If you’re setting up to shoot in a studio (or even a client’s home), photography backdrops are an important piece of equipment.
Seamless paper backdrops are large non-reflective rolls of paper that fit on a stand behind your subject. They can be plain or coloured, and give a smooth, professional look to your photographs.
Seamless paper is often used in portraits, headshots or baby photography, as the colours can be changed to suit your subject. They also allow for a crease-free, flawless background, as any soiled or ripped parts are removed from the roll and fresh paper is then pulled out.
Unlike fabric backdrop cloths, seamless paper doesn’t need washing and ironing every time you want to use it!
What are Seamless Paper Backdrops?
Seamless photography backdrops come in different colours and sizes, so we’ll look at some of the choices available to you. The type you choose will depend very much on the kind of photography you do, and space you have to set up in.
Spectrum Half Paper Backdrops are 1.35m wide x 10m long, and as the name suggests, half the width of traditional paper backdrops.
This means that if you have limited space (such as in a client’s home or small studio), you can still use a seamless paper roll. These backdrops are great for smaller subjects, such as products or newborn and baby photography, and come in 24 colours.
Spectrum Full Paper Backdrops are 2.7m wide and 10m long. The extra width makes them ideal for family portraits, fashion, larger products, group shots, and full-length portraits. These seamless backdrops come in 34 colours. Full paper backdrops are the type seen most often in large, professional photo and video studios.
All our backdrops are made with thick paper (150gsm). This makes them hard-wearing and allows the colours to be vibrant.
Use Heavy-Duty Paper Backdrop Stands
Seamless paper photography backdrops are heavy, so you will need a sturdy backdrop stand to hold them safely. Stands make it easier to unroll your paper without creasing or ripping it, and it is also much easier to roll the paper back up on the stand when you are finished.
Our Spectrum Heavy-Duty Backdrop Stand takes an 8kg load and provides a safe and stable backdrop system. It is adjustable to a huge 3m high and 3.1m wide and will take all our backdrop rolls with ease.
Use Gaffer Tape, Sand Bags, or Backdrop Pegs as Paper Weights
Because paper rolls tend to spool out all over the floor if they’re not held in place, you’ll also need a few extra accessories to make your life much easier with seamless paper!
Our Spectrum Large Backdrop Peg Clamps come in a pack of two, and they are great for clamping on to the top of your paper roll when you’ve unrolled it to the length you need. The clamps will keep the paper firmly in place and stop it from unrolling by itself. You can also use these handy clamps to fix cloth backdrops to a crossbar, or for any other uses, you can find around the studio.
To provide maximum safety for you and your clients, you will want to invest in some sandbags like the Spectrum Heavy-Duty Saddle Sandbag to secure your backdrop stand.
Because paper rolls are heavy, and the stands can be at risk of being knocked over, they need the extra weight of a sandbag on the foot of each stand to stabilise them. Using sandbags with the Spectrum Heavy-Duty Backdrop Stand will give you peace of mind during the shoot, and help you avoid expensive accidents.
Gaffer tape is also an essential tool when you’re working with seamless photography backdrops. Taping the edges of the paper to the floor securely will stop the paper from flying back on to the roll, and protect you and your clients from tripping over the loose edges of the paper.
Pick a Paper Backdrop Colour That’s Right for You
The right backdrop colour is very important in setting the mood and complementing your subject:
- For newborn and baby photography, choose pastel colours or classic white photography backdrops
- Fashion backdrops will depend on the clothes and the feeling that you want to convey. Catalogue and e-commerce fashion tends to be shot on plain white backdrops, but more editorial-type fashion is often done on bright, bold colours, or mid-grey or black, depending on the clothes and mood of the shoot.
- Product shots are again often done on plain white seamless paper, but other popular choices include black, blue, grey or other bold colours.
- Corporate headshots are often shot on white, grey, or black backgrounds
How to Store Paper Backdrops
To keep your Spectrum Full-Sized Paper Range or Spectrum Half-Sized Paper Range seamless paper backdrops in pristine condition, you’ll need to store them upright. This prevents damage and stops ripples and warps in the paper from forming.
Storing them this way also saves space and makes it easier to move them around.
We’ve looked at different sizes and colours of seamless photography backdrops, and the accessories needed to go with them - hopefully, we’ve been of help and explained what you wanted to know about seamless paper.
Here are a few extra handy tips on working with seamless paper photography backdrops:
- Use your backdrop only on a flat, hard surface. If you roll it out on the carpet, for instance, it can crinkle and tear when your subject steps on it.
- Make sure your subject’s shoes are clean before they step on the paper! Footprints can show up in the photos, and take extra time to remove in post-processing.
- If you want to save your paper from damage, consider buying a sheet of clear plexiglass to put on the floor over it. This will protect the paper underneath from dirt and rips and will give your photo a reflective surface.