Investing in handcrafted backdrops - when is the right time to get the most value?
Feature image by Suze @gourmetglow on a 'Rosehip' hand-painted backdrop
When is the best time to invest in unique, hand-painted and textured photography backdrops?
Our production space is full of hand-painted photography backdrops today so I had a little look at who's ordering them and what kind of trends we're seeing and I have a few insights that might be helpful for you if you're considering commissioning a painted backdrop too.
We have a guide on the different materials and types of backdrops we offer here but if you're already eyeing up a custom-made backdrop - either on solid board or canvas - this article could help you decide when the best time is to invest.
I've had a little nosy at our repeat customers socials and websites and spotted a few recurring themes around when they start ordering hand-painted surfaces in addition to paper and vinyl backdrops.
Here's what I've noticed...
1. They have a consistent look
Our handcrafted photography backdrops seem to (on the whole) go to photographers and brands that shoot in a similar style regularly or have been creating a consistent look for quite a while.
We notice for example that people who love to style with out 'Salt' printed vinyl backdrop also love our 'Salt' and 'Blanc' handcrafted surfaces and the neutral, white still-life canvas because they love that subtle, textured white look.
Once you have worked with a certain colour for a while you get comfortable lighting it and understand how it effects the light and colour of your product or food - meaning your whole process speeds up and gets really slick. And your social feeds look beautifully consistent!
Also, if you know a backdrop is really useable for you and it becomes a staple, then it will definitely be worth the investment to get a similar design with real 3D texture.
The 'Blanc' highly-textural, white hand-painted photography backdrop shot by Suze @gourmetglow
2. Their photography skills are improving and they want to explore more
Beginner photographers tend to stick to easier angles with flatlays being a favourite and one of the great things about shooting flatlays overhead is that it is a flattering angle for all backdrop types. Shooting from above essentially turns the set into a 2D image meaning you can rarely tell if the backdrop is printed or a real, textured surface.
As our skills and confidence grow we want to explore different set ups and angles, bringing their own magic and challenges. What I'm noticing is that when people get a macro lens and want to come in tight on their hero or start using low angles, they also get more adventurous with their backdrops.
And this is the perfect time to be using real texture too because you will catch so much more detail and little pockets of light and shade on hand-painted and real surfaces.
But as I always say - there is no best prop or backdrop, only the best for the shot in hand- for your direction and aims today! All types of backdrops have their place in your collection and different strengths to offer.
3. Their business/budget has grown
This one probably makes me happiest because it means that their hard work is paying off! And for our many repeating customers it means that what they have been creating with our paper and vinyl backdrops has helped them to grow their business or client list - we have been part fo their journey and now they are taking things to the next level, expanding their studios and prop collections to get more options and creativity.
This is the progression I hope for all of our customers - not that they change from using printed backdrops to real, handcrafted backdrops - that they get to the point where all types of backdrops are an option for them.
I know from my own studio and styling work as well as from our varied client base that printed backdrops are always useful and a very valuable part of any prop collection - but sometimes, and if you have the luxury of space to store them, the real thing can be the perfect choice.
I hope you've found these insights useful! We have an offer of 10% off hand-painted board and canvas backdrops until midnight this Sunday 10th July (UK time). Use code TEXTURE10.7