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How to Choose a Photography Backdrop for Your Photos?

by Alan 28 Sep 2021

In this article we'll be comparing the differences between paper backdrops and cotton muslin backdrops for photos and video. 

There are several different backdrop options available on the market for your photo or video shoot, a few being vinyl plastics paper backdrops or cotton muslin backdrops, the three main considerations when selecting a backdrop, price, portability as well as production. With price, obviously, you're gonna be selecting the size that you want and the price to suit your budget or portability.

Whether you're going to be shooting on location versus, shooting in studio and whether you're gonna be needing it for a photoshoot or a video shoot, today we'll be talking specifically about paper backdrops and cotton muslin backdrops.

Let's go a little bit more in depth about the differences between the two, jump into that first part price and we'll compare the differences between paper and cotton muslin.

1. The paper backdrop comes in two different sizes, there are the full-width backdrops which at 2.7 meters by 10 meters in length and they also have the half rolls which are 1.3 meters in width and 10 meters in length and make they're about the same in terms of price. Therefore, with variations, so we do have the 3 meters by 6 meters in cotton muslin, which is the full width and they do get cheaper as you decrease in size. As they get smaller, with the cotton muslins, they are a bit more economical compared to paper backdrops. so you do have 3 by 3meters, 2 by 3 meters, and really small cotton muslin backdrops which are only 1.45 meters by 1 meter, perfect for twitch streaming, YouTube, live streaming, things like that.

The next part is portability. Comparing the two different backdrops once again. Paper backdrops are more suitable for studio use because they're a little bit harder to transport. You will need a vehicle to transport them whereas cotton muslin backdrops, But muslin backdrop can be folded, the large background of 3*6 meters can be folded into a small piece and basically a lot more portable. Perfect for on-location use. So if you or needing a backdrop when you're on location, cotton muslin probably the most convenient to take with you. 

Now compare the different sizes, paper backdrops come in two different sizes, a full-width backdrop which is 2.7 meters in width and 10 meters in length, and a half-width backdrop which is 1.36 meters in width and 10 meters in length as well. You can also have them custom cut to size if you have a limited amount of space in your studio. For example, if you have 2 meters of width, you can get them cut to size perfect for you.

2. In terms of storage for paper backdrops, you will actually need to store them upright. It's advisable to store them that way because if you do store them horizontally or lying along the ground if there is any weight placed on it, may cause the actual backdrop or the backdrop call of the roll crease, and then that'll cause wrinkles in your backdrops when you unravel that on your backdrop stand. Also, you have to be mindful of humidity so when you're standing them upright, just less chance of it actually you know encountering humidity.  It's always advisable to store it in its box or it came with plastic, just like tape stuff. In terms of storing cotton muslin, it's nice and easy. You basically fold it up. But the disadvantage would be that when you go to mount your actual muslin, there will be wrinkles once you unravel that and mount that up onto your backdrop stand. So a way to get around this would be to iron it out or if you have a steamer available, you can steam out some of those wrinkles and make sure you have a nice clean backdrop. Storing them, it's as simple as folding them up and if you do have a case or a little pouch that comes with your cotton muslin, use that to avoid any sort of dirt and dust to get onto your backdrop so that way you can use it for your next shoot. 

Cotton muslin is reusable, so that's the advantage of them. They are machine washable because they are made from cotton.  That's the advantage of them versus paper. With paper, if you use it while you're on your shoot and your model steps on it, for example, there are some footprints, something gets spilled onto it or it gets torn, you can simply just cut the actual lengths and pull out a little bit more, so that's why there are 10 meters as compared to the full-length muslin which is only 6 meters. They're a little bit more of a consumable compared to the cotton muslin. So the cotton muslin is reusable and that's their advantage, however paper is recyclable.

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