I have a small photo studio and I struggle almost every time to make something more of the background. It can be a different paper roll, or a combination of two. Or some props, or maybe just shadows.
In my Facebook feed another photographer told me about a company called Gravity Backdrops that made affordable and hand painted canvas backgrounds. After visiting their page I thought about if that could be a welcome addition to my studio.
Unique and lots of looks
As the product is hand made, it might not look exactly as in the photos, but that is a good thing, I think. Your backdrop will be unique.
Size and price?
I live and work in Sweden, and from what I understand, Gravity Backdrops are located in Serbia, so shipping would be a cost to take into account. Fortunately, they had a few promotions where the shipping was free if you bought three backdrops.
To be precise, the offer I went for was buy two, get one more for free including shipping. That was for their standard size.
In the top photo of this post, you can see the size of it. 1,6 x 2,5 meter is the measurements for the standard size. For three of those I paid approx. 700 Euros.
I chose this size because I have a small studio, but in hindsight, the larger model would not have been too large. Standard size works perfectly well for single portraits, but as you can see in the top photo, have more than one person in front of it can be tight.
Which colour to pick?
I thought a lot about which colours that might be the most useful ones for portraits, and came up with this list:
- Cold Grey
- Dark Red
After using them for a couple of months, I still think I made a good choice with these. The grey is perfect as a neutral but organic background, and can easily be changed into different hues just by using a colour gel on my studio lights.
The blue one is more special, but blue works well with skin tones and can be adjusted later in Photoshop or Lightroom. Red is maybe the wildest choice here, but can be nice sometimes.
The useful canvas backside
I have also used the back of the backdrops a few times, and they can be nice if you want something looking a bit like a concrete wall. For this use I think grey is the best, I tried it once with the red but it didn’t look as good. Mostly because the red parts seeping through looked more like there was something wrong with the compression of the image than something else.
Am I a satified customer?
Yes, I am.
Even though ordering through Facebook Messenger and paying to just a name on Paypal was a bit scary, everything worked out just perfect. One or two of the colours I ordered they didn’t have in stock, but in a few days they had produced the backdrops for me.
During the whole process they communicated on Messenger and one day I got a long tube delivered with the three backdrops.
If I could make a suggestion, it would be for them to work a bit on the e-commerce. Selling and communicating through Facebook obviously works fine, but a good web shop would be better, I think.
And maybe to ship the backdrops on separate cardboard tubes? After I unwrapped and rolled out the three backdrops I had to figure out a way to store the other two.
The diameter of the tube fits the telescopic background boom that I have, so if I had three tubes it would be easier to work with them. In a hardware store I found plastic plumbing tubes with the right diameter, but it took a while to find the right ones.
If you want a more living background for you studio portraits, I can recommend Gravity Backdrops for that. Not as cheap as paper backgrounds of course, but more interesting. Think a bit about how much you are going to fit in front of it. If I would have bought them today, I would probably have picked at least one larger size for the times when you have two or more people in the same photo.
Other than that, I think it is 700 Euros very well spent.