How to Set Up Professional Photo Backdrops

In order to take the best professional photo, you will need to ascertain what type of backdrop and background materials you are going to need. If you are putting together studio photography shoots, there are several things you must keep in mind. Below is a step by step process of how to setup your professional photo backdrops.

Materials you will need

  • Studio space
  • Paint and paint supplies
  • Props
  • Lighting
  • Electric Supplies
  • Reflector Boards

Step 1 - Understand your Space

By now, you probably have already picked the space for your photo shoot. Ideally your space needs to provide you with ample room to display and utilize the backdrop effectively. This space also needs to accommodate the different types of lighting needed to photograph your subject appropriately.

Make sure you have at least a 12 to 14-foot span between your camera setup and the backdrop. This will give you enough room to experiment. A narrow room also works wonders! Rule of thumb: A great room for photography should be short, narrow and long. The length should exceed the width by at least 2 times.

Step 2 - Paint the Walls

Paint the walls in the room and the ceilings. Use a white matte finish. The paint should have washable properties. A white finish will give you the most versatility.

Step 3 - Install Electric

Any photography backdrop, properly displayed, must be accompanied with a great deal of lighting. In order to satisfy your lighting needs, install additional electrical outlets around the room. Do not add any additional outlets on the wall that you will use as your backdrop.

Step 4 - Buy Reflector Boards

Purchase reflector boards. This will give you the ability to reflect the light in areas that promote a great deal of shadow.

Step 5 - Arrange Props and Tools

Purchase your props. Collect all your props and cools and begin to arrange them within your backdrop. If you are not using the props for particular shoots, put them away in a closet or in a chest.

Step 6 - Setup Lighting

Setup all the lighting necessary for your photo shoot. The lighting will be setup by your camera and alongside your backdrop.  Decide on your main lighting and your background lighting first. They will provide you with the most compliment and contrasts between your background and your subject. If you are shooting real people, you may wish to also setup hair lighting to draw into someone's portrait.

Step 7 - Setup your Screens

Many backdrops today utilize digital technology and can be inserted digitally. Setup your digital or green screen at the backdrop location. Begin to experiment with the different types of backdrops and how they display in combination with different props and lighting effects. Remember, photography is an art form. There is not one specific way in developing a great backdrop to compliment your subjects in your photographs. Try to play around with as many backdrops as possible.

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