Working with Mocha Seamless Paper

Written by: Travis Curry, Published on: 07 December 2015

Working with Mocha Seamless Paper
Credits: Model: Katie Kranking, MUA: Erica Basha, Hair: Sara Elizabeth

All Photos Courtesy of Travis Curry Photography

I’m always on the lookout for new backdrops that I can use in my studio for shoots. I want to be able to offer my clients a variety of choices besides the typical white, black and grey background options. This is important especially for my headshot clients because I want them to be able to stand out from the typical white background headshot. Last summer I added a few new colors to my backdrop paper and have enjoyed using it for portraits, headshots & fashion work. So for Fall 2014, it was time for me to grab a new backdrop.

At this point I already had a great variety of colors but what I had lacked was the perfect neutral tone. I wanted a backdrop that wouldn’t be too distracting so that my clients were the center of attention in the photo. I also wanted a backdrop that would compliment many types of skin tones and nationalities.

Mocha Seamless Paper

Mocha Seamless Paper HMUA: Carolyn Thombs, Styling: Sharra Greene

I think Mocha is a great option for shooting fashion and accessories because it goes so well with different colors and textures, which is important to focus on the clothes when you’re shooting fashion.

Savage has a ton of really beautiful neutral colors among their selection of 68 different seamless paper options, so I knew I couldn’t go wrong with whatever color I chose. After comparing the different colors and photo galleries on Savage’s website, I went with Mocha Seamless Paper. Mocha was actually my initial color choice but I wanted to make sure that I was making the right decision. Something about it was just right; it wasn’t too light or too dark, the color itself was vibrant but not overpowering and it seemed to be right in the middle of the other neutral tones. I felt like I could manipulate the background the best; make it lighter or darker to suit the needs of each shoot. 

Mocha Seamless PaperModel: Lianne, HMUA: Sara Elizabeth

While photographing Lianne, I tested out lighting that would make the background bright and more orangey in tone but ultimately loved the darker, more moody lighting for a dramatic headshot. One thing I have noticed is that with fair skin and light hair is that you need to be mindful that you’re lighting your subject and background so that they don’t blend in with each other. Mocha brought out the rich undertones in Lianne’s skin and hair.

My first time using Mocha it was love at first sight. I loved how using a skin-toned backdrop added a different element to my work. Honestly I felt like I was shooting on an expensive hand-painted backdrop, it was just that beautiful. After one of my first shoots using Mocha, I asked my HMUA to take a few photos of me before she left the studio because I was just so in love with how Mocha photographed. That shot became my new signature headshot!

In person the roll of Mocha is pretty light; my roll was pretty much spot on with the color swatch online. Depending on how you are lighting your shot, you can get a variety of different looks from one backdrop - and they all look great. With my standard one-light setup the backdrop comes off a little darker; like a dark brown, but I’ve played around and love how versatile this color can be with changes in your studio setup. I haven’t come across an issue with wardrobe or skin tones where anything looks bad. I do a few test shots to play with the lighting and backdrop to see what best suits whomever is in front of my camera. I’ve noticed with my colored backdrops that I have to be very specific when selecting a backdrop; it has to go with the outfit; and sometimes I’ll run into issues with skin tones as well. Mocha (or any neutral background color) is a great alternative to white or black backgrounds.

Mocha Seamless PaperModel: Victoria, HMUA: Erica Basha

Mocha Seamless PaperModel: Dani, HMUA: Sara Elizabeth

Dani is a dance teacher and choreographer and used this shot as one of her audition headshots for an NFL Cheerleading Squad. When I had this set up in my studio she loved it and was excited to shoot with this backdrop. The colors work great with her tan and give her a great glow.

My reaction from my clients and my creative teams has been so positive. One of my HMUA’s often asks me, “Are we using Mocha today?” because she loves it so much! For headshots and personal branding photos, I urge my clients to wear color to bring out their personal style. While many of my reference images have black and white clothes, I have also shot clients with outfits that are purple, green and blue that also look great! I love that the Mocha works with so many different outfit options and color palettes, it’s just so versatile. 

Model: Christian, Grooming: Kelley Small

I love the way Christian photographed with this backdrop; it was one of my first shoots using Mocha, but I really like how it turned out and brought out a warmth in his features.

What I love is that I can leave this backdrop up in my studio for the entire week because I know I will want to use it on every shoot! Mocha has quickly become my go-to backdrop color and I am so happy with my decision to add this color to my studio.

 

About Travis Curry

Travis Curry

Travis Curry is a Professional Photographer who specializes in Fashion, Beauty & Portrait photography. Growing up as a music-loving kid that wanted to be in a boy band & dance in Missy Elliot music videos, Travis has always been drawn to the visual and performing arts. He started his journey as a Photographer in 2008 when he was asked to photograph a wedding with a friend. After falling in love with the art of Photography, Travis used every moment he could get to develop his skills as a Photographer, often photographing many of his performer friends as test subjects. This lead to the true start of his Photography career in 2009. In 2012 Travis began to delve into the world of Fashion Photography and has since grown the commercial side of his business while maintaining his private clients (Headshots + Weddings). Travis is excited to be a Featured Photographer with Savage Universal and hopes to share his creative process and experiences to inspire other photographers! Travis’ work can be seen in publications such as: Jute Magazine, Ellements Magazine, Papercut Magazine, Baltimore Mag, The Baltimore Sun, Washington Blade, Bayside Bride and Glitter Guide. Check out his website here!

  

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