PhotoPie Backdrop FAQs
What does your tagline mean?
Everybody knows what unrealistic or cheesy backdrops look like, but hopefully when you browse our facebook galleries or storesite galleries you'll see the difference. When people gasp and ask us "What?! THAT'S a backdrop?!" we know we've done our job right. And although our niche has long been realistic printed backdrops, we've also expanded to solids which we feel can be beautiful, artistic, and a perfect fit in with our tagline.
Are these digital backdrops?
No, these are the real thing – physical cloth backdrops with the printed background and floor all on one piece (unless of course you want a squared size with no floor).
Are your backdrops non-glare?
Absolutely! Don't buy backdrops that have glare. You won't pull off any kind of realistic look if the camera picks up glare.
Are your backdrops 3D?
Full vertical sized backdrops (5x9, 7x12, 9x16, 10x18) include the floor and background portions printed together on the same piece, using forced perspective to draw the subject into the environment. So if that's what you mean by 3D, then the answer is yes! For a closer look at what these backdrops look like in action, watch this tutorial.
Why Not Just Use A Green Screen?
Why use custom printed backdrops vs a green screen? The answer is easy: it saves you time and money! You don't have to spend endless hours in post-production photoshopping all of the shadows and lighting imperfections that can easily be done at the time of the photoshoot. Add some props and you've got all of your work cut out for you. The only thing you might have to photoshop in is Granny, because she had an incident with a reindeer and couldn't make it to the shoot.
What are the prices for custom sizing?
Our standard policy is that any custom size rounds up to the cost of our next standard size (ex: a 10x17 would be the rate of a 10x18, an 8x15 would round up to a 9x16, etc). If you would like a custom quote, please send us an email along with your artwork. Feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for a custom purchase link for custom sizes, if that is what you're wanting.
Can I Customize One Of Your Images?
We'd be more than happy to make minor changes to our stock images for you. Please call or email any requests that you have. Heads up though: if your alterations are extensive, there may be a small fee involved. Also, please give us as much notice as possible! This helps us help you get exactly what you want.
Artwork & Requirements
Can you guys color match or print PANTONE?
No. Due to the dye submlimation heat process, the exact same artwork printed twice may come out a few shades different. We try our best to maintain colors exact as we can, but it is not guaranteed. We print CMYK and cannot perfectly match Pantone swatches. With the sublimation process the colors may print a little darker or more saturated than the original artwork. This is considered normal. Light grey is one of the hardest colors to color match. It varies widely based upon the batch of ink and fabric. We do not recommend printing watermark greyscale images or solid light grey colors.
Can you guys print our images on the background?
Absolutely! Just send us your high-res file and tell us the size you want. We'll print your custom image for no extra charge! Please send us an email along with your artwork.
Because we can print custom images, this makes Photo Pie backdrops useful for a wide range of usages like theatrical backdrops, studio sets for videography, or any kind of special photography--or even just special events where photography is not the primary focus. You can even use our backdrops for interior design purposes! Whether it's for your studio, theater, special event, or just your original idea for an interior space, let us bring your custom designs to reality.
Please note that all custom artwork will need final approval before it is submitted to production. When we receive the artwork we will format it for printing and send you a proof via email. You need to respond in a timely manner especially if we're under a tight deadline.
One last thing regarding artwork: we strongly recommend not having a border on your artwork. Due the sublimation process requiring high heat, the fabric will shrink a little bit. This is normal. However, this makes it really easy for your border to get cut off or not look symmetrical, which is why we will always recommend having the artwork extend all the way to the edges.
How large of a file do you need? What kind of file?
It's all about the pixels. Generally, for a 9x16 backdrop, we like to format the file to about 10,000 pixels for the long side (the side that will print to the 16'). The more pixels you can send us in your file, the better. This should produce a quality image. This is not an exact resolution format, but rather an example of a recommended range of optimal clarity. Also, remember that it’s not meant to be examined right in front of your face, but rather from several yards away, much like the principle which is used in billboard printing. Please submit your files in JPEG format, pre-converted to CMYK. Here is a chart detailing our bleed and safe zone sizes. All sizes are in pixels.
