Whether you’re hosting a live event or recording a video, a photo backdrop creates a professional look, enhances your brand, and can help you gain more traction on social media. In this article, I’ll share ways you can benefit from a photo backdrop, best practices for creating and using one, as well as our preferred printers.
Types of branded backdrops
There are three popular types of backdrops used today for professional branding:
- A “step and repeat” backdrop featuring your logo related in a pattern
- A custom backdrop, which can feature a photo or an illustration
- A real-life set with furniture and decor that match your brand
4 ways to use a backdrop
The backdrop that’s right for you will depend on your business goals. Let’s take a look at 4 common applications for a backdrop.
A photo backdrop is ideal for promoting your brand at special events. Not only does a backdrop make your brand stand out, it also creates a perfect opportunity for people to take and share photos.
Usually people enjoy sharing event photos with their family, friends, and followers on Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn. This gives you an opportunity to get in front of people who have similar demographics and interests as your best customers and employees.
A backdrop can create photo opportunities at:
- Awards ceremonies
- Book signings
- Business conferences
- Charity events
- Company retreats
- Employee appreciation events
- Employee holiday parties
- Film screenings
- Grand openings
- Open houses
- Press briefings
- Product launches
- Sporting events
- Team building activities
- Trade shows
- Training events
If you take meetings at home, you don’t want your brand to be whatever happens to appear behind you in the room where you’re working. As with your office or even your clothing, your backdrop should support your brand and your professional image.
A clean backdrop will help you build trust with your clients and colleagues. It will also help people focus on what you’re saying rather than your home environment.
If you run a podcast, consider recording episodes on Zoom and premiering them on YouTube. (In our testing, this has more than tripled audience sizes.)
If you go from podcasting to video production, it’s important to craft an aesthetic, branded background. To do this, you can either add a backdrop and lighting or build a mini-set (sometimes referred to as a filming room or home studio).
Sunny Lenarduzzi has an excellent video on how to design a set that reflects your brand.
Sunny Lenarduzzi: How to Create a Unique YouTube Set
Kellan Reck has a tutorial that covers how to finish the “look” of your set with intelligent lighting and camera placement.
Kellan Reck: How to Build a Home YouTube Studio | LESS THAN $100
If you’re going to a networking event or trade show, a photo booth can help you stand out and attract more people to your booth.
It can also create opportunities for you to take photos with guests. You can use the images you take in your website, social media, and other branded materials.
If reporters attend, it’s easier to potentially get a photo in front of a full-size professional backdrop than without one.
Tips for setting up a professional backdrop
When you design a backdrop, avoid…
- Placing a big logo front and center
- Printing a photo with a lot of objects and details
- Printing a photos with a foreground subject
If you’re printing a logo backdrop, it’s best to keep your logo relatively small and repeat it in a pattern across the material. This will prevent your logo from competing for attention with your subjects – the people posing in front of the backdrop.
If you’re printing a custom backdrop with a photo or illustration, minimize details that could be distracting. Avoid adding subjects in the foreground (like plants, animals, or people). A simple, minimalist background will look perfect when your subjects stand in front of it.
You can print a backdrop on paper, vinyl, canvas, or muslin.
- Paper is seamless, textureless, and prone to damage if not handled carefully. The lack a seam makes your subject appear to float.
- Vinyl backdrops are typically used for events, since they’re easy to transport and wash. Because they’re somewhat reflective, it’s important not to shine a bright light directly on it.
- Hand-painted canvas provides a nuanced, textured look at a steep cost (and heavy weight). Favored by Annie Leibovitz, this style is typically used in high-end portrait photography.
- Muslin is constructed from cotton. It’s lightweight, affordable, and reusable. While they’re easier to transport than paper, wrinkles and folds can get in the way of a perfectly seamless look.
If you’re short on budget for an event backdrop, reach out to the event’s sponsors. Sometimes a sponsor will agree to split a backdrop’s cost if you feature their logo alongside yours.
At any events, guests are far more likely to share photos if they feel good about how they look.
Soft light will flatter almost everyone. You can produce beautiful soft light with a pair of umbrella lights with a white color balance. Position your lights in front, just to the sides, and slightly above your subject, then tilt the lights down just a bit.
Roll or fold your backdrop to avoid wrinkles. In a muslin backdrop, some wrinkles are inevitable. You can smooth out wrinkles with a portable, hand-held steamer (or, to some extent, a spray bottle with hot water).
Encourage people to stand at least 3 feet away from the backdrop. The easiest way to do this is to place a red carpet where you want people to stand. You can also indicate where you want people to stand using tape, rope, or another barrier.
Try using a low F-stop like f/2.8 or f/4 to achieve a bokeh and to separate the subject from the background.
After you take a photo, tell your guests that you’ll share the photos on Facebook (or your favorite social network). Then encourage your guests to like your page so that they’ll see the photos when you share them.
Another approach is to take photos with each persons’ phone. This way, your guests will have their photos instantly and they can share their photos online right away.
A hybrid approach is to take a photo using your professional camera, then ask the guests if they’d like you to take a photo with their camera as well. Guests will often still be happy to like your social media page so that they can get your camera’s high-quality photos once you share them.
How much does a photo backdrop cost?
For repeating logo banners we print with Bing Banners in Paramount, CA. Their banners include:
- 720 dpi for extremely sharp images
- Matte vinyl material to minimize glare
- UV, fire and water protection for longterm usability
- Flexible width from 4’ to 50’ and flexible height from 4’ to 8’
- Single day turnaround
A backdrop for 2-3 people costs $250 in materials. In the order, I usually select the following options:
- 8’ x 8’ backdrop
- 14 oz heavy duty, polyester vinyl
- Pole pockets (top and bottom)
- 8’ x 8’ banner stand (for holding the vinyl in place)
- With an 8’ x 3’ red carpet to draw attention to the space (can be removed to save $50)
If you plan to have groups of 4-6 people pose, then you should upgrade to a 10’ x 8’ setup for on extra $50. This upgrade increases the width of the backdrop, stand and carpet.
For photo backdrops, we print with UPrinting. An 8’ x 8’ banner with 15 oz vinyl and a stand can be printed in 3 days for $340, while an 8’ x 10’ banner can be printed for $380. (Removing the stand will cut $150 from these prices.)
There are a wide range of potential photo backdrops available including light boxes illuminated with LEDs, green screens for video production, and display walls that integrate your products, and LinkWall modular units that can be customized various sizes and shapes. For these specialty products, I recommend reviewing Expand Media’s product selection.
Need a photo backdrop or a video production set?
Nexus Marketing can design a fantastic backdrop for your next event, Zoom meetings, YouTube channel, or trade show booth. When you place an order, we’ll deliver a design that sets you apart. If you like, we can also submit your design to our preferred printing partners to ensure smooth delivery.
If you would like more advanced assistance setting up a professional video production studio, don’t hesitate to let us know what you’d like to achieve. We can design an on-brand set for your company by selecting colors, lighting, furniture, decor, equipment, and everything else you need.