Pho­to­phones are an inte­gral part of any pho­to stu­dio. They are used to high­light an object. And with­out them it is impos­si­ble to imag­ine shoot­ing for a pass­port or any oth­er impor­tant doc­u­ment. But this is not their only pur­pose. In today’s arti­cle, we under­stand why pho­to­phones are need­ed, what mate­ri­als they are made of and in what cas­es they are used.

Source: digital-photography-school.com

What is a photophone for?

Back­grounds are one of the eas­i­est ways to cre­ate beau­ti­ful stu­dio pho­tog­ra­phy. Whether you’re shoot­ing peo­ple or prod­ucts, back­grounds can help cre­ate the atmos­phere in an image or destroy it. An improp­er­ly cho­sen back­ground dis­tracts atten­tion from the sub­ject, which in the case of com­mer­cial adver­tis­ing, for exam­ple, for an online store, can reduce sales. In the case of a suc­cess­ful choice of can­vas, the pho­to attracts the eye and holds the inter­est of a poten­tial buy­er, and you want to con­sid­er the sub­ject in great detail. That is why pro­fes­sion­al pho­tog­ra­phers care­ful­ly approach the choice of pho­to­phones, includ­ing pay­ing atten­tion to the mate­ri­als from which they are made.


Back­grounds are made from var­i­ous mate­ri­als, each of which has its own advan­tages and dis­ad­van­tages. The most com­mon­ly used prod­ucts are seam­less paper, muslin, hand-paint­ed can­vas or vinyl.

Seam­less paper is a ver­sa­tile and inex­pen­sive back­drop that is avail­able in many col­ors. The most com­mon col­ors are black and white. The roll is sus­pend­ed on a spe­cial lift.

The advan­tages of using seam­less paper are:

  • rel­a­tive­ly low cost;
  • beau­ti­ful appear­ance (the back­ground is always clean, fresh and smooth);
  • mat­te sur­face and lack of tex­ture, glare and tex­ture will not dis­tract atten­tion from the sub­ject;
  • smooth tran­si­tions from wall to floor;
  • it is pos­si­ble to paint the back­ground and get a unique pho­to.
Source: digital-photography-school.com

How­ev­er, this mate­r­i­al also has dis­ad­van­tages:

  • large rolls are incon­ve­nient to trans­port;
  • paper is eas­i­ly dam­aged;
  • in the wrong light­ing, glare may appear;
  • for lay­ing on the floor requires a flat sol­id sur­face;
  • can­not be fold­ed.

Also, when using col­ored paper, back­ground tones may bleed through the edges of the sub­ject.

This mate­r­i­al is ide­al for prod­uct pho­tog­ra­phy as well as stu­dio shots.

Muslin back­grounds are made from cot­ton fab­ric. They come in dif­fer­ent weights and dimen­sions, and can also be plain, have abstract pat­terns or tex­tures. Com­pared to paper can­vas­es, muslin back­drops are much eas­i­er to trans­port. Anoth­er great fea­ture is that they can be washed when dirty. How­ev­er, clean­ing a large-sized prod­uct at home will not work, in which case you will have to take it to dry clean­ing. Like paper, muslin can cov­er not only the wall, but also the floor (if the length allows). How­ev­er, they can cov­er any sur­face.

Source: digital-photography-school.com

How­ev­er, these back­grounds have sev­er­al dis­ad­van­tages. Depend­ing on the light­ing, wrin­kles in the fab­ric may become notice­able. Extreme care must be tak­en when using sol­id col­ored muslin, as it can wrin­kle and detract from the appear­ance of the back­ground. Small selec­tion of col­ors com­pared to paper back­grounds. In addi­tion, if the can­vas has been stored fold­ed for a long time, it will have to be steamed.

Muslin back­drops can look mod­ern or retro and are a great addi­tion to every pho­tog­ra­pher’s arse­nal.

Anoth­er mate­r­i­al used in mak­ing the back­ground is hand-paint­ed can­vas. If you’ve ever held a copy of Van­i­ty Fair in your hands or seen pho­tographs tak­en by Annie Lei­bovitz, you know what it looks like. To give a sense of depth and tex­ture, the paint is applied to the can­vas in sev­er­al lay­ers. The back­drops used in celebri­ty pho­to shoots are usu­al­ly made to order.

The hand-paint­ed back­drops pro­vide a vibrant and unique look. Paint adds tex­ture, depth, and tonal­i­ty that seam­less paper can­not achieve.

Source: digital-photography-school.com

The dis­ad­van­tages of such back­drops are cost and dif­fi­cul­ty in han­dling, as they are eas­i­ly dam­aged and dif­fi­cult to clean. How­ev­er, the visu­al impact of a hand-paint­ed can­vas can be amaz­ing.

In addi­tion, there are vinyl back­grounds. They con­sist of large images print­ed on vinyl (usu­al­ly with a mat­te fin­ish). This view is lim­it­ed to a ver­ti­cal sur­face. For the floor, you can pur­chase sep­a­rate vinyl sheets (for exam­ple, to sim­u­late par­quet).

Vinyl back­drops can have unusu­al or cre­ative designs. They are great for shoot­ing chil­dren, par­ties and oth­er events. Their undoubt­ed advan­tage is the suit­abil­i­ty for wash­ing and the abil­i­ty to work with water. In addi­tion, they are quite durable, and the print qual­i­ty is one of the high­est. Final­ly, three-dimen­sion­al images (for exam­ple, a book­case) can be applied to them.

