Vinyl backdrops are thick, rolled and durable, and are recommended for professional studio work. They generally come in solids, but there are a few with printed patterns that can be very inexpensive. While most vinyl backgrounds have a glossy sheen, there are some (including a recently announced line by Savage, which includes the Savage Matte Finish Gray Infinity Series vinyl background) that have a matte finish to eliminate glare and reflections.
I would definitely play around with it. Your not going to want to go too wide with 4 because odds are they will move around a bit and you’ll end up with some soft faces. Some key things to remember would be try to keep their faces all on the same plane of focus, that will allow you to shoot a little wider. Generally with 4 kids I would aim to shoot around f/4 but certainly play around. At that aperture you may want to consider moving them further away from the background. Keep in mind the closer you are to them and the further away from the background they are the more bokeh you will get!
If you're looking for photography backdrops suitable for outdoor or portable use, collapsible backgrounds are both economical and space-efficient choices. Many fold down to a third of their size, and come with convenient carrying bags so you have room to pack and protect multiple backgrounds. Several styles feature reversible designs, to give clients a choice of colors and patterns. Pastel pink and blue backgrounds work well for baby showers. Urban-inspired prints let kids and teens show off their more expressive side. You'll also find options in camera-ready, chroma-key colors suitable for special effects projects.
They are plastic, but very strong and the clamping power is quite good. The only annoyance is the little red pads on the end, swivel all the way around so if you are trying to attach something up high with one hand, sometimes they flip backwards and don't grab correctly. You just need to make sure they are facing inwards before you reach up high. I used all 6 clamps to attach a large king size sheet to a linco backdrop stand and it was enough - ... full review
These lights worked perfectly for what I purchased them for - as part of the backdrop for my Christmas pictures. They are a great, long length and width and shine brightly, but they are not overpowering. I had no issues stringing them up at all. They have a steady on mode as well as several different blinking modes. My only complaint is that the plug did not fit into my standard outlet - it was very loose and kept sliding out, so I had to tape it in to use it. Also, there is no off switch, so these have to be unplugged when not in use. Like I said, though, they worked great for my intended purpose.
For gear, I used my Canon 50mm 1.4 lens. My camera settings for most of the shots you saw were f1.8, ISO 640 and shutter speed around 250. No flash. Just natural light. You really just need to play around with it a bit depending on your lighting situation and what not. Be brave and use that manual mode on your camera or at least the aperture priority setting. I did test shots using stuffed toys while the little guy was napping so as not to “waste” any precious time with him and risk missing any good shots. If you have older kids that will sit still you can get some really cool shots! If only Mr. C was old enough for an M&M bribe. Mr Moose did well though…. Here’s a test shot…..