White backdrops are a photography backdrop staple, a “must” for the basic backdrop arsenal of photographers at every level. White photography backdrops offer a clean, contemporary look for both portraits and product photography. Artistic posing and composition options with a white backdrop are virtually limitless. While some believe “white is white,” artists and photographers will tell you that there can be a wide range of shades and nuances that all fall under the same category of “white backgrounds.” A white backdrop can also come in a variety of different materials. In this article, we’ll explore the similarities and differences in specs for each of the major white background material choices: seamless paper, vinyl, canvas, muslin and fabric. From there, you’ll be able to decide which white background will work best for your specific photography needs and preferences.
White Seamless PaperWhite seamless paper is an excellent option for the budget-minded photographer. White paper will inevitably get very dirty after you and your models have stood and walked on it for awhile. The good news is that since seamless paper is disposable, when a section gets dirty or torn, you can simply tear off the used piece and roll out a fresh, new, clean section. Some photographers choose to place a plexi-glass sheet on the floor portion of the paper to help prevent wear, tear and footprints, thereby extending the life of the paper. However, its affordable and disposable nature make it a favorite among photographers at every level and for just about any style of shooting. White seamless paper is available in 3 different shades: Super White, White and Pure White.
- Super White is an excellent choice for product photography and achieving a true, absolute white.
- White is a slightly warmer shade that can give an off-white look depending upon your lighting setup.
- Pure White is a versatile, all-purpose white that can work well for just about any style of photography.
White VinylWhite Vinyl is a durable, long-lasting and easy to maintain white background choice that’s great for high key work, product shots and portraiture. It’s also an excellent choice for babies, small children and pet photography since it can be easily wiped or sponged clean. Your white vinyl backdrop will arrive rolled around a sturdy core for easy transport and safe storage.
White FabricWhite Fabric is a poly/poplin blend matte fabric. Its main advantage is that it is wrinkle resistant, and any wrinkles that result from being tightly folded can be easily worked out with a few quick passes of the fabric steamer. This backdrop material is available in sizes that range as compact as 5’ x 9’, which makes it a great option for photographing babies, kids, headshots and product photography. The 5′ x 9′ size of a white fabric background is ideal if your studio space is small or you do not have a lot of storage space for a wide roll of vinyl or seamless paper.
White MuslinWhite Muslin is a 100% cotton, heavier weight option than Fabric Backdrops, but much lighter weight than canvas. White Muslin is very durable and can be machine washed and dried for easy, convenient cleanup. The main downside of muslin is that it tends to wrinkle easily; however, the wrinkles can be prevented through careful storage (store your muslins rolled up or folded very loosely) and/or by using a fabric steamer. Muslin backdrops come in a bag for storage and transport easily to your photo shoot locations.
White CanvasWhite Canvas is a bright, opaque heavyweight backdrop option. It features a a blackout center that will effectively prevent any light from passing through its thick surface. It has a matte finish for zero glare from flash and lighting. Canvas backdrops are wrinkle-free and shipped and stored rolled around a dowel. Your canvas will come in a carrying bag for easy storage and for transporting it on location. As you can see, there is an ideal white background choice for every style of photography, every studio space and every taste and preference. A white photography backdrop should be a core staple background choice for photographers at every level. While “white” can mean different things to different photographers, there’s sure to be a white background style, shade and material that’s perfect for your needs.
-Backdrop Express Photography Team
Interested in more comparisons of types of photography backdrops? Check out Choosing the Right Photography Backdrop!
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