A portable studio that you can set up as needed in your own or your clients’ homes is a useful thing to have. Backdrops are a key part of every mobile studio setup. How do Foxbackdrop vinyl backdrops review when used for a portable studio?
I checked out the Fox Abstract Champagne Portrait Vinyl Photos Backdrop for this review and tutorial. My backdrop is 7-by-12 feet and I paired it with a heavy-duty backdrop stand. The backdrop is made of heavy-duty vinyl with an abstract pattern printed on it. The edges are darker to give a vignette effect, though this can be avoided if you shoot tight.
How to set up for a photoshoot with a Foxbackdrop vinyl backdrop
Setting up a portable studio at home with a backdrop is straightforward. Set up your backdrop stand and thread the rolled backdrop onto the bar.
Gently unroll the backdrop until you have a back “wall” and floor. Use clamps to stop the backdrop from unrolling further when you have enough length out. Use masking tape to stick the edge down so it doesn’t roll back on itself.
Set up your lighting and get your camera ready. I set up in my kitchen and pulled down the white blind over my window to make a lovely giant softbox, and added my Canon Speedlite 600EX II-RT with my Godox receiver and transmitter system on a lighting stand with a silver bounce umbrella. I powered the flash with a Godox Propac Power Pack. (If you’re just getting started in flash, this is what I’d buy right now to get started.)
When you’re ready to shoot, get your props and assistant on the backdrop, and start shooting.
So how does the Fox Abstract Champagne Portrait Vinyl Backdrop stack up when in use?
- Flexible neutral color backdrop, suitable for a wide range of styles
- Comes in a heavy-duty plastic tube for transport and storage
- Can be used in portrait or landscape orientation depending on size of group
- Thick, quality material feels like it will last plenty of photoshoots
- Abstract pattern blurs well in the background allowing subject to stand out
- There was a printing error on mine, in a 1-foot band near the end of the roll
- Lack of a cardboard core for the backdrop makes getting creases due to sagging a possibility
Fox Abstract Champagne Portrait Vinyl Backdrop — Technical specifications
All technical specifications have been taken from the product listing page on Foxbackdrop:
- Backdrop reviewed is 7-by-12 feet; available sizes run as small as 3-by-5 feet and as large as to 7.5-by-24 feet
- Made of scratch-resistant, waterproof vinyl
- Light and compact, so easy to transport and carry
- Smooth and non-reflective
Fox Abstract Champagne Portrait Vinyl Backdrop — Quality
The backdrop is lightweight so loading it onto the backdrop stand bar is easy. Compared to a paper roll, which I’ve never been able to do single-handed, I was able to slide the roll on and affix the bar to the stands with no problems.
The quality of the vinyl is thick and strong, and I believe it would hold up to a lot of use. The thickness resists creasing once unrolled. Because the roll doesn’t come on a cardboard core, it’s prone to creasing while on the bar, if your backdrop bar sags. However, I only noticed this when rolling the backdrop back up again, and it was easy to smooth out creases as I went by supporting the bar and rubbing back and forth with one hand as I rolled.
I should note that because it doesn’t come on a cardboard core, it gives you the flexibility to shoot with the backdrop in portrait or landscape, so that’s a beneficial trade-off.
I noticed an issue with print quality on mine when I unrolled it all the way. There was a band about one foot wide which has a greenish pixelated look (think printer run out of ink). It’s a little hard to see in the image so I have boosted the contrast to show it.
When I contacted Foxbackdrop support they confirmed it was a printing error, and offered a replacement immediately — no questions asked.
Fox Abstract Champagne Portrait Vinyl Backdrop — In the field
Overall, I was happy with my results using the Fox Abstract Champagne Portrait Vinyl Backdrop as an in-home portable studio. Compared to paper it’s an easier backdrop to work with, as it forgives dust and dirt on the ground more.
Setup takes about 20 minutes (including lighting), and the same for pack up, so allow for that in your shoot time when setting up your portable studio.
When rolling up the backdrop, I found it hard to avoid it doing this:
Fortunately, because the backdrop is smooth-textured, it was easy to telescope it back in, once it was completely rolled up. Otherwise, I think I’d still be there, trying to roll it up evenly.
Remember to use your clips to keep it rolled up while you get organized to slide it off the backdrop stand bar or use the plastic wrap strips it comes with.
Fox Abstract Champagne Portrait Vinyl Backdrop — Final thoughts
Coming in at $259 for the 7-by-12 foot version of this backdrop, it’s an investment to add a Foxbackdrop to your kit. However, the material quality and customer support make it worth it for a small portable studio.
The warm neutral color means you can style this in a lot of different ways. I would always recommend a neutral backdrop for your first portable studio setup: You will get more life out of it than a novelty print such as flowers, stars, etc.
Because it’s waterproof and easily cleaned, you can use it for portraits with kids, cake smashes, bath and bubbles sessions, and more. You could use it for still life, food or product photography too. I think this is a good choice for a first backdrop for someone wanting to get started in studio-style photography, or for anyone wanting to expand their backdrop range to include light and airy styles or vintage looks to their repertoire.