10 Types of Studio Photography Backdrops and When to Use Them

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Photography backdrops are great tools for enhancing your images and showcasing your photography skills. However, some backdrops work better than others depending on the subject or the composition you’re working on. If you’re a new photographer or perhaps not as well-versed in using backdrops, it can be challenging to choose the one that best suits your needs.

So, in this article, we’ll be having a look at 10 types of backdrops most frequently used in a reputable photography studio London-based photographers love to rent. We’ll also dive into their specific use cases. So that you can incorporate the backdrops into your compositions in the most effective way.

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studio photography backdrop

Seamless Paper

A seamless paper backdrop is simply a large roll of heavy-duty paper. These can come in various widths and colours. This type of backdrop is known for its smooth, uniform appearance. The uniformity helps eliminate distractions to create a polished, professional look in photographs.

Thanks to their versatility and ease of use, seamless paper backdrops are commonly used in portrait photography, fashion photography, and product photography.


Muslin is a lightweight plain-weave cotton fabric. It comes in various colours and are often hand-dyed or painted for custom designs. As a photography backdrop, muslin cloth is popular among photographers for its versatility. It has the ability to create unique, artistic backgrounds. Plus, its soft, draping quality allows you to create flowing and organic-looking backdrops.

As such, muslin backdrops are perfect for newborn and baby photography, theatrical or themed shoots, and elaborate set designs or fantasy scenes.


As their name suggests, canvas backdrops are made from a durable canvas fabric that is similar to the material used for painting. They have a textured surface that brings depth and visual interest to compositions, adding character and richness to photographs. Additionally, canvas backdrops can be painted or distressed to create custom designs or effects, allowing for endless creative possibilities. That’s why this type of photography backdrop is best used for vintage-themed shoots, high-end commercial photography, and compositions that require rustic or industrial-inspired backgrounds.


Much like the fabric itself, cotton backdrops are known for their softness and versatility. They’re also quite easy to work with and can be draped or styled in various ways to achieve different looks. Their soft, tactile quality adds a sense of comfort to photographs. Thus, cotton backdrops are ideal for clients who want to capture intimate moments or create a relaxed atmosphere in their photos. Examples of these compositions include maternity photoshoots, couples photoshoots, and lifestyle photography.


Vinyl backdrops are made from durable, water-resistant PVC material that can be easily cleaned, making them ideal for messy or high-traffic studio environments. They also come in a wide range of colours and patterns, and can have either a smooth, matte, or glossy finish. Their sleek and polished look makes vinyl backdrops perfect for showcasing products and creating clean, contemporary compositions. They’re typically used in product photography, food photography, tabletop photography, and studio photography.


Velour backdrops are made of a plush velvet fabric with a soft, luxurious texture. They have a matte finish that absorbs light and minimises reflections, allowing photographers to control the intensity and direction of light for dramatic effects. Thanks to these features, velour backdrops add a sense of sophistication and glamour to photographs.

Due to their elegant appearance and ability to create dramatic lighting effects, velour backdrops are ideal for photographs that call for intimate or romantic settings, as well as theatrical or themed shoots.

Rubber Floor Mats

Although rubber floor mats are typically used for gym flooring or industrial purposes, they have found their place in photography as unconventional backdrops. These mats are thick, durable, and come in various colours and designs, with either smooth, textured, or patterned surfaces. Their rugged texture and industrial aesthetic add an unconventional element to photographs. Additionally, their durability and resistance to wear make them suitable for use in challenging environments or outdoor locations.

Rubber floor mats make excellent backdrops for avant-garde or urban-themed shoots, experimental photography, and photos that require an edgy backdrop.


Microfibre backdrops are made from ultra-fine synthetic fibres that are densely woven to create a soft, velvety texture. These backdrops typically have a matte finish that diffuses light evenly across the surface, resulting in smooth and consistent backgrounds. Their features add a touch of luxury and sophistication to photographs, making them ideal for capturing intimate portraits or creating serene and tranquil settings. Moreover, microfiber backdrops are lightweight, wrinkle-resistant, and easy to transport, so they’re often used for on-location shoots.

Stretch Knit      

Made from elastic fabrics, stretch knit backdrops can be stretched taut to create a seamless background. They come in various colours and textures, as well as mottled patterns and gradient blends. Stretch knit backdrops are versatile and easy to work with. This makes them popular among photographers who need to create smooth and wrinkle-free backgrounds.

Thanks to their ability to ensure a clean and professional look in photographs, stretch knit backdrops are often used in portrait photography, maternity photography, and fashion photography. They’re also suitable for creating contemporary and abstract backgrounds.

Chroma Key

Chroma key backdrops are solid-coloured backdrops used for background replacement during post-processing. They’re typically made from fabric or paper. And they come in bright green or blue. Chroma key backdrops allow photographers to shoot subjects against a uniform background. They can then replace it with digitally generated backgrounds or images. Thus, this type of backdrop is best used for video production, special effects photography, green screen photography, and composite image creation.


Whether you’re a veteran in the industry or someone who’s just getting into photography, knowing the tools that are at your disposal can improve your composition process and enhance your photos. By familiarising yourself with these studio photography backdrops, you’ll know which backgrounds to choose so that you can make the most of your time in the studio.

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