Photo by Ryan WalshThe word “Muslin” was originally used to describe a tightly woven cloth produced in the Middle East centuries ago. This cloth was widely used to make dresses that could be easily embellished with embroidery and beads. Pioneer women often used muslin- then called “domestic” -as the neutral backing for hand-stitched quilts. What does all this have to do with photography? Muslin fabric is one of the most versatile backdrops for use in professional photography.
Muslin backdrops have been used for many years for a wide variety of photographic purposes. One of the most important tools for any photographer hoping to produce premium photos is a high quality photography backdrop. Professional photographers tend to prefer and utilize muslin backgrounds when creating their studio environment. This is because you can use it repeatedly for a long period of time without having to worry about causing damage to the cloth.
What Is It?Muslin is naturally an off-white color. It is woven with 100% cotton thread or yarn. The lightweight fabric can be hung or draped for different background applications. Professionals like to use muslin because it is easy to transport and modify using temporary and permanent color changing techniques. Another great reason hobbyists and professionals alike choose muslin is for its economical price. Muslin backdrops are among the highest value photography products on the market today.
Photo by Ryan Walsh
Why You Should Use It?
VersatileMany muslin backdrop options exist now with a variety of styles, colors and sizes. Professional photographers will often carry several different backgrounds with them, such as hand painted muslin, retro muslin or crushed muslin, to ensure variety when shooting images. It’s easy to customize muslin by painting it with your favorite colors. Customization is what makes muslin cloth a luxurious and professional-looking background.
Muslin cloth can also be utilized as a smaller background screen. When this type of background is used in the creation of videos or movies, the muslin is typically colored green or blue. The advantage of using a blackout muslin cloth in this setting is that the cloth eliminates the reflection of unwanted light into the final image.
PortableMuslin background kits and reversible muslin backdrops provide options for studio and on-site photo sessions. Muslin is also very is light and easy to move. This allows it to be extremely portable and can be moved from location to location with ease. An easy way to create texture in the muslin is to crinkle it and store it scrunched up, instead of neatly folded. This will create lines and waves in the backdrop that can give a photo an extra pop. Muslin is can be easily washed and steamed to create a smooth look again.
Easy to CleanMuslin is ideal because it can easily be cleaned, folded and lasts a long time. Proper care typically involves administering steam to the cloth before hanging it from your backdrop stand. Washing muslin backdrops should be done using warm water and a gentle detergent. This helps the cloth remain looking like new. In addition, muslin cloth can be dyed or processed to change its color and texture but it is very easy to wash and use again.
Cost EffectiveMuslin is a great backdrop option for those who are value conscious. The initial price of muslin fabric will usually be more expensive than a seamless paper backdrop, however you have the advantage of being able to use muslin for a long period of time without seeing damage or needing replacement. Seamless paper will wear and tear more noticeably and run out quicker, requiring you to replace it more often. So the long-term value of muslin is an excellent deal.
Muslin can be used for nearly any type of photography, from portraiture to products. So, next time you are thinking of trying out a new background, remember the benefits of muslin.
-Backdrop Express Photography Team
Interested in reading more about studio backdrops? Check out 25 Things to Know About Photography Backgrounds!
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