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.
HMUA: Carolyn Thombs, Styling: Sharra Greene
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.
Model: Lianne, HMUA: Sara Elizabeth
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.
Model: Victoria, HMUA: Erica Basha
Model: Dani, HMUA: Sara Elizabeth
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
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.