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How to Keep Your Paper Backdrops Clean

Written by Backdrop Express Photography Team on . Posted in Photography Backdrops, Photography Tips, Seamless Backdrops, Storage & Care, Studio Equipment, Studio Photography

How to Keep Your Paper Backdrops Clean | Backdrop Express Photography Blog

Paper backdrops are a popular background solution for amateur and professional photographers alike. Seamless paper backdrops offer the advantages of versatility and variety as well as being relatively inexpensive. Seamless paper is available in a great assortment of colors, and with the aid of gels and lighting, produces special effects that enhance the aesthetics of studio photography.

Most photographers set up their photo backdrops by mounting the rolls onto a backdrop stand and rolling it out several feet past the floor, providing continuity of color as a background. However, if you’re not working in a photo studio with hard flooring, you’ll have to deal with an extra step of keeping your paper backdrops clean and reusable.

Protecting from Tears

Photographers must deal carefully with the paper if they choose to cover the ground where the model will be working. Seamless paper cannot be placed over carpet, because the soft surface will cause puckering and creasing. A hard surface will need to be placed between the carpet and the paper before your shooting begins. Such options include plywood, tileboard, acrylic or plexiglass.

How to Keep Your Paper Backdrops Clean | Backdrop Express Photo BlogPhoto by Elizabeth Lee Millen Images

A hard surface that is approximately 4 by 8 feet is large enough for this purpose, so your model can move around without feeling restricted. However, walking directly on the paper in shoes will soil the backdrop and can be visible in the final photos. This necessitates continuously rolling out the paper or placing another protective surface on top of it.

Protecting from Footprints

The most common solution is to cover the seamless background paper with a sheet of plexiglass or clear acrylic. Doing so protects the paper from getting dirty from footsteps and dirt. Another advantage is that it provides a nice, subtly reflective surface as your model stands above, which adds visual interest. It is great for the technique known as high key photography.

How to Keep Your Paper Backdrops Clean | Backdrop Express Photo BlogPhotos by Ryan Walsh

An additional solution is available for photos shoots using a white backdrop. Photographers can use the white backside of tileboard, which provides the assets of being less expensive and more scratch resistant than acrylic.

Prices of flooring for seamless paper backdrops will vary with the thickness and dimensions of the materials. They may be purchased through local home supply stores or through online industrial plastic retailers.

How long does a roll of seamless paper typically last in your studio?

-Backdrop Express Photography Team

Interested in learning more about caring for seamless paper backdrops? Check out Extending the Life of Your Seamless Paper!

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Comments (6)

  • Theresa

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    Very helpful! Can you tell me what kind of backdrop is used on the floor of all three photos above? I’m looking for something slightly shiny.

    Reply

    • Backdrop Express Photography Team

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      Hi Theresa!
      Seamless paper backdrops are used in all 3 photos. The white is “Super White” and the second image is featuring our “Pecan” paper. You can view 68 choices of seamless paper here: http://www.backdropexpress.com/seamless-paper-photo-backdrops-s/1477.htm

      Using an acrylic or plexi-glass sheet on the floor creates that extra shine.

      Thank you!!
      -Backdrop Express Photography Team

      Reply

  • Doug

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    Love your article on seamless paper backdrop, and the idea of using plexi-glass to protect the paper from dirt and wrinkles.
    How thick does the plexi-glass need to be?

    Thank you!

    Reply

    • Backdrop Express Photography Team

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      Hi Doug!

      Great question! There’s not a specific thickness that we recommend, it’s really just about the nice reflection the sheet offers and the covering over the paper to keep it clean from feet. Let us know if you have any other questions!

      -Backdrop Express Photography Team

      Reply

  • Angela

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    Any suggestions for a non-reflective hard surface? Id like to protect the paper, but keep the infinity look. I don’t like the reflection in the examples above.

    Thanks

    Reply

    • Backdrop Express Photography Team

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      Hi Angela, thanks for your question! Many photographers also commonly use white tile board over their white seamless backgrounds to keep the paper footprint-free. This may give less reflection that a clear plexigas surface.

      Reply

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