Advantages of Using Canvas Backdrops

Written by: Cheryl Woods, Published on: 01 October 2013

Advantages of Using Canvas Backdrops
Photo Courtesy of: Ryan Walsh Featuring: Whirlwind Canvas Backdrop

Photography backdrops vary in style, size, shape and color. Understanding the basics of each type of background can seem quite intimidating. Of all the choices, the beauty of a canvas backdrop cannot be matched. From their their long lifespan to their versatile usage, they’re great for the amateur or pro photographer.

Indeed, they are a purchase from which any photographer can benefit. In particular, canvas backdrops are the perfect choice for the studio-based photographer. And although canvas is more expensive than other materials, it needs to be considered a long-term investment, or legacy purchase, for your studio. If properly cared for, they will last for many years to come.

Did you know the first photography backdrops were made of heavy canvas, painted with classical designs? Today's high-quality canvas comes in a crisp white, offering the perfect staple piece or blank slate for creative DIY backdrops. Because the colors can be hand painted they will pop a lot more on the canvas! What's behind the subject is just as important as the subject itself and if you're struggling to find the perfect backdrop then canvas is a great option to start with, providing a realistic look to all your scenes. This sophisticated alternative also helps block unwanted light sources while providing a pristine backdrop. The typically large size is ideal for full length photos or group shots and each photo will be consistent thanks to flat, sturdy surface of canvas. These are just some of the numerous benefits to using canvas backdrops.


Canvas is a high-quality choice, made in the USA, with our unique multi-layering process that backs the canvas with a blackout center to prevent light from passing through and then tops that off with a layer of vinyl on the very back for extra durability. The vinyl finish on the back of every canvas also offers more versatility with your backdrop. You can photograph the vinyl side, the canvas side, or get creative and paint the backdrop into whatever you can dream up! The canvas comes standard with glare-free cloth, perfect for studio photography whether in the garage or a penthouse. 

See more: Achieve a Hi-Key Look Easily With a White Canvas Backdrop


Backdrops should not be folded because wrinkles in canvas are not easily removed. This makes them bulkier than other backdrops like muslin. Having a permanent set up in your studio for your canvas backdrops is recommended. The material is washable and, unlike seamless backdrops, it won’t tear. 

If you need to clean your canvas just use a soft, slightly damp cloth and gently wipe away dirt and dust. Do not use any type of cleaning products or other chemical solutions. 


Typically canvas backdrops are mounted on a support system crossbar, which can be used to roll them up for transport. They can also be large, with a 10' x 10' background being required to produce coverage for full-length portraits or group shots. Many photographers choose to use a large canvas as a backdrop in the studio and a muslin or other backdrop for shooting in other locations. 


Canvas backdrops are rugged but because of their heavier weight they are best suited for permanent locations. In particular, Savage’s premium Portrait White Canvas Backdrop, with its multi-layering construction, gives it even more moxie than your average canvas backdrop. Canvas is not only a backdrop, but a great resource to help manage unwanted light. They are available in 9’ x 10’ and 9’ x 20’. Features and benefits include:

  • Blackout center prevents light from passing through
  • Durable vinyl backing
  • Matte finish—no glare
  • Seamless with sewn finish on all edges
  • 3” rod pocket at the top for easy hanging
  • Durable and easy to clean


If you’re looking for a classy touch to your portrait photography, canvas is definitely the choice. Some of the world’s most famous artistic photographers are known for their stunning portraiture due to their selection of canvas as a backdrop. Annie Leibowitz’ celebrity shots, Richard Avedon’s fashion pics and Joel Peter-Witkin’s artistic ensembles would never have achieved their greatness if not for the allure of the canvas backdrop. Canvas arguably provides the most realistic background scenes out of all the backdrops. 

Some photographers, especially those committed to a traditional portraiture style feel canvas gives a more formal look. This makes it an ideal background choice for portraits and corporate photos. Many photographers feel that the main advantage of using a canvas backdrop is that their subjects are always happy with the finished results.

The choices are many when it comes to selecting backdrops for your work. But, if you’re looking to have a long-term professional set-up for your studio that allows you to express your creativity and gain you happy customers, then a canvas backdrop is for you.


(1) Farace, Joe (Mar. 8, 2011) Choosing the Right Studio Backdrop [blog post]. Retrieved from

(2) (n.d.) Photography Muslin vs. Photography Canvas [online article]. Retrieved from

About Cheryl Woods

Cheryl Woods

Cheryl Woods is an accomplished photographer, designer and branding consultant with a career spanning 20+ years. Her photographic work includes editorial, fashion, portraiture and product photography for major companies in the consumer products field including QVC and Hanover Direct. She received a B.F.A. in Photography from the University of the Arts and an M.F.A. in Media Design from Full Sail University. Cheryl's work has been exhibited at the Lowes Museum of Art in Coral Gables, FL, The New York Independent Film Festival and the Rosenwald Wolf Gallery in Philadelphia, PA. Check out her website here!


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