Handpainted versus printed backdrops; what makes the difference when it comes to choosing photography backdrops

Archisman Misra-Founder and CEO, Studiobackdrops.com

Attributed to Mr. Archisman Misra, Co-Founder, StudioBackdrops.com (SBDC)

August 31: Since the early 1900s, handpainted photography backdrops have been integral to India’s history. When photography was introduced in India, outdoor shooting had many limitations. And that made handpainted backdrops an important part of royal portraits and photography studios across the country. Handpainted backdrops depicting intricate sceneries and meticulous details became a way for people worldwide to create and capture fantasies. This tradition carried on and became a fun way for people to get photographed on backdrops featuring locales they couldn’t visit.

Sarah Oliphant of Oliphant Backdrops, USA, improved the rich history of handpainted backdrops. She changed the imaging industry and is responsible for painting the backdrops behind some of the most iconic images in the world. However, along with exquisite artistry comes an equally exquisite price tag. Handpainted backdrops have not been easily available or affordable around the world.

A cheaper alternative became popular in the last few decades as printing technology improved worldwide. People started printing images of handpainted backdrops, hoping to get the same results as a handpainted backdrop. Printed backdrops became more affordable and allowed people to shoot with handpainted designs without investing in one.

Despite having the same look as handpainted backdrops, printed backdrops cannot emulate the texture and richness of handpainted backdrops. This is what sets handpainted backdrops apart and makes them many sought-after products. The multiple media used to paint these backdrops provide a brilliant depth and texture. And combined with the mastery of the craft and an eye for detail possessed by none other than the painter, these backdrops become a work of art.

Professional photographers agree that shooting with a handpainted canvas backdrop always produces better results. The rich colours and vibrant designs cannot be emulated by any other material, let alone printed backdrops. Printed backdrops can copy an image and the design, but they will not have the details of a handpainted backdrop. At the same time, every individual brush stroke in a handpainted backdrop adds a unique dimension to the background. Some photographers even choose to paint their own, but it pales in comparison to the backdrops painted by the experts.

The industry is shifting as more people understand the superiority of handpainted backdrops. While handpainted backdrops have always been exclusive products, in the last few years, several brands have come up in India that are making handpainted backdrops. But one brand has been carefully preserving this art for a very long time.

Aavant is one of the oldest creators of handpainted backdrops in India. Their creations have adorned some of the world’s greatest theatres, stages and photography studios. They have become the industry leaders in handpainted backdrops with the world’s most extensive collection of designs. Aavant has mainly been an exporter, and these designs have not been available in the Indian market. In a move that benefits both, Studiobackdrops.com has partnered up with Aavant to market and distribute its products in India.

Of late, we have seen the resurgence of handpainted backdrops in India. Many photographers who had shifted to plain seamless backdrops are once again welcoming textures into their studios. Many celebrities are also requesting to be shot on handpainted backdrops as an expression of self. These are indeed positive vibrations in this century-old practice, and we can certainly see a lot of growth in this field.

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