We’ve warned photographers before about the very real danger (not to mention illegality) of photographing on railroad tracks. With Backdrop Outlet’s Western Steam Train backdrop, you’ll get all of the folksy wanderlust of a track shoot without the immense risk. Like other backdrops in the company’s Western collection, the Steam Train is available in sizes ranging from 5 x 6 feet to 10 x 20 feet, depending on your backdrop material. You’ll have a number of different materials to choose from, including Baby Drops, which is a heavy matte vinyl; Candy Drops, printed on a thin nylon-polyester material; and Candy Stick, a film-backed drop that can be stuck to a wall and peeled off for reuse up to 15 times. If you need something larger, the company’s Platinum is a wrinkle-free fabric that is washer- and dryer-safe.

There are a few things to consider when choosing a backdrop size, including the size of your studio and the size of your subject. Portrait subjects should typically be pulled at least 3’ away from your backdrop to prevent shadows and allow for easy lighting. Of course, this distance your subject will be from the backdrop will be altered when taking overhead or backlit/high key shots. Below, we’ll discuss both the length and width restrictions of common backdrops.


In this SOOC shot, you can see just how down and dirty this setup was. The backdrop is not pulled out very far and taped down only in a couple of spots. In the top left edge of the image you can see the corner of the 50 inch Apollo. This also shows that the right edge of the light is hitting the subject, allowing for a soft feathered look, but more importantly for this setup, it's allowing the rest of the box to light our background.
Photo Studio Premium Reflector Umbrella Continuous 750 Watt Boom Lighting kit, Background Support, and Muslin Background, B/SFL08BOOMKITCBOOM _NEWCB_BWG Reflective Soft Umbrella Complete Photography and Video Stuido Lighting Kits, Background Support, Black White Chromakey Green 3 Muslin Backdrops, NEWCB_BWG_2050KIT Photo Studio 1000 Watt Continous Lighting kit, Background Support, and Muslin Background, NEWCB_BWG_1000WKIT Photo Studio Continous Triple Lighting kit, Background Support, and Black & White Backgrounds, NEWCB_BW_TRIPLEKIT
Shooting on a clean white backdrop can be one of the more complex in-studio lighting setups around. Properly exposing for full lengths while giving your models room to work can require four or more extra lights and considerable amount of setup time. While taking the time to take care of the details is important for getting the perfect image and saving yourself hours of retouching on the back end, sometimes you just want to get a nice clean background without the hours of prep.
Once I got the equipment out of the box, the entire kit took about 20-30 minutes to set up and break down. I'm expecting it'll be quicker once I've gotten used to it, but the kit's otherwise simple enough to handle. The backdrops are rather thin, but enough for my current needs. I'll need to be more aware of what's behind the muslin, and the sheets can be easily replaced by thicker material when necessary. The metal supports on the umbrellas are enough to keep the things open, but aren't very tolerant of, say, a klutz who knocks the stand over while setting up. (Nothing's broken, and everything's still useful, but... yeah, that bend wasn't there in the umbrella before.) The bag is sturdy enough for lugging things around, but it isn't padded - I've been using the muslins for that purpose. I'm keeping all the equipment boxes and plastic baggies to make sure things stay tidy, but if you wanted to, you could cut it down to just the containers for the light bulbs. Overall, pretty chuffed with this kit.
One of the main questions are customers ask us is “what is the difference between continuous and strobe lighting?” Continuous lighting uses a constant light source to light your subject, meaning that your lights will stay on during the entirety of your photo shoot. Continuous lighting is recommended for beginners. Strobe lighting uses a flash of light at the moment your camera shutter opens to illuminate your subject. Many professionals use this type of lighting because it offers more control of the light.
Among a raft of new products, Denny’s Fair Tale Trail puts your subject in a whimsical (dare we say Hobbit-esque) setting. The backdrop is available in your choice of three materials: Freedom Cloth, which is a wrinkle-free polyster that’s washable and dryer safe; Twist Flex, which uses the Freedom Cloth material but mounts it to a wire frame that can be folded down tight if you envision travelling a lot with the backdrop. Lastly, it’s available in canvas, which is a more delicate backdrop that ships with a wood mounting and Velcro straps. Sizes vary with Freedom Cloth, giving you the widest selection of size options.
When it comes to special effect backgrounds, the chroma key backdrops are the most common used in tandem with special effects. The chroma key or key backgrounds are usually set to perfect blue or green helping a computer differentiate the background from the subject easily. This background can be used to superimpose a second image over the first one to show the chroma key color section.
Among a raft of new products, Denny’s Fair Tale Trail puts your subject in a whimsical (dare we say Hobbit-esque) setting. The backdrop is available in your choice of three materials: Freedom Cloth, which is a wrinkle-free polyster that’s washable and dryer safe; Twist Flex, which uses the Freedom Cloth material but mounts it to a wire frame that can be folded down tight if you envision travelling a lot with the backdrop. Lastly, it’s available in canvas, which is a more delicate backdrop that ships with a wood mounting and Velcro straps. Sizes vary with Freedom Cloth, giving you the widest selection of size options.

One of the advantages of using a chroma key background is that it can shorten production time by doing away with the need to change from one background to another. This kind of photo backdrop allows the photographer to freely take pictures without thinking of what background will best fit the image, as they can decide on that part later in the post-processing stage.


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…..

We offer a product range that’s unsurpassed for its variety, selection and value. From smooth Seamless Paper in every color under the sun to Floor Drops with amazingly lifelike, dimensional patterns that can create the look of location shooting in the studio, we make the products that photographers rely on for creating perfect backgrounds for virtually every situation. Just starting out and need a flexible solution for a space that does double duty? We have reversible backgrounds that are easy to set up and break down. Upgrading your high-traffic commercial studio and looking for a timeless, professional backdrop set? We have heavy-duty, durable vinyl that will stand the test of time.
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