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Make Moods with Your Muslin

Muslin backgrounds have stood the test of time across photography studios for decades. These traditional painted cloth backdrops may not be the first look that comes to mind when creating a mood board for your next studio editorial or fashion photo shoot if you’re immediately brought back to your family’s cringe-worthy 1990’s annual studio portrait sessions… but we challenge you to take pause, think back a bit farther in time to an era of Victorian elegance and dramaticism for styling inspiration!

These classic photo backdrops are a great alternative to costly custom canvas pieces when looking for an Old World style set. Photographer Mike McGee showcases below how to add a moody vibe to these classic backgrounds with vintage wardrobe, romantic draping and dark artistic image editing.

Elevate Your Elegant Portraits

Dark earthtone background colors like stone grays, rich browns and deep reds add drama and weight to your subject’s environment. Artistic paint strokes create subtle patterning to build interest but not distract from your subject. The heavy, rugged cloth helps create a romantic vibe when draped and pulled. Pair with a vintage prop like an old, wooden chair or antique desk to turn your set back in time.

Artistic Post Editing

Putting extra focus on creative post-processing is an important finishing touch to delivering a vintage and Old World styled portrait gallery. Take advantage of split toning to manipulate your shadows and highlights to fit a vintage look. Try muting the colors by decreasing the saturation, or even adding a subtle vignette to the image to really draw attention to the subject.

Tell the story of your subject with charm, elegance and sophistication. Look to the past for your future creative studio portrait shoot with Savage crushed, washed and hand painted muslin backgrounds.

Mike McGee

mike mcgee photographyMike McGee is an award-winning Oakland-based photographer who initially began shooting landscapes, but now focuses entirely on capturing the beauty of people in a variety of settings through his company Mike McGee Photography. Mike is a published photographer signed with RAE modeling agency in San Francisco, and is a member of the Nikon Professional Services group. His years of experience in photography have allowed him to focus on every stage of creating the perfect image. This includes both in-studio and natural-light photography, as well as digital-postproduction and retouching. Mike enjoys shooting various styles of photography such as beauty, fashion, editorial, portraits, glamour, and headshots, in order to create the perfect image tailored to the needs of each individual or client.

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