Product Photography, Part 1: Choosing Backdrops

Choosing a backdrop is the first step in product photography. Pairing a product with the right background is crucial when trying to convince shoppers to make a purchase.

This post is the first in a series aimed at helping merchants take better product photos. I’ll cover beginner theory, advanced tactics, editing strategies, and more. All will help elevate the presentation of your products and thus increase conversions.

Photography Backdrops

Seamless paper backgrounds are cheap and relatively efficient for almost any product. Seamless paper provides large, smooth, non-reflecting surfaces. Rolls can be re-used partially or fully and come in various colors, costing from $25 to $250 per roll.

A versatile seamless paper option is Savage’s 01 Super White. Depending on its width and length, one roll ranges from roughly $20 to $230. The paper is durable, with a density of 163 gsm (grams per square meter). It comes in 93 colors, such as #12 Studio Grey, #20 Black, and #71 Deep Yellow.

A roll of Savage’s 01 Super White paper ranges from roughly $20 to $230. The paper is durable, with a density of 163 gsm. Image: SavageInternational.com.

A lower-priced option is Pacon’s Fadeless construction paper. Michael’s, the hobby retailer, sells a 48 in. x 12 in. roll for about $10. However, larger products such as furniture will require a bigger size. Stick with Savage if your items are oversized.

Canvas backdrops are best for durability. Canvas is tough, long-lasting, and cost-effective. However, it’s prone to wrinkling and therefore not suitable for most product shoots — only those in context.

Westcott’s X-Drop line of canvas backdrops is my favorite. The price starts at approximately $100. The line includes an impressive range of wood plank options that are handy for shooting against a realistic wooden backdrop.

Photo of three types of canvas backdrops that resemble wood from

Westcott’s X-Drop line of canvas backdrops starts at roughly $100. It includes wood plank options that are handy for shooting against a realistic wooden backdrop. Image: FJWestcott.com.

Studio Dynamics offers quality solid-color canvas backdrops. Although at prices ranging from $179 to $549 (depending on size), they are more expensive than Wescott’s choices.

Muslin backdrops are nearly as popular as paper due to their superior durability and resistance to tearing. They’re even washable. Muslin provides a soft white background that’s clear and uncluttered.

LimoStudio offers the best muslin backgrounds, but finding them in white can be difficult.  However, Issuntex’s 6 ft. x 9 ft. white muslin backdrop is available on Amazon for about $20 — a  good choice for a good price.

Photo from Amazon of an Issuntex white muslin backdrop

Issuntex’s 6 ft. x 9 ft. white muslin backdrop is available on Amazon for about $20. Image: Amazon.

Green screen backdrops. Almost every product photographer needs to shoot against a green screen occasionally. And green-screen post-production is much easier when the backdrop has no wrinkles. That’s why I use Westcott’s Wrinkle-Resistant Chroma Key backdrop. It’s pricey at about $80. But it’s non-reflective and ideal for photos and videos. Plus, it’s machine washable and made from heavy-duty fabric.

Image of a vertical green screen backdrop supported by a frame

Westcott’s Wrinkle-Resistant Chroma Key backdrop is non-reflective and ideal for photos and videos. Plus, it’s machine washable and made from heavy-duty fabric. Image: FJWestcott.com.

Sell More Products

The right backdrop can make or break product photos. Use the same background for all of your items to ensure a clean, consistent layout while also adding that touch of professionalism that consumers love. Invest in one of the backdrops above. You’ll sell more products.

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