Paper backdrops are the best backdrops! Okay, we may be a little biased, but they do have some undeniably great advantages. Seamless and printed paper rolls are versatile for most any shooting space, offer almost endless color and design options, and are among the most cost-effective studio backdrop options available.
While paper backgrounds are a popular tool for studio photographers beginner to expert, we wanted to offer some basic tips geared for new users to help make sure you have the best experience with Savage Paper.
We encourage our readers to add your tips and thoughts in the comment section below to help us grow this list!
1. Store in Dry Spaces
Evaluate the environment of your storage and work space for issues with humidity. Paper stored and used in humid conditions will absorb moisture from the air which can form wrinkles and ripples.
2. Store Vertically
The best way to store backdrop rolls is vertically. This position ensures that the roll will not weigh itself down over time, misshaping the inner cardboard core and causing waves in the material, particularly for the heavier, extra-wide rolls.
3. Don’t Leave it Hanging
Don’t leave your backdrop hanging on its stand as storage. This can cause the same effect as leaving it stored horizontally on the ground.
4. Have a Few Clamps Handy
Spring clamps are an important accessory for paper rolls. A full roll of seamless paper is thick and heavy, and if a user pulls it out quickly, the roll may continue to unwind for several extra feet. Secure a clamp to to the top of both ends of a roll to keep it in place and secure. Clamps are an inexpensive tool that can be found at any hardware store.
Remember, paper is recyclable! We recommend recycling your end sheets instead of trashing them. Tip: A box cutter allows for a cleaner edge than a pair of scissors.
6. Clean Your Shoes First!
Clean your feet or think twice about walking across the paper! Footprints can show up in your images, especially with light colored paper.
7. Only Sweep onto a Flat, Hard Surface
Your paper backdrop can crinkle and tear once your model steps foot onto it if it’s swept out onto carpet or uneven flooring. This will cause your backdrop to go from “seamless” to unsightly!
8. Find an Assistant
When handling 9 foot wide rolls, having an extra pair of hands can be very helpful in sliding your backdrop onto a support system, clamping, and rolling it back up evenly.
9. Tape Edges Down on the Floor
If you wish to sweep the paper backdrop out onto the floor, we recommend using gaffer tape around the edges to keep the paper smooth on the floor. If not secured, the end of the roll may curl and become a tripping hazard for your crew when walking across the set. Gaffer Tape is recommended over Duct Tape because its blended resin and natural rubber compound allows for non-transferring adhesion, to deliver a clean removal with no residue.
10. Experiment with Lighting
Colored background paper is a fun canvas for trying out different lighting scenarios. Adjust the color lighter or darker with your positioning, or try out gels to completely change it up every once in a while.
Share your tips for working with paper backdrops with us below!