Source: digital-photography-school.com

On the oth­er hand, vinyl back­drops reflect light, so set­ting the light­ing can be tricky.

Chroma key and other custom backgrounds

There are times when weath­er con­di­tions make their own adjust­ments to the planned shoot­ing. What to do in such a sit­u­a­tion — can­cel the pho­to shoot? Chro­makey can solve this prob­lem: the object is pho­tographed against a green back­ground, after which the pic­ture is import­ed to the com­put­er, the back­ground is removed using soft­ware and replaced with any oth­er.

Chro­ma key is not only the tech­nol­o­gy for replac­ing the back­ground, but also the back­ground itself.

Source: savageuniversal.com
Source: savageuniversal.com

This tech­nol­o­gy is often used in TV as well as in the film indus­try.

Such pho­tog­ra­phy can be done against a back­ground of any col­or, as long as it is uni­form. How­ev­er, bright green (some­times blue) back­grounds are most com­mon­ly used because they are most dis­tinct from human skin tones. It’s impor­tant to make sure peo­ple don’t wear green clothes before tak­ing pic­tures like this.

The suc­cess of the process depends main­ly on uni­form illu­mi­na­tion. It is impor­tant that there are no dis­crep­an­cies in col­or, and shad­ows are kept to a min­i­mum. Gen­er­al­ly, using two dif­fer­ent light sources will pre­vent shad­ows and pro­vide a sense of dis­tance between the back­ground and the sub­ject.

Anoth­er non-stan­dard type of back­ground is the cyclo­rama. This is a fixed (built-in) back­ground con­sist­ing of two inter­sect­ing sec­tions with a smooth tran­si­tion with no vis­i­ble cor­ners.

Source: peerspace.com

Cyclo­rama is a prac­ti­cal and durable back­drop. It allows you to take great pho­tos. Usu­al­ly it is made of a wood frame, sheathed with ply­wood, cov­ered with put­ty and paint­ed in the desired col­or (most often black or white). Con­crete cyclo­ramas are less com­mon.

The undoubt­ed advan­tage of this design is the absence of a sharp bound­ary between the hor­i­zon­tal and ver­ti­cal planes. It seems that the back­ground is end­less.

When shoot­ing in a stu­dio with a cyclo­rama, the sub­ject appears to be float­ing in the air. This is ide­al for por­traits.

Folding backgrounds and their features

Col­lapsi­ble back­drops make the per­fect portable stu­dio. They can be used both out­doors and indoors.

The main advan­tages of such back­grounds are porta­bil­i­ty and com­pact­ness. When fold­ed, they are 3 times small­er. Most often, a bag for trans­porta­tion and stor­age is includ­ed in the pack­age.

Source: raylab.ru

In addi­tion, fold­ing back­drops usu­al­ly have dif­fer­ent col­ors on both sides. It turns out that by pur­chas­ing one back­ground, the pho­tog­ra­ph­er actu­al­ly gets two.

Raylab Backgrounds

In the assort­ment of the Russ­ian man­u­fac­tur­er Ray­lab there are three main types of back­grounds:

  • fab­ric fold­ing;
  • chro­makey;
  • paper.

The high qual­i­ty of Ray­lab fab­ric fold­ing back­drops and their spe­cial pro­duc­tion tech­nol­o­gy elim­i­nate glare, reflec­tions, curls and oth­er prob­lems dur­ing shoot­ing. The main advan­tages of these can­vas­es are porta­bil­i­ty and wear resis­tance.

In par­tic­u­lar, the Ray­lab RF-12 spring-loaded pho­to­phone is a great option for small stu­dios and out­door pho­to shoots. When fold­ed, it has a com­pact size, and the spring frame guar­an­tees quick prepa­ra­tion for shoot­ing and excel­lent web ten­sion with­out wrin­kling. It is white on one side and black on the oth­er. Thus, it can be used both as a reflec­tor and to absorb glare and elim­i­nate flare. No aux­il­iary fix­ings are required for its instal­la­tion.

Source: raylab.ru

Pho­tog­ra­phers and video­g­ra­phers who want to get shots with incred­i­ble effects should pay atten­tion to the range of chro­ma key back­grounds. The com­pa­ny’s prod­uct range includes options of dif­fer­ent sizes, col­ors and designs. All of them are of high qual­i­ty and exclude the appear­ance of any defects.

For exam­ple, the Ray­lab BC01 green 3m x 6m muslin back­drop is suit­able for a vari­ety of shoot­ing sce­nar­ios, includ­ing video reviews, blogs, and even news pro­grams. It is char­ac­ter­ized by increased strength and wear resis­tance, a def­i­nite plus is the abil­i­ty to wash and iron the prod­uct.

Source: raylab.ru

Ray­lab paper back­drops are per­fect for both home and pro­fes­sion­al pho­to stu­dios. They are made of dense (180g/cm2) can­vas and are char­ac­ter­ized by a mat­te sur­face, ease of use, uni­form light dis­per­sion and elas­tic­i­ty. A wide range of col­ors can sat­is­fy almost any shoot­ing task.

Source: raylab.ru


Choos­ing the right stu­dio back­ground can affect the over­all mood of your shots. When used cor­rect­ly, they allow you to cre­ate unsur­passed qual­i­ty pho­tographs.