Article and images by Richard Haig
Wow. That sums it up. Too bad I can’t leave a one word review! Savage sent me the 5′ x 7′ Scarlet Painted Canvas Backdrop to test out and give my honest opinion and honestly, I really love it. It’s hard to find a canvas backdrop that is so rich in color and detail that actually adds to a photo instead of detracting from it. In my experience that’s usually the case. They’re either too thin or too washed out. The canvas was shipped to me in a protective tube and once unrolled I noticed the attention to detail and the care taken to craft this backdrop. It’s rolled tightly onto a metal tube with a thin layer of plastic covering the canvas that is easily pulled down once it’s set up on a crossbar. Also easy to put back in place once you re-roll. I’m all about that re-roll – it keeps your forearms like Popeye. Keep in mind you would need a cross bar that is over five feet long so you can comfortably hang the backdrop.
In order to test out the backdrop I decided to shoot some portraits with model and frequent collaborator Valeria. I love shooting single light portraits and this was a perfect opportunity to give the backdrop a whirl. I setup a single strobe reflecting off my white studio ceiling and set a small reflector (white foam board with a stand and clamp) in front of my subject. As far as gear goes I used my Canon 5dm4 along with my Tamron 70-200 2.8 II. For the settings I used F6.3 with a shutter speed of 1/160 and ISO of 100. Here is a quick example of my workflow.
It pays to use someone who can strike a pose! It makes my job that much easier. With my single strobe setup we also don’t get unwanted shadows on the backdrop and we can see the lush texture come through in the images. I really enjoyed how the backdrop draps evenly on the cross bar. It’s also lighter than it looks which makes it easier to transport. Obviously, if you’re hanging this bad boy up I suggest securing it with a clamp on both ends on the cross bar. The canvas is thick and the paint is thick as well. I find this makes a good combination especially if you’re shooting with strobes. It’s not a reflective surface and the richness of the build lend itself to rich photos. Here are a couple edits from the shoot:
This backdrop is perfect for on the go or home studio setups. I shoot portraits mainly from my home studio and the ease of use for this backdrop really helps create some gorgeous photos.
I usually offer clients plain background headshots and this is a welcome addition to the fold. It’s always good to offer your clientele something different even if it may seem out of the ordinary to them. If they decline I suggest throwing in a couple shots with a background like this (Savage makes many!) just to get their reactions. They’ll be vamping for you in no time! Photography really has no bounds and you can shoot anything and everything with this background and can use it for some interesting flat lay photos as well.