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Photography Question 
Andrea Hillis

Backdrop Ideas

I'm looking for ideas for good backdrops - inexpensive, because I'm just getting started. Thanks.

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7/30/2004 7:36:20 AM

Mikki Cowles
BetterPhoto Member Since: 5/29/2004
  Hmm ... sheets, blankets, curtains, rugs, walls, foliage, windows, sky, beach ... My few cents:o)

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7/30/2004 7:43:46 AM

Andrea Hillis   Thanks Mikki. How do you get the rippled effect when you place these over the backdrop?

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7/30/2004 7:47:21 AM

Rhonda L. Tolar   Sheets are good. You can find them on the clearance table at some bed and bath shops. The problem I ran into with sheets was that they were not long enough to cover the flooring, so I just get two and sew them together.

You can also go to a fabric store and purchase muslin, extra wide - it is cheap, and you can even paint on it, like a bunch of primary colors, spattered on it.

Also, at the fabric shop you can look on their clearance table for cheap fabrics - say, if you would like some fake fur to make a rug to lay on, or some animal print pillows. If you don't sew, the fabric stores always have a list of people that do.

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7/30/2004 9:18:52 AM

Andrea Hillis   thanks Rhonda

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7/30/2004 9:22:39 AM

Mikki Cowles
BetterPhoto Member Since: 5/29/2004
  When you hang them, don't pull them smooth, just attach them to the wall or a pole, slide it together and give it some slack, as if you were draping some curtains. The extra material should fall into a soft, drapey look, which you can adjust to get the desired effects and shadows.

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7/30/2004 10:29:28 AM

none    Believe it or not, shower curtains also make good backdrops. For a different texture and color mix, you can use sheer curtains over the backdrop, or to help frame the subject. Good Luck!

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7/30/2004 11:26:28 AM

Terry Lennox   Hi Andrea, Ive found a very inexpensive Web site that sells great backdrops of all sizes, colors, styles, and qualities. It's called The prices are fantastic ... delivery can be slow, but they do arrive. Good luck with your photography!!

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8/3/2004 4:51:16 AM

Andrea Hillis   Thanks Terry, I'm going to check them out.

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8/3/2004 6:14:04 AM

Floribunda    Hi Andrea, Here's my 2 cents' worth on backdrops. I buy about 6 yards of 60" wide stretch velour. It has to be the stretchy kind because it doesn't unravel, it curls a little on the edges, but doesn't unravel. If you're handy with a sewing machine or sewing tape, you can make a pocket at the top and bottom to hang it. You can use two 3-yard pieces side by side, and that pretty much will cover a lot of territory. The velour is usually inexpensive - around $6 a yard (here in NYC) - made of rayon or poly. First, I preshrink it in the machine and throw it in the dryer. It doesn't wrinkle and can be rolled up in a ball without much wrinkling. By preshrinking it, you can then throw it in the dryer when it becomes dirty again. It comes in nice rich velvety colors; I even found a tie-dyed purple. If you hang it with the nap down, it gives a silvery look or if you hang it the other way it gives that velvet look.

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8/3/2004 7:29:16 AM

Rhonda L. Tolar   Corinna, that is a great idea! And, you don't even have to be handy in sewing. They have curtain clips that all you would have to do is clip it on the fabric and thread it on a dowel rod or pole! Or, what I do is set up in my garage and use clothes pins to attach the fabric to my garage door.

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8/3/2004 9:41:13 AM

Floribunda    Curtain clips that I find very hard to squeeze open. I just read my original comment and didn't mean to say that you clean it by just throwing it in the dryer! Duh! My fingers work faster than my brain.

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8/3/2004 9:49:05 AM

Pamela C.M Lammersen
BetterPhoto Member Since: 1/19/2004
  Hello Andrea, I purchased the painters' drop cloth, they are cheap at somewhere like Home Depot (depending where you live). They also come in different sizes, so for $15-25 you can have a huge sheet large enough for just about anything and, of course, you can paint it, spray it, or do whatever you like. If I am doing head shots or 3/4-style shots, I will clip bunches of the canvas together to hold it in place (out of camera view) and use a backlight with a gel over it to make the colours shine into the grooves on the fabric. Really easy and inexpensive. Good luck.

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8/3/2004 10:13:05 AM

Lori Lozzi   Wow, what great ideas already suggested! I've used sheets, fabric, etc., as stated above, but I've also used tablecloths. It seems all the ideas are for large backdrops, but for smaller projects, construction paper or posterboard will work, too. Also, if photographing people, why not use the outdoors as a backdrop? I have taken beautiful portraits right in my back yard. Then there's always parks, woods, beaches, lakes ...

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8/3/2004 2:31:22 PM

Teresa L. Bernard
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/14/2003
  Andrea, I see someone suggested velour above. One of my absolute favorites for head shots is black velvet that I purchased at a fabric store. I waited until it was discounted before buying, but the effect is great. I think this tip may have originally come from Vik O (BetterPhoto instructor Vik Orenstein). The only thing with velvet is that it does crease and should not be ironed, so please roll to store so all is well for future uses!

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8/4/2004 1:41:26 PM

Andrea Hillis   Thanks for everyone's tips ... I'm going shopping this weekend. I hope to have some pics to view by next week. Thanks. A.

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8/5/2004 6:31:12 AM

Floribunda    Just one more comment. When I suggested velour, it's not the sporty kind of velour I have in mind, it's the one that resembles velvet and is usually made of rayon, but isn't as high maintenance as velvet. True, the pile on it isn't as rich-looking as velvet's, but it's low maintenance. I'm an experienced sewer, and take it from me, velvet is difficult to maintain. Actually you can press velvet if you have a thick towel or a needle board. Place the fabric pile side down onto the folded up towel and hold the steam iron close to the fabric but not pressing it and give it some shots of steam AND PRAY. Always best to do a test first in a hidden area or on a scrap. That's the great thing about the velour - it doesn't wrinkle. It's called by various names: panne velvet, stretch velvet, as well as stretch velour. Andrea, if you want, I can send you a sample of the fabric via mail. Contact me through my Web site and e-mail me the info there.

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8/5/2004 7:10:54 AM

Kim Moyle   I'm a big fan of buying my backgrounds at the fabric can find just about anything your heart desires. But muslin is your best friend in backgrounds, it what most of the pro backgrounds you would normally buy are made of. It's cheep (less then 2$/yard), you can get it as long as you want and you can dye it any color you want, even tie dye it for an old masters effect.

I found a page with some information you might find helpful

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8/10/2004 6:36:01 AM

Raquel J. Jimenez   HI mikki I am a beginer too and I bought two background in ebay for only 48$, they are a musli raw back ground that you must paint but it is very funny pint the back ground they are 9'x10' I think this is enough for begin
I will share with you some web in ebay where you can find some of those you can use
I hoppe this can help you have good time

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8/10/2004 8:28:07 AM

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