If you really want to make your photographs pop without spending a fortune, then you should consider investing in a couple of backdrops. However, finding the right backdrop size can be tricky, especially if you don’t know where to begin.
For starters, the standard size of a backdrop is around 8 feet (2.4 meters) wide and 10 feet (3 meters) tall. This backdrop size usually accommodates four people in a single photograph.
But like many things, backdrops come in a multitude of sizes. To make matters even more confusing, some retailers provide custom-sized backdrops for stage plays. So, if you want to learn more about backdrop sizes and their measurements, I invite you to continue reading.
Backdrop Size Options
One of the first things you should know about backdrops is that there is no universal size standard. Backdrops come in various sizes based on the supplier. So, a small-sized backdrop from one company may be more similar to a medium-sized backdrop from another company.
That said, I have compiled the standard backdrop measurements for photography purposes based on size. You can read about my findings in the following chart:
|Backdrop Size||Dimensions (W × H)||Supported Number of People|
|Extra Small||4 × 5 to 5 × 8||1.2 × 1.5 to 1.5 × 2.4||2 children to 1 adult + 1 child|
|Small||5 × 10 to 6 × 8||1.5 × 3 to 1.8 to 2.4||2 adults + 1 child|
|Medium||8 × 10||2.4 × 3||2 adults + 2 children|
|Large||10 × 10 to 10 × 12||3 × 3 to 3 × 3.7||Family of 6|
|Extra Large||10 × 15 to 10 × 20||3 × 4.6 to 3 × 6.1||8 adults|
|XXL||20 × 10 to 20 × 20||6.1 × 3 to 6.1 to 6.1||7 adults to 15 adults|
Which Backdrop Size Should I Get?
There is no universal backdrop that you can use for every situation. Depending on how many people come into your photography studio at once, as well as how many different types of shots they request, you may need to invest in multiple backdrop sizes to cater to every client.
Some people would recommend purchasing a large-sized backdrop as they can support both large and small groups of people per photograph. You can even use large backdrops for headshots, which makes them incredibly versatile and cost-efficient.
So, based on the chart above, it would make more financial sense to purchase a large to extra-large backdrop or the largest backdrop your photography studio can accommodate. It’s easier to crop large backdrops than it is to digitally add backdrops to the background of the final photographs.
Things to Consider When Choosing a Backdrop Size
This section will focus on helping you find the perfect backdrop size for photography purposes. Feel free to follow this guide if you’re on the fence regarding which backdrop size to get.
First and foremost, your decision to invest in a certain backdrop size should be determined by how much space you have in your studio. It would not make sense to invest in a 20 × 20-foot backdrop if the largest wall in your studio only measures 10 × 15 feet.
So, when searching for backdrops, you should have the size of your studio in the back of your mind. That way, you won’t end up purchasing a backdrop that’s too large and be forced to cut it down to size.
Number of People
As a photographer, you will need to find a backdrop that accommodates single and multiple people per shot. So, it would be wise to invest in several backdrop sheets to give your customers the best experience.
However, if you’re shopping on a budget, you should know that larger is better. It is wiser to get a single large backdrop than multiple small ones that you would have to somehow “stitch” together to accommodate multiple people per shot.
Many backdrop suppliers will provide three different types of materials—wrinkle-resistant, matte vinyl, and lightweight canvas. The main difference between them is how easy it is to clean. Wrinkle-resistant backdrops are machine washable, while matte vinyl and lightweight canvas require spot- and dry-cleaning to preserve their sleek surfaces.
Moisture can also affect the overall appearance of the material, so make sure you study each fabric option in-depth to understand the pros and cons of each.
While there are endless color options available, the most commonly used backdrop colors are black, white, and green. Black backdrops offer a more professional look to the photograph, while green allows you to add visual effects prior to printing and publishing.
White seamless backdrops are great for promoting individual products or taking headshots and stock photos.
There are two options here—textured and non-textured. Non-textured backdrops produce a silky-smooth background to your photograph. Textured backdrops, on the other hand, can make it look like the object is anywhere except in the middle of a photography studio.
Bear in mind that textured backdrops have limited uses. Since their textures are stagnant, they may not be useful in a wide number of settings. Smooth backdrops are highly versatile yet a lot blander and unexciting.
Not only do you have to pay attention to the physical size of your backdrop, you should also calculate how much space behind your backdrop you can allocate to stands and hooks.
There are two different mounting options available. Wall hooks are the easiest way to mount your backdrops as they hang directly on walls. You do not need to take into account how much space to leave for clearance behind the backdrop.
X-drop backstands are the polar opposite. However, they only take up about 5 feet of space behind the backdrop, so most large studios can use X-drop backstands without sacrificing too much real square footage in their studios. This type of mounting option is great since the backstand stretches the backdrop to its maximum size, leaving very few wrinkles if any.