14 Backdrops and Props to Use Shooting Portraits

December 19, 2019

By Greg Scoblete

ClickProps CAPOW

Size: 9 x 18 feet
Materials: Vary 
Care: Varies by item in kit

Special Features: This portrait kit includes everything you need to recreate an epic superhero scene in your studio. It contains a pair of backdrops, nine licensed adult costumes, 25 licensed children costumes and a slew of accessories including Captain America’s shield, Wonder Woman’s shield, sword and Rope of Truth, rubble, rocks, broken chains and Photoshop layers and actions to help you bring it all together in post. Beyond the props, the set comes with exclusive rights—no competitor can sell the CAPOW portrait look within 50 miles of you or within a population of 200,000.

Price: $6,500

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Savage Universal Backdrop Travel Kit

Size: 5 x 7 feet (backdrop) 
Weight: 2 pounds (backdrop only)
Materials: Wrinkle-resistant polyester backdrop, aluminum stand
Care: Machine wash with light detergent, tumble dry

Special Features: The kit includes a one-piece stand that folds out and locks into place so you’re not fiddling with loose pieces. The included black background is made from a wrinkle-proof polyester and connects to the stand using hooks that pull it taut. A carrying case is also included. There are a number of different backgrounds that can be used with the kit, including slightly longer 5 x 9 foot drops that cover a portion of the floor as well.

Price: $100

FJ Westcott Rustic Latte

Sizes: 3.5 x 3.5 or 5 x 7 feet
Materials: Matte vinyl or canvas
Care: Hand wash 

Special Features: Designed for Westcott’s portable X-Drop backdrop system, the Rustic Latte includes the grommets you’ll need to affix it to the X-Drop stand (not included). The Latte can act as either a backdrop or a floor drop.

Prices: $65 (3.5 x 3.5), $90 (5 x 7) 

Denny Manufacturing Carnival Bokeh Backdrop

Sizes: 3 x 3 to 20 x 10 feet, depending on material
Materials: Freedom Cloth (polyester fabric), canvas, Twist Flex (cloth), Color Pops (print poly paper), print matte
Care: Varies by material

Special Features: For many of us, carnivals evoke lazy, hazy summer nights spent losing dollar after dollar on impossible ring toss games and nearly losing our funnel cake on the Tilt-a-Whirl. Denny’s Carnival Bokeh backdrop gives you all of the nostalgia with none of the nausea in a backdrop that’s sold in a wide array of materials. Opt for the Freedom Cloth if you need a wrinkle-free drop that’s washer and dryer safe, and the Twist Flex option if you require a portable backdrop. 

Prices: starting at $30

The Coolest Studio and On-Location Photo Accessories and Backdrops

The Blueberry Hill Ella Unicorn Hat

Sizes: Extra small, small and medium
Material: 100 percent acrylic yarn
Care: Machine wash gentle

Special Features: Maybe unicorns don’t exist, but these hand-knit hats may be the next best thing. There are several options to choose from including a pink hat with a multi-colored mane, a pink hat with a white mane, a white hat with a silver horn, a white hat with a gold horn and finally a white hat with a mustard-yellow horn. 

Price: $20

Photopie Backdrops Silence in the Library

Sizes: 4 x 4 to 10 x 20 feet, depending
on material
Materials: Prisma, Jersey, Inspira
Care: Steam (Prisma); occasional steaming (Inspira); no steam (Jersey)

Special Features: All versions of this evocative backdrop feature a glare-free surface and include a 3-inch pole pocket for mounting. 

Prices: starting at $57

Photo Prop Floors and Backdrops JRP 33

Sizes: 30 x 40 inches to 10 x 20 feet, depending on material
Materials: Fleece, sweatshirt, polyester, poly paper, vinyl, floormat
Care: Dry on low heat (fleece, sweatshirt, polyester); spot wash with warm water (vinyl)

Special Features: The whimsical, if esoterically named, JRP 33 backdrop can be found in a variety of sizes and styles. The fleece backdrop has a polyester base and is wrinkle and glare free. The sweatshirt fabric is also wrinkle and glare free and can be hung to a backdrop stand via clamps. The polyester fabric features a 2-inch pole pocket on the shorter side of the design. Its matte finish is glare free. The poly paper (which isn’t technically paper) is tear resistant but can be scuffed or scratched if not handled carefully. The company’s vinyl backdrops are waterproof and smear resistant. 

Prices: starting at $89

Photo-Finishing Products for Photographers

Backgrounds by Maheu Sage  

Sizes: 4.5 x 6 to 12 x 24 feet (Canvas); 7 x 8 to 16 x 24 feet (Muslin)
Materials: Canvas or muslin
Care: Machine wash cool, air dry (muslin); hand wash (canvas)

Special Features: The elegant and understated Sage backdrop is sold in a wide number of lengths for studios of all sizes. 

Prices: starting at $175

Photography Backdrop Club Nola Marsh 

Size: 3.3 x 4.9 feet with custom sizes available upon request
Material: Canvas
Care: Spot clean

Special Features: Reproduced from a hand-painted design on a heavyweight, matte canvas, this backdrop is ideally sized for headshots. It’s glare free and wrinkle resistant, provided you store it carefully. It can be stored in the tube it’s delivered in. 

Price: $77

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Drop It Modern Azteca   

Sizes: 2.3 x 10 feet to 4.3 x 10 feet, depending on material, with custom sizes upon request
Materials: Matte, pearl, premium matte, vinyl, glitter
Care: Spot clean

Special Features: Popular with many photographers, these Drop It Modern wallpapers are often repurposed for backdrop duty. The matte paper is scratch resistant with a true white output. Premium matte is constructed from a nylon-enforced paper with a bright white finish that Drop It says is “completely void” of luster. It’s also tear and fade resistant. The pearl paper has a metallic matte coating with a pearl-like finish. The vinyl version of the paper features matte embossing on the printable side and has a low gloss matte, bright white finish. The Azteca design is available in a variety of colors. 

Prices: starting at $125 

Photobooth Supply Co. Riptide Mermaid

Size: 8.5 x 8.8 feet
Materials: Fabric and sequin
Care: Spot wash

Special Features: This unique backdrop features double-sided sequins (green and silver) that can be freely arranged and rearranged just by dragging your fingers over it. Once moved, the sequins stay in place, allowing you to create patterns, shapes or words. There are a pair of 4-inch hanging hoops at the top and bottom, and the reflection off the sequins will differ depending on which end you hang on top. 

Price: $199

Gravity Backdrops Warm Grey

Size: 9.2 x 9.8 feet
Material: Muslin
Care: Spot wash

Special Features: Unlike many backdrops that are sold in a multitude of sizes, shapes and fabric types, this Gravity Backdrop is more or less a one-of-a-kind. It’s hand-painted, so you’ll enjoy a subtly unique version with every purchase. 

Price: $725

Superior Specialties Art Masters Retro

Size: 10 x 12 feet
Material: Muslin
Care: Machine wash cool, air dry

Special Features: You’ll find a 6-inch pocket plus metal grommets for hanging this psilocybin-inspired photo backdrop.  

Price: tbd

Fotodiox Triple Background Support Kit 

If you’re frequently cycling through backdrops, Fotodiox’s Triple Background kit can help you efficiently switch between them. The kit includes crossbars, brackets and a stand to accommodate three backdrops at a time. 

Price: $155