Written By:
Jeff

Velvet Backdrop: Everything You Need to Know

Published On:
August 7, 2021
velvet backdrop
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The velvet backdrop has been around for quite some time. But, knowing what it does best, which kind to purchase, and when to use them can be difficult.

We've dedicated an entire article to just that - teaching you about velvet backdrops, how to use them, and determining which one is best for you!

By the end of this article, you'll have a much better idea of velvet and be able to use them effectively and purchase with confidence.

Let's get started!

What Is Velvet?

velvet backdrop

Velvet in its purest form is a woven fabric in which the cuts are unevenly distributed. This gives it a soft and semi-reflective feel.

Real velvet is very time-consuming to produce and requires expensive materials (pure silk and linen). This is the reason behind it being so expensive.

Modern-day, inexpensive ‘velvet’, isn’t velvet at all. Using completely synthetic materials, we now produce ‘velvet’ using blends of polyester, nylon, or rayon. This saves money for everyone involved (both manufacturing and consumer).

Soft Velvet Backdrop Curtains (In Multiple Colors)

velvet backdrop

Now that you know what velvet is - let's talk about velvet being used as a stunning photo backdrop!

Now, modern velvet-like material can come in a multitude of different colors. From deep reds to dark purples - there really isn't a color you can't get plush velvet backdrop curtains in!

While these colors are great for special events, photo booths, plain walls, and home or party décor... a velvet backdrop really shines when purchased in black. Let me explain...

The Benefits Of Using A Velvet Backdrop Over Other Materials

As you already know, everything has its pros and cons. A velvet backdrop isn't any different. Let's discuss why you would use a velvet backdrop over other backdrop materials.

velvet backdrop
velvet backdrop

Have you ever wondered how photographers get the background in some portraits and product photos so black? Maybe they're using special lighting set ups? Or maybe it's post-production tricks...

Some would assume it's post-production. Just throw it in lightroom or photoshop and blackout the background. While this may be true for some - for those wanting to get as much as they can in-camera, a velvet backdrop is where they turn to get the job done right.

Aside from special paints - there isn't anything used in either photography or videography that absorbs more light than a velvet backdrop. I'm sure you've seen or heard of a blackout curtain. They're common among those who work the graveyard shift on a consistent basis. This is a variation of a black velvet backdrop. The concept is still very much the same.

Check out the comparison below brought to you by diycraftphotography.com. It clearly shows the power of a velvet backdrop over cotton.

The difference is even more noticeable when using backdrops with a reflective surface (like vinyl or paper).

velvet backdrop

Versatility

Not only can you use it as photography backdrops - you can lay it on any surface.

Much like cotton/muslin - velvet easily drapes over any surface. This could include tables, boxes, and even the floor. Seeing as it's a bit stiff... it won't be as easy to drape as something like cotton/muslin/satin.

Non-Reflective

velvet backdrop

We've already covered the fact that velvet backdrops are light-absorbing... so it's reasonable to say that its surface is non-reflective.

This is a huge plus for portrait and product photography (especially jewelry).

Materials such as vinyl, paper, and satin all reflect a lot of light. This can be difficult for a photographer to balance - both in light intensity and color casts.

Velvet backdrops solve this problem altogether.

Pros And Cons Of A Black Velvet Background

Pros:

  • Light absorbing
  • Non-reflective
  • Hand-washable
  • semi-heavy durable material
  • Synthetic velvet-like materials are very affordable
  • Multi-purpose (portraits, products, food, 'old world'/painterly photos)
  • Textured

Cons:

  • The 'colored velvet look' isn't nearly as 'popular' or 'in demand' as satin, paper, or even vinyl
  • No machine wash or iron (dry clean only)
  • Not an 'every day/any situation' backdrop material

How To Use/Hang A Velvet Backdrop

velvet backdrop

A velvet backdrop is typically hung from two or more hooks that have been nailed into the wall and connected at the top with wire. This wire is looped over a rod in a curtain track, which is inserted into a track above the window. The velvet backdrop hangs down to the floor over the window or door, depending on where you decide to hang it.

If hanging isn't an option - your velvet backdrop can come with a rod pocket. A rod pocket will allow you to push a metal rod through it to allow you to hang is from backdrop stands. While this is the easiest way to hang a velvet backdrop - quality backdrop stands aren't cheap and can cost upwards of 5 or more velvet backdrops combined.

How To Clean A Velvet Backdrop

  • In order to keep velvet backdrops looking good for years, it is important to follow some simple care instructions.
  • Velvet should be dry cleaned only. You should also ensure that the velvet backdrop isn't exposed directly to light sources and that it's kept out of direct sunlight when not in use.
  • To clean velvet, you'll need to vacuum the surface with a soft brush attachment. You can also use minimal amounts of an upholstery cleaner like "Scotchgard".
  • For spills on velvet backdrops, try using white vinegar and/or water for removing stains or spots from the velvet material. After cleaning, allow velvet to dry and then vacuum again.

Round Velvet Backdrop

velvet backdrop

Generally speaking - round velvet backdrops are great accessories to modern high-end weddings. They add a bit of elegance and class to the space and you can add accents around them to add to the theme of your wedding.

Now - I'll be honest - finding round velvet backdrops is a bit difficult. Seeing as the backing and stand are usually made of solid wood - and they're relatively large at around 6.5 feet... the demand for them are high and they get scooped up by wedding planners very fast.

With that being said - you're going to pay a hefty price for a high-quality one. I'd recommend checking out luckyweddingstore on Etsy. They have great reviews and have been making wedding accessories for years. Highly recommended.

Where To Purchase The Best Velvet Backdrop

Velvet backdrops (elegant linen backdrop panels) featuring luxe velveteen texture - can be difficult to find... and once found - how do you know the quality is good? Trust me, I know how difficult it can be to trust anyone online...

  • First, I recommend shopping locally. Check out your local art supply store and talk with them. It's possible that they can order you some.
  • It's also recommended to look into or purchase Duvetyne - it's the darkest, most light absorbent velvet-like material on the market.
  • If you can't find anyone local - the only ones we can recommend is BEIYANG. This is due to us only ordering from them (and love the results vs the cost). Very inexpensive for what you receive. We don't shoot with velvet that often - but when we do it never lets us down.

That About Covers Everything!

So, what did you think? Are you ready to take on the world of velvet backdrops with confidence and style? We hope so! Want even more information about this topic? Check out our article What Makes a Good Photography Backdrop: The Ultimate Guide. It includes everything you would need to know about many other backdrop materials!

If you have any questions, concerns, or requests... please leave them in the comments below!

Until next time, be safe, and keep creating!

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