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DO I NEED A SEAMLESS BACKGROUND?

Seamless Paper Backgrounds - In Depth Version

Portraits, Pets and Products -They always look better on backdrops

Here’s a multiple choice question:  What makes fora better background in your makeshift portrait studio?

A.  Cluttered bookshelves
B. Grandma’s flocked wallpaper
C. Dirty bed sheet
D. Savage Brand Seamless Paper Backdrops from Horn Photo in your choice size and color.
If you answered “D”, then give yourself a pat on the back.  You are right.  If you answered “C” then you should seriously consider seeking help from a psychologist, priest, or interior decorator.
If you are a professional photographer and take portraits, chances are that you already have backdrops in your arsenal.  Now’s a great time to expand your options to get different looks.
If you are dabbling in portraiture, you may be surprised at how easy and affordable it isto up your game with this necessity in portrait photography.
Horn Photo has a great selection of colors and sizes in stock.  Come into the store, pick your colors and sizes, then take them home!  NO WAITING FOR DELIVERY and NO SHIPPING COSTS! 
Shop any time by clinking HERE

This blog contains a GOLDMINE of information about backdrops:

1.  How to select the right sizes for you
2.  Which colors should you buy
3.  How to hang them
4.  What accessories you need
5.  How to cut them
6.  How to maintain them
For you folks that passed the multiple choice quiz, and are thinking of getting a backdrop or two, this blog is well worth the read. The information was provided by our number one choice for seamless paper backdrops, the Savage Company.  
Here are answers to the most frequently asked questions about backgrounds.

  1. How do I choose the right seamless paper size?

Being prepared for all the different photo shoots that may come your way can be a challenge. You may be asked to make a portrait of a single person, a family of four, or a pet. Obviously that’s a wide range of sizes and shapes!
Configuring a backdrop system that can accommodate such a list of subjects might seem daunting. Fortunately, Savage Seamless Paper Backdrops make it possible to perfectly fit your backdrop to both your subject matter and shooting style, whether for a product shoot, ahead shot, or groups of people.
Which Size Do I Need?
Choosing the appropriate seamless paper size will take some assessment on your part. What is your typical photo shoot? Do you tend to capture head shots, or do you often photograph families – or both? Do you make a habit of shooting small products or large products? How big is your studio?Can it handle a 9-foot-wide backdrop roll? Or do you shoot in a spare bedroom where space is limited? 
Answering these questions will help guide your selection, but the good news is that you don’t need to constrain yourself to just the factory-made lengths of paper. More on that in a bit!
Here is a description of the shooting capabilities each of the various lengths will give you. Just remember that the size of your studio and the loading space of your car or truck will help determine which size paper roll will work best. 

53″ Wide

The 53” wide seamless paper rolls are perfect for head shots,3/4 body shots or for 2 people who are intimate such as in wedding or engagement photos. You can use this length for capturing kids, infants, small pets, and small products. It’s compact, easy to transport and easy to set up.
For portraits, you’ll likely be using a fairly tight lens (in the range of about 50mm-200mm for a full-frame camera) to avoid perspective distortion. These focal lengths also work well for the 53” seamless paper as they avoid showing the sides of the roll as you zoom in. Of course you’ll need a certain distance (perhaps 6’-20’) in front of the backdrop to work with these focal lengths, so before buying make sure you have enough space in your studio or shooting area.

107″ Wide

At nine feet, the 107″ seamless paper is twice as wide as the shorter 53″ version, making for an impressively wide backdrop. At this size you’ll be able to easily capture full body shots, couples, small groups, largerproducts and pets, and situations that require movement. Some examples of the latter might include dancers, pets that won’t stay still, small groups or product shoots with motion. You will need a good deal of space in your studio, so take out your measuring tape and confirm that you have the room to hang it beforehand.

 2. What colors do I need?

Color Me INSPIRED!

“What colors should I choose?”  Deciding where to begin with seamless background paper might be a challenge. We’re here to offer a few suggestions!
Why some colors seem to go along so nicely with others seems to be deeply rooted in nature and the world around us. Principles of color theory help us to understand the relationship between colors when grouped together: similar colors can create a calming harmony, while contrasting colors draw in our attention.
If you’re just starting to build out your studio, we recommend having three or more background colors on hand to offer clients a variety of backgrounds to complement their look. Whether creating vibrant fashion looks,sweet serene baby portraits, or powerful corporate head shots, your subject’s background plays an important part in the impact of your final image.
•         Who are your subjects?
•         What energy do you want to convey?
•         Will you light your background directly, or will it be lit by ambient light?
•         How and where will your images be displayed?
These are some of the questions you might want to consider when choosing your next photography backdrop. Check out some of our favorite color combinations to help get your creative gears turning!

Studio Starters

True neutral backdrops are great for photographing very busy or colorful subjects. White, gray, and black seamless are studio staples that never go out of style and are great “first” backgrounds to start with.
Certain post-production techniques, especially when shooting video, might also influence your background choice, like green screen projects.

Color Pop

Bright, vibrant colors convey energy, positivity, and youthfulness. Capturing a birthday cake smash or an album cover? A burst of color really sets the mood!

Beauty & Grace

Soft, neutral hues add depth to your image without drawing attention away from your subject’s features. These shades are ideal for fashion and beauty campaigns.

Organic Charm

Warm, rustic fall colors set the mood for family portraits in cozy sweaters in crisp weather. Cool pastel greens, blues, and sandy tones make great beachy backdrops for summertime themes.

