Signs New York

How to Choose the Right Photography Backdrop

how to choose the photography backdrop

When deciding on the perfect backdrop banner for your next big photo shoot, there are many things to consider, such as cost vs. need, getting the correct sizing for that particular job, as well as material — i.e., what the backdrop will be made out of. All of these factors will help you gauge costs and allow you to weigh your cash output vs. the potential benefits.

Some of these benefits are aesthetic, meaning your photo backdrop looks attractive in images. Others are more practical, such as how long your backdrop will last, under what conditions it will hold up, and how portable it is.

how to choose the photography backdrop


Why use Photography Backdrops?

  • They make your photos “pop” – by placing a background in front of your subject, you help ensure they are — and will remain — the center of attention.
  • Accentuate lighting – the right backdrop allows just the right amount of substrate for light effects to play off of — and perhaps more importantly, vinyl backdrops don’t reflect flash bulbs (more on that later)!
  • Masks flaws in paint, wall, etc. – while you could theoretically touch up photos in post-production, that doesn’t really make sense when a simple backdrop banner is all you need to make your photos flawless from the get-go.

3 Points to Consider Choosing Your Next Backdrop Display

Square One

Like any project, the best, most logical place to start is at the beginning. While this may seem obvious, it’s important not to get ahead of yourself and, in the process, not getting what you need. Having a plan of attack will allow you to stay focused on the big picture.

It’s easy to get intimidated by the array of choices. Photography backdrops come in such a wide variety of styles, shapes, materials and sizes that one can easily find themselves lost in the weeds. Since no one has the luxury of trying out their entire stock of backdrops during a photo session, mastering the art of choosing the right one is a professional necessity for the up-and-coming shutterbug. That’s why in this blog we’ll show you the basics of how to score the best background for your needs.

Don’t Overwhelm the Subject

Just as bridesmaids should never overshadow the bride at a wedding, your backdrop should never outshine your subject. Whether that subject is a product, fashion model, family or student sitting for a portrait or school photo, you’ll want to complement what should be the focus of your work rather than detract from it.

Material: Vinyl vs Fabric

vinyl backdrop for photography


For traditional portraits, as well as most photos, vinyl is normally considered the go-to for a great background. The leading sign industry experts use polyvinyl chloride as it is great for print and easy installation and an attractive display that looks great.

Benefits of Vinyl

  • Looks Great – vinyl offers the most bang for the buck when it comes to appearing attractive for a budget-friendly price.
  • Hangs Flat – the greatest thing about vinyl is that it naturally stays flat to achieve the appropriate optical illusion of a bookshelf, nature scene solid colors, etc.
  • Consistent Look – vinyl does not react to light as quickly as many textiles, such as cotton, as it fades from light — including sunlight — at a much slower rate.
  • Portable – even though vinyl graphics offer the look of a permanent installation, they roll up fast for on-the-go photographers. Signs NYC can even offer you special carrying cases or duffel bags for smaller standalone banner stands.
  • Holds up well after transport – vinyl is not only one of the most affordable mediums, but it is also surprisingly durable. With proper care and maintenance, your photo backdrop will last through months or even years of intensive use.
  • Won’t Reflect Flashes – there is nothing less professional than a photographer whose backdrop reflects artificial light sources. Look like a pro with vinyl backdrops from Signs NYC!


Fabric – fabric is considered a specialty item. Fabric, usually muslin cloth, is a premium material for draped shadows creating the perfect romantic, intimate scene. If this is the case, please contact the Signs NYC team to learn more.

Standard or Custom Size for Backdrop

  • 8×8, 8×10, and 10×10 ft. are our most popular dimensions. We can also go full custom.
  • Custom Sizes – if you need a larger size, smaller size, or anywhere in between, we can easily print made-to-order sizes — and even custom shapes.

PRO TIP: When choosing a size it is also important to know the size of your venue. Ask about Signs NY site measuring services, available in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Pennsylvania.

  • Custom Shapes — if you need a more unusual shape, such as a round “backdrop disc” — then look no further. We can print any graphic to your own specs.

Background Options

  • Solid Colors – clean and sleek, these are used as a neutral background for headshots (commonly known as an 8×10, meaning that it is 8×10 inches) for show business resumes or merely as a portrait meant for display in a loved one’s home.
  • White Seamless – also useful for headshots, a white seamless backdrop offers a cleaner, less distracting look, especially if the subject is wearing dark clothing, or is a dark colored product such as a chocolate bar.
  • Black – are you doing a photo shoot for Hershey’s new white chocolate bar? Then black is the perfect backdrop for your subject. It is likewise a great way to accent a bridal portrait for a wedding.
  • Green Screen – if you want to take advantage of digital special effects, then turn your studio into any location. From the Grand Canyon to the Sydney Opera House, place your subjects anywhere by simply deploying this dynamic technology.
  • Textured – for a different, more classic look, many go for textured. This can be great for period photos that attempt to portray a different time.

Mounting Options

mounting backdrop options


  • Wall Hooks – perfect for smaller and lighter backdrops
  • X-Banner Stand – this is the workhorse of the roving photographer — or one with a small studio.
  • Backdrop Support System – this is for larger professional photography studios. It consists of a 3-section crossbar and two light stands.

Signs NYC is a leading signs and graphics printing company from New York City. We’ve specialized in step and repeat and photography backdrops for more than three decades. Our products have been seen everywhere, from red carpets to the showroom down the street.

We have the knowledge, tools, and experience to collaborate with you on the graphic designs, prints and installation of your dream. For those of you with a more DIY mindset, we can even offer you instructions and helpful tips of the best ways to both measures a space and execute a photo backdrop on-site with no headaches.

To learn more about backdrop banners or any original commercial signage, feel free to contact Signs NYC by emailing sales(at) — or get ahead and get started by requesting a free quote anytime.

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