If you shoot portraiture, the best backdrops for photography are absolutely indispensable. They enable you to quickly create a clean or artistic background against which to shoot your subject – and many are easily portable and collapsible, so they can be transported from location to location with minimal stress and fuss.
Videographers and still-life photographers will also find many uses for the best backdrops for photography, as the ability to transform any location (or even your own front room) into a shooting space can be invaluable.
There are lots of different types of backdrops designed for different types of users, whether they prefer to work in the studio or head out on location to make use of natural light. And there are are specialist options for specialist work, too – if you employ chroma key in your images or video, for example, you'll want to look at the best green screen backgrounds.
Some backdrops are freestanding, meaning you can erect them anywhere there's a reasonably flat surface. Others will require a dedicated stand, usually made of metal, which is sometimes included in the kit and sometimes not, so it's always worth double-checking before you click "Buy".
Others, meanwhile, are a little more versatile, and can be hung on a standard curtain rail, which allows you to transform a room in your home into a DIY studio. This is really useful if you're just starting out and don't have the budget yet for your own studio space. Whatever you need, we should have a photographic backdrop for you. So, let's take a look at the list!
Photographic backdrops can be big, cumbersome things, and that’s what’s so ideal about this Lastolite model – it’s collapsible, and can easily be folded away and transported to your shooting location. The steel frames are securely stitched in place for durability and longevity, and the backdrop is two-sided, giving you multiple options in a pinch (choose from the white/grey version or black/grey version. Made from good-quality fabrics in neutral colors, this is an ideal backdrop for getting the shot in the can quickly and simply, whether you’re shooting portraits, headshots or whatever else.
If you don’t want to spend too much on a backdrop, Neewer’s straightforward photo studio is a solid bet. You’ll need your own stands or a rod on which to hang it, but once that’s sorted you’ll have a solid, well-made neutral background. Choose from a wide range of colors to get the look you’re going for – and it’s cheap enough that you can buy a few and have them on hand for creating different looks at a moment’s notice. Be aware that while you can iron out creases if they do appear, the manufacturer advises caution, and using a steam iron not a dry iron to avoid damage.
Available in a kit with a frame and easy carrying case, the Lastolite EzyFrame Vintage Background is the perfect choice for the photographer who wants something they can carry around and set up with minimal fuss and bother. Its generous surface area of 2x2.3m means you can really squeeze a lot of subjects in there, so it's ideal for photographing large family groups, even those with kids who like to take up plenty of space and want some props to play with. Getting the kit definitely isn't cheap, and there are much more affordable options on this list, so bear that in mind. The kit is available in Olive, Tobacco, Concrete and Smoke, four colours that could also be described as Brown, Brown, Grey and Grey, so you aren't getting a lot of variety. But for portability, convenience and space, this is a terrific choice.
Whatever kind of look you want for your newborn photography, it’s worth having a look at the impressive range of backdrops from KateHome. These microfibre fabric backdrops can be ordered in a generous range of colors, from darker textured looks to something lighter, or even a stylish illustrated look if you want something really different. The fabrics can be washed in a machine or by hand and then are easy to iron, so you can keep them clean and ready for the next job.
Thanks to its highly portable nature and its rigid steel frame that stops it moving in the wind, the Fovitec Collapsible Backdrop is a perfect take-anywhere backdrop and is therefore ideal for quick headshots. No matter where you are, you can quickly use the Fovitec backdrop to get the shot in the can, and it also comes in several double-sided variants, so you can pick and choose which combination of colors you want to have at your disposal. The material is soft but strong, and the steel lining in the frame gives the backdrop its structure and tautness.
If you're looking to take more artistic portraiture in the vein of the old masters, this double-sided background from Kate Backdrop is perfect. Its massive 5 x 6.5ft / 1.5 x 2m size means that you can use it for headshots, three-quarters and almost full-length portraits, on either the "old master" textured brown side or the more contemporary textured blue, making this very creatively versatile. It packs down, like a reflector, into a small carry pouch (though mastering this takes a bit of skill and patience!) for easy transport and storage. It doesn't come with a stand, but is so large that you can get away with leaning it against a wall – and thankfully the high-quality microfiber doesn't produce awful light reflections.
With 4m of width, the Panoramic Background Cover from Lastolite more than lives up to its name. If you’re planning on photographing families, sports teams or other larger groups, this will ensure you can keep everyone in the frame without any undesirable background elements poking into the frame – and what’s more, the background is self-standing, so no need to buy an extra frame or set of stands. It’s available in plain white or in Chromakey green, for those who like to add in their own backgrounds digitally.
Give your images a rustic look with the range of floor- and wall-style backdrops from LYWYGG. With various different wood and brick looks to choose from, the range is ideal for party or family photography, and the thin vinyl the backdrops are constructed from is seamless and wrinkle-free – be aware though that the print doesn’t stand up to super-close scrutiny and can look a little pixelated when zoomed in, so this isn’t one for product photography or anything else where you’re likely to be very close to the backdrop. For parties and group shots though, it’s ideal.
You will also need a background stand, such as the Neewer backdrop support system
If you’d like to set up a photobooth at a party or something similar, one of the patterned backdrops from LYWYGG is a great and inexpensive way to do so. There’s a huge choice of preset patterns in different themes and colors, and you can also create a custom look with an image of your choosing simply by getting in touch with the company. It’s made from the same thin vinyl as the wood-look backdrops, meaning it’s wrinkle-free, reflection-free and easy to fold up and transport to your shooting location.
You will need to buy a background stand…
Can't decide which background you want? Then get a green screen and you can add in any scene digitally, using the magic of chroma key (aka "green screen" or "blue screen"). Neewer's 2-in-1 collapsible option can be packed down, taken and used anywhere. Just like a reflector it folds into a compact carry case, ready to pop up when you need to shoot. It doesn't come with a stand, but the mounting loops (horizontal and vertical) can be affixed to your own stands or can even be hung from walls. It's large enough to fit two people for interviews or co-presenting, and it's reversible with a blue screen option – which can be useful, depending on your software and the subject's wardrobe!
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