In the Moment

Whether it’s Christmas or the 4th of July, infuse your images with colors of the season!

3. How do I hang my seamless paper backgrounds?

So you just got your hands on your first roll of Savage Seamless Paper… you may be wondering just what you’re supposed to do with it now?! Have no fear, we’re here to help demonstrate a few common methods for how to hang seamless paper backgrounds easily and get you photographing your first client (or yourself) in no time!

Background Stand

If you’re hanging your seamless paper roll, you’re going to need something to hang it from! We offer a background stand, making setting up your seamless paper of any size a breeze! To set it up, simply slide the crossbar through your new paper roll and secure the crossbar to the two upright stands. Our background stands are portable and you can set them up indoors or outside, perfect for all photographers on-the-go!
Check out our background stand here:  BACKGROUND STAND 
Tip: Roll out the amount of paper you will need for the photo shoot BEFORE raising your uprights. This will save you a headache and a ladder climb. And don’t forget to secure the backdrop with a spring clamp or two.
Now that you’ve secured your seamless paper to the stand, you can prevent the paper from curling at the bottom by sweeping the paper onto the floor and taping it down with gaffer tape.   

Light Stand &Boom Arm

For narrow, lightweight backgrounds like our 53″wide rolls you can be resourceful by hanging them from a light stand and .This can help save floor space if required.
 Tip: This trick can also come in handy when designing creative sets incorporating multiple rolls.
Check out our solutions here: SHOP STANDS NOW

Backdrop Wall Mount

Looking for a permanent hanging solution for rolls you will be using all the time? Backdrop wall mount systems are a great way to store frequently used seamless paper rolls, and keep your studio from getting too cluttered. Set up involves inserting expandable hooks into each end of the backdrop core and securing them onto the brackets on the wall. The expandable hooks keep the backdrop snug on the system so that it may roll down smoothly. Chains attached to each hook allow the user to easily lower and raise a paper roll for a photo shoot.
Tip: Use a background leader bar to keep the paper from curling or tearing when rolling the paper up and down .

Tape or Pin to the Wall

Looking for a more economical option to hang your new seamless paper background? Here are a couple ways to hang a small piece without a support system.
Cut off just enough paper to fill the frame and tape or pin it to your wall. This works well for head shots or vlogging.
Tip: Grab an assistant or friend to make this process a lot less painful.

4.  How do I cut my seamless background paper?

As we mentioned earlier, you don’t need to stick with the available lengths of seamless paper if they don’t quite fit perfectly into your studio space. If you need an in-between size like a 6 ft or 8 ft roll, the solution is to custom-cut your own length from a longer roll. Many photographers order 107” wide rolls so that they can cut them to a particular size for whatever they are shooting.
It’s easy to cut your own seamless paper roll using a saw anda straight-edge. One way, is to use a mitre box, which can be found at hardware stores everywhere. This simple box allows you to place the roll of paper (or anything you wish to saw) inside while also providing a straight-edge against which to place the saw, ensuring an even, straight cut. The mitre box and a hacksaw will yield great results, but other types of saws with fine, sharp teeth would also work.

5. What accessories do I need for my seamless background paper?

Seamless paper is hands-down the most cost-effective solution for creating smooth and even backgrounds for portrait photography, commercial and product photography, videography, and much more. But don’t let it be lonely! With the right tools, you can extend the life of your background paper and get maximum use from each roll. Make sure these 5 backdrop accessories are in your photo studio next time you plan to roll out that new Savage paper!

Clamp It Real Good

It just keeps going, and going, and going…”– Don’t let that be your seamless paper roll! Spring Clamps come in handy to keep your backdrops from unraveling any more than you want it to, preventing creases and dents in your paper. Haveva spring clamp or two ready to go before unrolling your seamless paper.

Shape Up & Tape Up

Gaffer tape is an essential piece of gear for any photographer, but it comes in handy when using paper backgrounds aswell. If you plan to sweep your seamless out onto the floor for full-body model portraits, we recommend taping down the end of the paper to the ground to ensure it stays flat and does not roll up. This will maintain a smooth and professional looking set as well as eliminate any tripping hazards for your model. The blended resin and natural rubber compound allows for non-transferring adhesion, to deliver a clean removal with no residue.

  Better Remember Those Booties

If you want your seamless paper to last, don’t walk on it with dirty shoes! Invest in shoe covers for you and your team sowhen you’re setting up, you keep your backdrop clean. Once it’s time to start shooting, make sure to clean off your model’s shoes before she/he steps on the paper.

Skip the Scissors

Stop! Don’t reach for those scissors to cut your seamless paper! Make sure you have a utility knife handy. Scissors will leave an uneven edge whereas a utility knife or box cutter will give you a straight, clean cut.
 

6.  How should I store my seamless background paper?

Store in Dry Spaces
Evaluate the environment of your storage and work space for issues with humidity. Paper stored and used inhumid conditions will absorb moisture from the air which can form wrinkles and ripples.

Store Vertically

The best way to store backdrop rolls is vertically. This position ensures that the roll will not weigh itself down over time, misshaping the inner cardboard core and causing waves in the material, particularly for the heavier, extra-wide rolls.  

Don’t Leave it Hanging

Don’t leave your backdrop hanging on a stand as storage. After each session, roll the paper back up tightly and evenly to avoid wrinkling. Grab a friend to help with a large roll.
Now you’re an expert.  Pick up your Savage Seamless Backgrounds today!    
That’s it for now.
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Thanks for reading! Any questions email us info@hornphoto.com