Whether you’re a hobbyist or a seasoned professional, it is more than likely that you will need to invest in a backdrop or two at some time during your photographic or videography career. With the plethora of different types and sizes available, it is hard to know where to start. This blog post is designed to help you make the decision of what size background to go for. Regardless of whether you are a Portrait, Fashion, Beauty, Product or food photographer, the correct sized background will help you take your images to the next level.
Questions to Ask Yourself
What’s the Size of your Shooting-Space?
First and foremost, you must take into consideration the size of the space that you have to work with. If you have a small home studio, or if you are travelling to people’s homes with your backdrops, we recommend going with backgrounds that are smaller in width, as the average living room may not have enough space available to accommodate a large 3m backdrop for example.
If you have a large permanent studio space, then a larger background such as our Vinyl Backdrops or Fabric Backdrops will give you more versatility, especially if you plan to shoot multiple subjects. If you are an Events photographer, it wouldn’t hurt to have on small and large background, as you don’t want to turn up at a venue that is too small to accommodate your background (or vice-versa).
Ceiling height is also another factor that you need to take into consideration. If the space you are shooting in has low ceilings, you need to make sure that your background is short enough to fit into your shooting space.
Do I want to shoot Full-Length, or Headshots, Half-Body/Three-Quarter length?
If you plan to shoot full-length images, you will need a background that is long enough- to continue down to the floor (unless you don’t mind having the studio floor in the shot, or you have a complimentary floor-drop). Space-permitting we would recommend having about 2-3m of the background on the floor for full-length images, which will give you and your subject ample space to work with.
How many People do you Plan to Photograph?
Another question that you need to ask yourself is, how many people do you intend to photograph at one time? Now, this doesn’t have to be all the time, however, if you have an idea of a rough top-end figure of how many people you plan to photograph, will give you a good indication of what size backdrop you should go for:
- 1-2 people – Approx. 1.3m – 1.5m
- 2-4 people – Approx. 1.8m – 2.4m
- 4+ people – Approx. 2.4m – 3m
- Large Groups – 3m+
Backgrounds for Product Photography
Sometimes you need a background for photographing products on, rather than for photographing people. If you want to photograph small products, such as consumer electronics, jewellery and cosmetics, a smaller backdrop, such as our 60x130cm or 1x2m PVC backdrops should be more than up to the task.
If you would like to photograph products of a larger size, such as clothing on a mannequin, small furniture, such as chairs and bedside cabinets, or large consumer electronics such as TVs, will usually require a larger background. Backgrounds around 1.5m or so in width is usually sufficient for photographing such products.
Photographing large products such as large furniture (such as sofas, beds, etc, as well as some home appliances will require a large background sometimes up to 3m in width. Again, unless you don’t mind having the studio floor in your shot, we recommend having a background that extends along the floor for a seamless look.
The Focal length of the lens that you want to use, can also be a factor to take into consideration when selecting a background. For example, if you are the type of photographer who likes to photograph a single subject and use a wide-angle lens to exaggerate proportions for effect, then a wider background would be a better option to go for. Wide-Angle lenses can exaggerate perspective, making the background look smaller in the frame than it does in real life. If you are using a smaller background with a wide-angle lens, there is a higher chance that your subject, may come off the background in the final photo. Using a larger background (if possible) will help avoid that problem.
If you are still unsure, the safest solution would be to purchase the larges background that your shooting space can accommodate, as you can easily use a large background for a small subject. Whilst it is not totally impossible to shoot a large, or multiple subjects on a small background, it will involve a lot more work, especially in the post-production stage. If the background needs to be something that you can travel with, then you may have to go for one that is on the smaller side (unless you have a van or something to transport it in), however, please be aware you may be a little limited to what can be done using a smaller background.