lighting scenes possess many light and white shades and the setup requires even lighting across a white background. In these images, there are few dark tones with mid-tones becoming white and the whites turning whiter. These photos give off a youthful, vibrant appearance. Low-key lighting on the other hand features many dark tones, and shadows and is best achieved with a black backdrop. Overall it creates a dramatic image that can feel mysterious, powerful or sad depending on the context. 

  • It’s still important to think carefully about composition. Remember the rule of thirds and don’t automatically place your subject in the centre of the backdrop. By filling the frame with your subject you’ll avoid the background from dominating the image. 

  • If you think your backdrop is too plain, try adding new depth and texture with various props such as tables, boxes or stools. You can also combine contrasting colours to add more vibrancy to the scene.

Hire daylight studios for your next photoshoot

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Our top 5 photography backdrops in 2024

Best disposable backdrop: LENCARTA Backdrop Background Paper Roll

View on Amazon

Pros

  • Cuts to size
  • Comes in multiple colours

Cons

  • Stand not included

LENCARTA brings you high-quality, thick paper in multiple colours, wrapped tightly around a strong cardboard roll. The paper is crease-resistant and has a non-reflective surface for better-quality photos when you’re working with flash. The paper is reusable, but over time as your backdrop develops marks and wrinkles, you can simply cut off the old piece and pull down a fresh backdrop. This is perfect for any potentially messy food or product photography, as well as when you’re shooting unpredictable subjects like pets and children. You’ll need to attach your roll to a support system, so note you’ll likely need to invest in a stand kit. 

Best backdrop for travel: Fovitec Reversible Pop-up Backdrop

View on Amazon

Pros

  • Collapsible
  • Double-sided
  • Crease resistant

Cons

  • One size
  • Stand sold separately

This reversible backdrop is perfect for setting up your portable photo studio. There are a couple of different colour options but we chose black on one side and white on the other as the most versatile when shooting a wide range of projects. The steel spring frame pops open from a compact circular shape for convenient transport and storage. The material is strong and crease-resistant so will require minimum maintenance. The backdrop comes with a water-resistant bag and a top ring handle so it is convenient for a solo photographer to take it anywhere. It’s recommended you attach it to a stand for stability, but you could also lean the backdrop against a wall. There is no stand included with the backdrop. At 1.5m x 2m it’s a great size for portraits, products, and as a background for vlogging and live streaming.

Best backdrop for small products: Glendan Portable Photo Studio Light Box

View on Amazon

Pros

  • Multiple colour options
  • Built-in lighting 
  • Quick to assemble

Cons

  • Limited by size of box

The Glendan portable light box is an all-in-one solution for small product photography. It features inbuilt LED lights and the brightness can be adjusted from 1-100%. There is a shooting window in the front, but the top section can also be removed if you want to shoot from above. It comes with 6 detachable colour backgrounds made from plastic, so they will not wrinkle like fabric. It also comes with a diffuser cloth you can put over the lights to reduce reflections on products like glasses. This light box would be a solid investment if you often shoot jewellery, toys, watches and other accessories.

Best backdrop for groups: Manfrotto LL LB7623 4m Panoramic Background Cover

View on Amazon

Pros

  • Extra wide 3-panel design
  • Collapsible
  • Lightweight aluminium frame

Cons

  • Difficult for one person to assemble
  • Expensive

The Manfrotto panoramic backdrop comes in multiple colour options: white, black, green, and granite. The backdrop is made from seamless, crease-free fabric and the self-supporting framework is constructed with three panels of lightweight aluminium. The backdrop is collapsible and folds down into a fabric carry bag weighing 9.5kg when packed, which makes it portable (although due to its size is not as travel friendly as other options). This backdrop would best suit groups like family shoots as well as dynamic poses, plus it allows you greater freedom to change positions without repositioning your lighting setup. 

Best backdrop for green screen/chroma key: EMART Green Screen Background Stand Kit

View on Amazon

Pros

  • Stand included
  • Non-reflective cotton backdrop

Cons

  • Not the most portable option
  • Requires ironing

If you are just starting a photography business and want to buy a backdrop stand to add to your studio kit, this EMART fabric backdrop and stand is great value. The kit also includes 2 heavy-duty spring clamps to hold the backdrop in place, plus a carrier bag. The support system is height adjustable and made from lightweight aluminium. The backdrop measures 3m x 3.7m so is large enough for most shoot types.  

At home alternatives to buying a backdrop

Maybe you don’t have enough room in your home to store large photography backdrops, or you only have a small budget to work with. Here are a few more ideas for photography backdrops that could be found around the home and can be packed up discreetly or stored flat. 

  • White-coated MDF board is painted white on one side with the raw wood showing on the other. It’s light and cheap and can be picked up in various sizes from your local hardware store. 

  • Vinyl transfers are self-adhesive sheets are another great lightweight backdrop option, especially because they come in a variety of colours, patterns and textures.

  • For even more texture you can use a blanket or throw laid flat or draped as a luxurious backdrop. You could experiment with faux fur, sheepskin or a quilted blanket for different moods. 

  • For a more rustic look, you can head to a second-hand store and find recycled materials such as shutters, boards, timber and cupboard fronts. 
image showing a woman setting up a DIY home photo studio
Photo by George Milton

Final thoughts

Whether or not you decide to invest in a photography backdrop or want to take a DIY approach, the result you want is a clean, non-reflective background which doesn’t distract from your subject. If you decide to buy a backdrop then it’s worth taking the time to consider the size of the space it must fit into, whether it needs to be portable for shooting on location, and the size of your subjects. Each of these factors will determine which backdrop will work best for you. If in doubt, start out with something simple and add to your studio photography equipment kit as your demands increase.

Thinking of hiring a photo studio?

Choose from 1000+ spaces and locations on Tutti and deal directly with space hosts for a quick, hassle-free booking process.

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