9 Tips to Using Photography Backdrops

In photography, having a solid background can really elevate your pictures to the next level.

If you happen to have a background that isn’t good, it’s going to be unappealing to the eyes. You may have everything set up perfectly when it comes to the subject of your photo, but the background could be completely off.

With a lot of photos, you may have to set up your own backdrop. A backdrop is basically your own background. It’s something that you can carry around with you and set up almost anywhere.

You can think of it as wallpaper that you carry around and set up to help give you the best possible photos.

Backdrops are typically used inside. Remember the school pictures you would take? The background of those photos was always a backdrop. They helped enhance the photo because nobody wants to see a bunch of books or file cabinets in the background.

Photography Backdrops

photography backdrops

Having a backdrop isn’t going to be enough sometimes. You need to make sure you have a backdrop that will be able to complement your subject.

A picture that has synergy all around is a good picture. From the foreground to the background, if everything flows together, your chances of having a great image are very high.

It may be helpful to understand some composition tips as well to help improve your photos.

When you have a good backdrop, you’re going to be able to tell a story with your photo much easier. The story will be very clear.

If you have a backdrop that doesn’t fit the subject of the photo, the story will get lost. It’s not going to make sense.

Even if you think you have the perfect photo, having one where the story doesn’t make sense will cause the power of the image to fall drastically.

Below you’re going to see tips on how to get the most out of your backdrop so it doesn’t take away from your photo. You’ll be able to see how you can always use your backdrop to your advantage and enhance any photo you use a backdrop with.


Having good lighting in any picture you take is going to be vital.

Yes, you can probably enhance the photo a little bit if you know what you’re doing when it comes to editing. However, if you take the picture with good lighting to begin with, the editing you’ll have to do will be minimal.

If you want to have a good lighting setup then you should use something like the Aputure LS C120d or the Aputure Amaran (a smaller but still very powerful light).

Sometimes it’s even difficult to save a photo with editing. If your picture is too dark, there is nothing you can do to save it to get the type of photo you actually want.

This tip goes for all photos and not just trying to get the most out of your backdrop.

A quality backdrop is something that you know is there, but won’t distract from the overall photo.

Use Proper Positioning

Some backdrops aren’t just plain colors. Some of them have designs and images on them.

If you just so happen to be using these types of backdrops, then positioning is going to be much more important for you.

You’re going to want to make sure that your subject is positioned correctly. Although you aren’t going to want to really have the focus on the backdrop, if there’s something in it that you want to have on display, then you need to make sure that your subject is positioned correctly.

Poor positioning can mean that your overall photo isn’t as cohesive as it could be. This will then take away from the story you’re trying to tell.

The image isn’t going to have as much of an impact as it possibly could just because you’ve placed your subject in the wrong spot.

Angles Angles Angles

Using different angles is something that is going to contribute to the overall composition of your photo.

Yes, having a regular eye-level photo with the subject facing you is going to be nice to see. However, it’s very typical and common.

Now, this might be the type of shot that you want to get. Nothing is wrong with that. If you’re trying to be a little different and have more dynamic shots then you need to try and work with different angles.

Angles allow you to see the backdrop a little differently. Even if your backdrop is a solid color, using a different angle can really take your picture to a different level.

You’re going to have a different perspective. Being able to show people a different perspective is what’s going to allow your photography to become much better.

Blur Background

Having a blurred background is going to be something that you’re more than likely going to always want with your backdrops.

A blurred backdrop is going to allow your subject to pop. There’s going to be a clear separation between the subject and the background.

If you take a photo with your subject and backdrop being perfectly in focus, it’s going to look off.

It may not be wrong to do this, but you aren’t going to have a picture that’s as good as it could be.

To get a blurred background, using the right lenses could help with this significantly or you can adjust the aperture of your camera prior to taking your pictures.

Matte is the Way to Go

When you are looking for a solid backdrop to have for your photographs, having one that is matte may be best for you.

There are shiny backdrops out there that you can choose, but it’s not going to be great for your pictures.

Typically when you’re using a backdrop, you’re going to utilize some form of flash. If you have a backdrop that’s shiny, you’re increasing the possibility of having a ton of glare in your photos.

Glare is something you want to avoid at all costs. It’s going to easily ruin your picture.

Matte backdrops will have minimal to no glare and still allow you to get the type of shots that you want.

Make Sure the Focus is On the Subject

This tip should go without saying. However, for a lot of beginners, this can be a huge problem.

When you’re taking a photo, you may think you have a great picture but when you look back at it later, you realize your subject isn’t even in focus.

This can happen because you might have been rushing the photo.

To eliminate this, you need to really take your time. With how good cameras are nowadays, you should be able to get the focus where you want it.

Just take those extra few seconds to make sure the focus is where you want it to be so that you aren’t disappointed with the outcome later on.

Watch the Small Details

Being aware of the small details in your images can go a long way.

For example, if you have a patterned backdrop, you might want to make sure the patter is on display a little bit. To do this, you have to pay even more attention to the placement of your subject relative to where the patterns fall on the backdrop.

This may not seem like a big deal but when you pay attention to the small details, you can only improve the photo you’re taking.

You’ll never see somebody that pays attention to small details and take a worse photo than if they hadn’t given those small details any attention.

Sometimes it’s the small things that go a long way. This is true, especially in photography.

Make Sure Colors Coordinate

If you have a backdrop that’s colored something other than a very neutral color, you’re going to want to make sure the colors of your subject are coordinated with the backdrop.

You don’t want to be taking a photo of a model that’s wearing a red dress that’s the exact same shade of red as your backdrop. That’s going to make for a very artistic type of photo, but not one you were going for.

There are different ways that you can get your subject and backdrop to coordinate colors.

If your subject is going to be a person, then you can actually talk with them and plan ahead.

If your subject is an object then you can see the type of backdrop you need based on what the object is.

It’s not something that is difficult to do but it is something that might get overlooked in the process of planning your shots with any backdrop.

Have Subject Away from the Backdrop

You don’t want your subject to be too close to the backdrop. When you do this, you’re going to get a shadow.

Although you may want a shadow, it’s not going to be one that will look good.

Having a shadow because your subject is too close shows a lack of depth. Some of the best photos you’ll see are able to convey depth very well.

Your subject doesn’t have to be far away from the backdrop. Just pull the subject a couple feet away and you should be fine.

This will allow you to have some depth without having a weird shadow being cast.

The lack of shadow will also help the viewer’s eyes remain on the subject instead of drifting to the backdrop.

Use Your Backdrop Properly

It doesn’t take very much to get the most out of your backdrop.

When you’re using a backdrop, you know it’s not going to change. This should make your job a lot easier.

If you compare this to when you’re outside, the background can always change. There are so many different variable that you have no control over.

When you have your own backdrop, you are able to control all the variables of the photograph.

This leaves you with a minimal amount of excuses you can actually use.

Follow the tips above and you should be able to get the most out of your backdrops with minimal interference.