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Backdrops for Photographers: What they are and how we make them

Introduction to our products, work process and about us.

Our logo brings together the essential characteristics of FPF: simple, light and practical.

PRODUCT

First of all you may ask, what is Funds for Photographers? Well, at FPF we offer

prints of our designs on high quality plastic sheets. These prints simulate the surfaces that will be the backdrops (either the wall and/or the floor) for your photographs. Our backdrops are ideal for both professional photographers who are used to finding new textures and colors for their photos, as well as for photographers learning on their own who need flat-lays with an intentional style for their new Instagram post. FPF is also an alternative solution to other traditional backdrops such as cardboard, fabric, canvas, or heavy and difficult to obtain materials such as wood planks or marble slabs.

For now we have two different sizes available: 60 cm x 90 cm and 90 cm x 120 cm. The backdrops are printed in Madrid (Spain) and our designs are 100% photographed by Puchero Estudio.

The finish is matte, to limit reflections to a minimum. It is a water-resistant, flexible, soft-textured, lightweight, and easy to clean material.

The backdrops have been created particularly for Gastronomic Photography and Food Photography. However, we have a very versatile material that can be used perfectly for product photography, flat-lays and even portraits. Imagination has no limits!

We try to make designs that can simulate both wall and floor, so you can combine them as you like.

One of the things we like the most is that it is a material that does not take shape, that is, it does not roll up by itself, but remains completely flat when stretched. Even so, it is always advisable to fix the backdrops with adhesive tape or clamps.

Although our material is resistant, the backdrops should be used sensibly: do not put hot objects such as pans or pots on it, as it is not resistant to high temperatures. At the same time, food or other objects that discolor may also stain your backdrops, so be careful with the latter. Also, do not make cuts directly on the backdrops, as you will deteriorate them quickly. Finally, do not fold them too much, as they may remain in the shape of the fold. It is best to store them flat or rolled up in their original tube.

OUR TEAM

Before I continue writing, I would like to introduce myself: my name is Sara and I am the one you see in the picture below. The idea of creating FPF came almost hand in hand when Manuel and I created Puchero Estudio last year. We were just starting to get into the world of Gastronomic Photography when we saw that most people were using photographic “vinyls”. Well, at least here in Spain, the term “vinyl” implies that it is an adhesive material, although it seems that the term has become popular and is used as a synonym in depth. Even so, we prefer to call them “backdrops” 🙂

These photos are from the summer of 2019, literally the first day we experienced creating our backdrops forPuchero Estudio.

The thing is that here in Spain we found it hard to find something similar that also had a design to our taste and that was in line with the image we wanted to convey in Puchero Estudio. So much so that we had to buy our first backdrops in the UK. We thought it was incredible, but we couldn’t find anything similar here.

Months went by and we made a second purchase, and again we resorted to another store outside Spain. It was then that a crazy idea crossed our minds: – “Hey, wouldn’t it be cool to have our own backdrops made by us and be able to sell them on the Puchero web? A few months later, here we are telling our story!

Here we are: we are Manuel and Sara 🙂.

The truth is that we started using the canvases as we made them, but we found them very heavy, and very cumbersome: we usually work in locations such as restaurants, and carrying wooden canvases is not the most appropriate, especially if you are short of time and if you don’t want your back to hurt from carrying them so much.

Later we found a supplier in Madrid who offered us exactly the material we were looking for, and we were getting closer!

The great thing about these backdrops is how light and easy to transport they are: depending on the session, we either carry them in the original packing tube, or we put them in a portfolio folder if we want to carry a lot of them to have different options during the session.

HANDMADE.

Mainly, we have two ways to create our backdrops:

The Photographed.

Creating these types of backdrops involves taking long walks, always keeping a watchful eye during our travels and above all always having our camera at hand (we shoot with our Canon Mark IV or our Sony A7III using lenses that distort as little as possible to give it more realism).

It can be a wall, a door, a floor, any texture that catches our attention, either because it has an interesting pattern, a certain color, or because we like them, period!

Then we take different photos: closer, further away, from one side, from the other… and then in the studio we see which photo works best (or, if it works at all!). We edit the chosen photo: normally, we usually clean up a little bit the imperfections or dirt in Adobe Photoshop and finally we go to the print.

Not everything we like on screen works in reality. Once we have our “beta” backdrops we have to test it, creating a small still life and taking several test photos. If it works in camera, we consider it valid, and add this new design to our collection.

The Handmade.

These require a slower process, but more fun!

Manuel has a degree in Fine Arts, and I… well, I’ve always liked to experiment with paints and crafts, what my parents have always called “messing around”.

Exploring Youtube we found a thousand tutorials on how to make a backdrops for your photos, so we got to work!

There are five basic things we always use when making our backdrops: MDF wood or canvas or similar, Gesso or paste to cover cracks, spatula, paints of various colors and a lot of imagination. This phase requires patience and time, as this process takes a long time to dry.

First of all we must apply the gesso to the wood, for this we use the spatula and drag until the entire surface has been covered. From there, it is a matter of experimenting and looking for different textures. Then we will wait at least 12 hours for it to dry well (the time depends a lot on the amount used). The next day comes the most creative part, painting! There are all kinds of techniques and tools, and we have already tried with brush, spatula, sponge, toothbrush? (yes, you read that right). Anyway, as we say, creativity has no limits!

When we are satisfied with the final design, we let it dry well (usually we apply several layers, which means waiting for it to dry well between layers). Now comes the part where we photograph the backdrops, go through Adobe Photoshop, where we may clean up a little bit any imperfection we don’t like and send it to print.

Et voilá! yet another design added to our collection.

We will use this Blog to tell you more about our backdrops and our creative process to keep you up to date with the latest news.

If you have any comments or questions, please do not hesitate to contact us at info@fondosparafotografos.com.

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