Muslin, canvas, and even virtual backgrounds created entirely from your imagination and your computer can help turn a typical portrait into an eye-catching keepsake.
For additional visual interest, add a special prop or clothing to make your photographs even more compelling.
Read on for some of today's most popular products from 3-D and digital backdrop and prop manufacturers—along with testimonials from photographers who know the value of tapping into the rich selection of creative options available for various project budgets.
American Photographic Resources
Someday her prince may come—albeit in the form of a reptilian prop. The new Frog Prince from American Photographic Resources is crafted of lightweight resin and arrives complete with royal pillow and crown, to add a little bit of fairy-tale fantasy to your portraits.
“Our studio wants to focus on creating images without the burden of researching the latest props, backgrounds, and add-on sale items. APR has simplified our lives by keeping us attuned to what's new and helping us grow our business and expand our creativity at an economical price. For example, we created a Frog Prince Fairy Tale set using APR’s mushrooms, plexiglass, sugarplum outfits, stumps, and Frog Prince. Adored by our clients, this set has been a tremendous success, generating additional demand for our photographic services. When we use APR’s props and backgrounds, we know they will last, they’re easy to set up, and we will love how the colors scream through in our images. APR always provides us with great products, prices, and service. They've truly been a key part of our success!”—Jodi Hartman
Remember Me Photography
Roanoke, TX Backdrop Outlet
Backdrop Outlet has released its new Abstract Muslins, offering patterns and textures to help you create a unique look for nearly any image. The bold textures and color combinations of the Abstract Muslins give a contemporary impression that’s ideal for senior and student portraits, among others. The muslins are available in 10x20-foot sizes for all of your photographic needs.
Backgrounds by Cole
Specializing in custom scenic backgrounds, Backgrounds by Cole has announced its Blocks and Leaf background, painted on 10x10-foot muslin and available in a variety of color schemes. The company also features a large selection of scenic and cloudscape backgrounds on canvas and muslin.
“We have been very pleased with the friendly and professional service we've gotten from Backgrounds by Cole. We love their variety, both traditional and contemporary, and how they work with us to create any special background we need. Plus, they’re economically priced and deliver on time.”—RJ & Joyce Harwick R. J. Harwick Photography, Emmaus, PA
Backgrounds by Maheu
Backgrounds by Maheu introduces its Signature designs and Abstract Scenic series. Inspired by artists such as Monet, Turner, and Gainsborough, these backgrounds lend a fine-art look to your portraits. Each background is custom-painted to the specifications of the photographer, incorporating his or her signature style.
Digital Anarchy’s Backdrop Designer is a Photoshop plug-in that creates resolution-independent digital backdrops that simulate muslin drapery and other fabrics. Backdrop Designer 1.1 currently ships 900+ pre-made, combinable backdrops. An October 1 release of version 1.2 will give existing users a new package of backdrop presets. The 250 new presets include Old Masters patterns, Impressionist painterly effects, and Velvet drapery folds. Version 2.0 of Backdrop Designer is planned for Q4 2006.
"Backdrop Designer allows tremendous flexibility and creativity. Clients don’t have to make a decision during the shoot regarding the backdrop they feel will complement the photos, and I don’t have to carry around dozens of muslins. We can tweak the backdrop color afterward to match the client’s décor or mat choice in our framing process." —Diane McCormick McCardinal Photo, Boston, MA
Variety is the name of the game at FJ Westcott, which offers muslin sheet backgrounds in 10x12-foot and 10x24-foot sizes, in 21 different colors. Washables are available in the same sizes in 17 different dazzling hues. Collapsible backdrops are ready for your scenic shots in 5x6-foot and 6x7-foot sizes, with reversibles an option in 5x6. A handy background support system for the sheets and a collapsible background stand for the collapsibles make setup easy during a busy shoot.
Grand Manner Studio
The Charis Drape is one of the Grand Manner Studio’s most popular backgrounds. The company provides backgrounds, oil retouching, and studio wall painting to professional photographers, with an eye toward becoming a one-stop art resource for its growing customer base.
“The Grand Manner Studio is the best in the country!” —Lisa Jane Murphey Eden Studio, Houston, TX