Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Savage Seamless Paper and Muslin Backdrops

Those of you who follow me probably know that I got sponsored by Savage Universal a while ago. I've been using their backdrops for a few years now, and I figure now is a good time as any to give a little review/recap on the on this commonly overlooked element in studio photography. 

Fair warning though, not being too much of a technical person, this is going to be more of a how I use the backdrops than how smooth the paper gradients are in response to my light and stuff. :D



1. The Basics

The first backdrops I bought after moving to New York were black, white and gray. 

Regardless of brand, I think those are the best shades to have for a start as they are so versatile -- you can easily do the whole range of commercial, fashion, and moody. Adjusting the toning and lighting in post is also a lot easier with neutral shades than something that has color. 

Some examples with black and grays: 

Factice Magazine #19 cover, on Savage Fashion Gray Seamless Paper
ELLE Vietnam editorial, on Savage Black Seamless Paper
Sarah Dobson, on Savage Thunder Gray Seamless Paper

2. Monsoon Savage Collapsible Backdrop

The first great addition from to my inventory was the Savage Collapsible Backdrops.

I adore shooting portraits and beauty, and with the collapsible backdrops, I can easily accomplish the background set-ups by myself since they fold and unfold like a giant reflector. 

Savage Collapsibles, canvas backdrops, seamless and
Considering how often I do self portraits, small shoots and travel, this has made my life significantly easier. The backdrops are all sized at 5x6' and can be easily clipped onto their accompanying 8' stands.

My most frequently used are the Black/White, Dark/Light Gray, and Monsoon. 

The Black/White and Dark/Light Gray are great for portraits and castings, and as for Monsoon, I've been using it for Motherland Chronicles quite frequently. The shade and design on it is incredibly beautiful to photograph, and adds a painterly touch to a simple image:


MLC #21 - Her Resting Place
MLC #25 - The Raven Girl
MLC #12 - Winterland Fairytales II


3. Black/White Savage Collapsible Backdrop


I probably use this too much but I just like black so much and this makes my life easy. The black is especially handy for when I want a completely dark background that has no light reflection.

Here's a direct comparison between the collapsible backdrop and regular seamless paper:

Black seamless paper vs fabric backdrop.
You can see the collapsible is almost completely black as it absorbs light from the strobe, whereas the seamless paper behind it catches and reflects a bit of light. Of course, with distance the light reflection won't be an issue (and you can even use gray or white to drop it to black) but for my little home studio this helps immensely.
 

MLC #31 - Book of Roses


4. Savage Paper Clip

The Savage Paper Clip is probably my favorite thing ever. It's a storage item that keeps your seamless rolls organized against your wall. 

For a while when I first started buying more backdrops I had difficulties storing everything behind my couch, but thanks to this, I can now keep everything in the little recess right next to my door, making it easy to access while saving space at the same time. 

Plus, I feel so neat every time I walk pass this wall in my room. :D



Each paper clip comes with an adhesive strip for you to stick the clip to the wall, and has slots for 6 rolls. I cut off one on the side to fit it into my a little corner so there's only 5 rolls here. 

But seriously, my favorite thing in my studio inventory.


5. Verona Hand-painted Muslin Backdrop

I also finally ventured into textured backdrops!


Muslin Backdrops: Verona and Dark Gray
After my experience with the Monsoon collapsible I'd been dying to get my hands on some full-length textured backdrops to shoot. Savage was very kind to send me the Verona and Dark Gray muslins.

Here's the Savage Verona Hand-painted Muslin used in "Ea":

MLC #33 - Ea
This is the first time I've worked with a colored backdrop in a long time too. Check out behind the scenes for the shoot here where I talk about my thought process from inspiration to final.


6. Savage Dark Gray Muslin Backdrop

Once started, it's really hard to not want textures in my backdrops for some reason. They so instantly make my pictures poetic :D 

Phuong My Fall/Winter 2013



This was shot with the Savage Dark Gray Washed Muslin Backdrop. Very subtle and adds a different type of dimension from my usual full-black backgrounds. 

I always find it incredible how a little texture goes a long way in images, whether on clothes, backdrops, image as a whole (done in post), etc... So I'm incredibly happy that I finally got to experiment with these. Thank you Savage for giving me to chance to test these out! ❤

And that's it for now, I hope this post has been helpful to who were wondering about the basics I started shooting with, as well as what I use and how these days. Pleas share if you've enjoyed it! Thank you for reading. :D

8 comments :

arhcamt said...

thank you so much for sharing this, jingna! definitely gonna try to find some here. i'm especially intrigued with the collapsible backdrop. i hope i could find it here in jakarta. :D

Pink Like a Peach said...

Thank you for this great post! I've been dying to know more about backdrops you used and you shared some wonderful tip! I am going to look out for the Savage Collapsible Backdrops you mentioned, they seem a lifesaver! :)

Michelle said...

so interesting! I love your "behind-the-scenes" posts. So far in my photography adventures I've mainly relied on outdoor natural light, but this makes me think I should venture into the world of (home) studio photography!

Carlotta Monzani said...

Ok, you made me want to buy pretty all these and even more.. I guess my room is going to look like a studio pretty soon! ^^"

Lovely post! Thank you!

Zhang Jingna said...

@Carlotta: My room definitely looks like a studio storage already! XDDD

flysongbird said...

i need one!desperately..this was a very cool post.

lauramakespictures said...

You just blew my mind with those collapsible backdrops. I had no idea! Wantwantwant.

Beautiful work!

jelly andrews said...

Thanks for sharing such lovely photos. These are really an inspiration to those individuals who love photography. These would surely help them in choosing the backdrops and other stuffs related to it.