Those of you who follow me probably know that I got sponsored by Savage Universal a while ago. I've been using their backdrops for a few years now, and I figure now is a good time as any to give a little review/recap on the on this commonly overlooked element in studio photography.
Fair warning though, not being too much of a technical person, this is going to be more of a how I use the backdrops than how smooth the paper gradients are in response to my light and stuff. :D
1. The Basics
The first backdrops I bought after moving to New York were black, white and gray.
Regardless of brand, I think those are the best shades to have for a start as they are so versatile -- you can easily do the whole range of commercial, fashion, and moody. Adjusting the toning and lighting in post is also a lot easier with neutral shades than something that has color.
Some examples with black and grays:
|Factice Magazine #19 cover, on Savage Fashion Gray Seamless Paper|
|ELLE Vietnam editorial, on Savage Black Seamless Paper|
|Sarah Dobson, on Savage Thunder Gray Seamless Paper|
2. Monsoon Savage Collapsible Backdrop
I adore shooting portraits and beauty, and with the collapsible backdrops, I can easily accomplish the background set-ups by myself since they fold and unfold like a giant reflector.
|Savage Collapsibles, canvas backdrops, seamless and paper clips|
Considering how often I do self portraits, small shoots and travel, this has made my life significantly easier. The backdrops are all sized at 5x6' and can be easily clipped onto their accompanying 8' stands.
The Black/White and Dark/Light Gray are great for portraits and castings, and as for Monsoon, I've been using it for Motherland Chronicles quite frequently. The shade and design on it is incredibly beautiful to photograph, and adds a painterly touch to a simple image:
|MLC #21 - Her Resting Place|
|MLC #25 - The Raven Girl|
|MLC #12 - Winterland Fairytales II|
3. Black/White Savage Collapsible Backdrop
I probably use the Black/White Collapsible way too much, but I love shooting on black so much and this makes my life so easy.
The black is especially handy for when I want a completely dark background that has no light reflection.
Here's a direct comparison between the collapsible backdrop and regular seamless paper:
|Black seamless paper vs fabric backdrop.|
You can see the collapsible is almost completely black as it absorbs light from the strobe, whereas the seamless paper behind it catches and reflects a bit of light. Of course, with distance the light reflection won't be an issue (and you can even use gray or white to drop it to black) but for my little home studio this helps immensely.
|MLC #31 - Book of Roses|
4. Savage Paper Clip
The Savage Paper Clip is probably my favorite thing ever. It's a storage item that keeps your seamless rolls organized against your wall.
For a while when I first started buying more backdrops I had difficulties storing everything behind my couch, but thanks to this, I can now keep everything in the little recess right next to my door, making it easy to access while saving space at the same time.
Plus, I feel so neat every time I walk pass this wall in my room. :D
|Seamless rolls clipped onto Savage Paper Clip|
Each paper clip comes with an adhesive strip for you to stick the clip to the wall, and has slots for 6 rolls. I cut off one on the side to fit it into my a little corner so there's only 5 rolls here.
But seriously, my favorite thing in my studio inventory.
I also finally ventured into textured backdrops!
|Muslin Backdrops: Verona and Dark Gray|
After my experience with the Monsoon collapsible I'd been dying to get my hands on some full-length textured backdrops to shoot. Savage was very kind to send me the Verona and Dark Gray muslins.
Here's the Savage Verona Hand-painted Muslin used in "Ea":
6. Savage Dark Gray Muslin Backdrop
Once started, it's really hard to not want textures in my backdrops for some reason. They so instantly make my pictures poetic :D
|Phuong My Fall/Winter 2013|
This was shot with the Savage Dark Gray Washed Muslin Backdrop. Very subtle and adds a different type of dimension from my usual full-black backgrounds.
I always find it incredible how a little texture goes a long way in images, whether on clothes, backdrops, image as a whole (done in post), etc... So I'm incredibly happy that I finally got to experiment with these. Thank you Savage for giving me to chance to test these out! ❤
And that's it for now, I hope this post has been helpful to who were wondering about the basics I started shooting with, as well as what I use and how these days. Pleas share if you've enjoyed it! Thank you for reading. :D
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