10 Handy Tips for Working With Paper Backdrops
There are many benefits to working with paper backdrops. Savage Universal offers the widest range in colour and size. They are so versatile, you can use them for almost any shooting scenario and space.
Many photographers think of paper backdrops as a disposable studio item, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Here are ten handy tips for getting the most out of your Savage paper backdrop:
1. Store in a Dry Space
Moisture is your paper backdrop’s enemy. Paper used or stored in humid conditions could warp, ripple or wrinkle.
2. Store Vertically
Storing your paper rolls standing up vertically will ensure that the paper will not misshape the inner cardboard core by weighing itself down over time, which could result in waves in the paper material. This is particularly important when storing the bigger rolls.
3. Don’t Leave it Hanging
You may think that leaving your paper roll hanging on its stand is a convenient, space-saving way to store it, but this could result in the core sagging in the middle eventually. The paper could then buckle and become uneven.
4. Always Have Some Clamps Handy
A-clamps / pony clamps are essential accessories when it comes to paper backdrops. These rolls can be heavy and thick, so pulling too hard or quickly could result in the roll undesirably unwinding for several meters. Securing a clamp to the top ends of each side of your roll will prevent this accident from happening. Clamps are an inexpensive and indispensable means of securing your backdrops.
5. Keep It Clean
Shoes and feet should be cleaned before walking on the bottom of your paper backdrop. The footprints could end up in your images. You can also place a small rug right at the edge of the paper and ask your models to wipe their feet before they step onto the background. Soft latex-free plastic erasers can be used for removing small smudges, just don’t rub too hard!
6. Only Sweep onto a Hard, Flat Surface
Carpets, grass, any uneven floor texture can crinkle or tear your paper if your model steps onto it after you’ve swept it out. Your paper backdrop should only be rolled out on a hard surface (hardwood floors, concrete.) If, for example, your shooting space is carpeted, you should place a hard surface like a piece of plywood or plexiglass between the paper and the carpet.
7.Tape Your Edges Down
If you’re creating an infinity curve with your paper, remember to tape your edges down once you’ve swept it onto the floor. Gaffer tape is recommended for this as it is designed to not leave a sticky residue when removed. If not secured, the end of the roll could curl and become a tripping hazard on set.
8. Choose the Right Size
9. You May Need an Assistant
Some of the bigger rolls of paper require an extra pair of hands during setup, from sliding it onto the support system to rolling it back up. You could end up dropping or damaging your roll because you’re in a rush and you are handling the backdrops by yourself. If you must work alone, we suggest you work slowly and methodically to ensure no mishaps.
10. Use A Straight Edge and Recycle
When your paper end becomes too scuffed and worn, use a straight edge like a box cutter knife or NT cutter to cut off the end piece. Using scissors will only give you an undesirable and uneven result since the paper is thick and has a curl to it. What to do with excess paper? Instead of throwing your end sheets or off-cuts away, why not recycle them. Savage paper is 100% recyclable.
Need more advice? Here are some tips by acclaimed photographer and educator Joe Edelman on how to make your Savage Paper backdrops last longer:
Joe Edelman is an award-winning advertising and editorial photographer and educator. His work is featured frequently on well-known photography blogs including Fstoppers, Shutterbug, PetaPixel and more. He has been published in magazines such as Cosmopolitan, Shape and Maxim, and worked on assignments for The New York Times and The Los Angeles Times. He is also a sought-after speaker for photography workshops.
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