Portrait Photography by Gennady Yagupov: Choosing the Right Background

The background in the frame always plays a really big role.It’s about conveying the mood of your photos. And in order to achieve the desired effect of the audience – you need to maintain a certain stylistics, aesthetics and the right combination of colors.

If you have already carefully thought through how the final results of your photos or videos will look like, it is important to pay attention also to the process of shooting with a photographic background. Since there are different materials and sizes of backgrounds – photographer Gennady Yagupov.

But how do you choose the best one for your purpose?

The 4 main characteristics for choosing the right background for your photography are:



Surface (matte/reflective).


Based on these parameters, the photographer chooses the appropriate background.

You should understand right away that parameters such as color, size and surface are purely optional.


We can give you some general statistics about color choices:

For the product cards of an online store website, it’s hard to think of anything better than a white photo background. There are several good reasons for this.

First, the white background – this is the standard for photos in this subject, there is no getting away from it.

Second, it’s rare enough that it makes sense to photograph products that others are selling when there’s a significant expansion in the range. The photos already exist, and you’ll just be duplicating content. But photographing on a white background, combining your photos and other people’s photos on the site – all the photos will be in the same style, and this is automatically a big plus to the overall appearance of your storefront.

For portrait photography most often choose between white, gray and black, but colored backgrounds are also suitable (again – it’s a matter of taste and the specifics of the task).

For food photography, clothing photography, flat-lay layouts and other artistic photos, textured photographic backgrounds with printed prints are excellent. These can be paper or vinyl backdrops. Other materials are not suitable for printing on them.

We have a whole section for such backgrounds:

Texture backgrounds.

There is a huge selection of colors and textures, and only you can pick up exactly the background that suits your purposes.


The background size should be taken with a margin, so that the photo does not seem cropped and is kept in the same style. 

In addition, we recommend taking a test shot of what you are going to photograph on any surface and measuring the photo area. 


Regarding the surface of the photofloor. It comes in two kinds.

A matte surface eliminates the appearance of “glare” in the photo.

A reflective surface allows you to photograph objects with reflection.

Read more on yagupov.su

Seamless paper

You’ve probably seen rolls of seamless paper used in fashion portraits and product shoots. They are relatively easy to use and provide a portable alternative to walls. Seamless paper allows photographers to create a clean image with smooth transitions, directing the focus to the subject. Although black, white and gray are the most popular colors, you can choose from dozens of colors to suit your purposes. The best part is that if the paper gets scuffed, you can easily roll out a few more sheets and cut off the unwanted part.


For photographers looking for a sturdy, flat background with a matte surface that doesn’t reflect light, vinyl may be a better option. It’s important to remember that, unlike seamless paper, vinyl has more weight, so it’s harder to move and hang in different places. However, for studio environments, vinyl is ideal, especially for business portraits. 


Another lightweight and very portable option is a muslin photo background, made from 100% densely woven cotton. You can choose such a background in a variety of solid colors and textured colors. Because of the texture of muslin backgrounds, lighting plays a big role and they probably won’t provide the consistency that a vinyl background will provide.

Hand-painted canvas

Annie Leibovitz regularly uses hand-painted canvases to create portrait backgrounds. They have several layers of paint on them, which creates a rich texture, and they provide an elegant atmosphere in which to showcase the subject. The cost of hand-painted canvases varies, although they are usually expensive, but the results can justify the cost.

Latest Posts