Another thing you can do is zoom the image on your computer screen until it reaches about the actual size it will be printed (for example, if you have a damask pattern that you want approximately 1' wide in scale on the actual backdrop, scale your image up to that actual size on your screen and see if you are satisfied with the resolution). If you like how that resolution looks on your screen, then it should be fine. Please send us your files in CMYK since this is what we print from and it will give you the most accurate representation of what the color will look like printed on your backdrop. We will always send you a proof of what your image will look like along with any recommendations. Please email your artwork to us.
I'm not able to upload my image or my file is too big for email, how can I send you my image?
We love to receive the largest file that you have so that we have more to work with, within reason. (There's no need to send us a file that takes 5 hours to download...) The basic guidelines of your image size should be the actual dimensions of the backdrop, in inches, with the dpi set to somwhere between 72-150. If you're unable to upload it during checkout or if the artwork is too big to send via email please upload it to your Dropbox or Google Drive (or similiar service) account and send us the link. Here are some instructions for sharing your image with us via Dropbox:
- Sign in to the Dropbox website and find the file or folder you'd like to share. (or upload it if you haven't already)
- Hover the cursor over the file or folder and click the blue Share button that appears.
- A pop-up window will appear with the link.
- Copy the link and paste it in an email to us.
What Are The File Dimensions/Requirements For My Custom Artwork?
We format artwork to the actual print sizes + 2 inches for bleed. For example, say you want a 4' x 4' backdrop. We would start with a photoshop file that is 50" x 50" at 72dpi. The safe zone is typically 8" inset from the outside dimensions. Feel free to download our template start files available for you to download if you'd like to build directly on them.
The extra 2 inches for bleed allows us to ensure that your entire image will be on your order. During the sublimation process, the fabric will shrink a little bit due to the high heat used. Because of this shrinkage, we do not recommend including borders on your artwork.
I Want To Create My Own Step And Repeat, What Advice Would You Give Me?
- If you have multiple logos, make them similar in size
- Never have any font smaller than 1/2" tall
- In Photoshop, utilize your guides, rulers and your align & distribute tools to make sure everything is level and even
- Always start with the correct file size and zoom into your logos 100% to make sure the quality is crisp
I'm Not Seeing The Kind Of Images I'm Looking For. Where Else Can I Look For Images?
We partner with Colourbox.com for use of some of their images. We recommend looking there first. But we can print pretty much anything from other stock photography sites as well. When you purchase an image, choose the highest resolution available as we'll need to blow them up to the dimensions of the backdrop. If you'd like, we can try taking a look at a stock image before you purchase it to make sure that it will work. Email us any links or inquiries.
What is it made of?
All of our three printed cloth types (PrismaCloth, JerseyCloth, and InspiraCloth) are seamless, washable, and wrinkle-resistant (JC is wrinklefree). InspiraCloth is a double-faced satin made of polyester fiber, JerseyCloth is similar to durable sweatshirt material, and PrismaCloth is made of 100% polyester oxford cloth. Read more detailed cloth type descriptions here.
So what's the real difference between the three cloth types?
What does "no floor" mean?
You may have noticed the phrase "no floor" on the pricing chart above or on the price options on the backdrop products on our site. The following explanation is how we "normally" do things, but if you'd like any image to look a certain way, please let us know and we'd be glad to accommodate your special requests and adjustments. So, the main image you will see displayed on every product is the full, vertical aspect ratio. IN this case, the picture below (on the left) would make 5x9s, 7x12s, 9x16s, and 10x18s backdrops and would take great full-length vertical shots like this example (on the right):
If you ordered a squared size of this backdrop, like an 8x8, 10x10, etc., then we would crop off the bottom and print the top squared portion to look like the picture below (on the left). With this type of backdrop you would only be able to take three quarter/knee-up type shots because your backdrop wouldn't have the ground to stand on (like the example with the model on the right):
So you might think this is concept is fairly straightforward on a product that has a clearly defined floor and wall division, but what about more scenic environments where there's no clear place where a "floor" starts? How does "no floor" work on these images? Well, the simple answer is to just put your hand over the bottom half of the image, and what remains above your hand is the top half you'll get printed on your backdrop with a squared dimension. Below shows how you could use a full vertical size (5x9, 7x12, 9x16 or 10x18):
If you wanted this backdrop to be a squared size (instead of a full vertical size like above), then you could still take great shots but you just wouldn't have the ground area to stand on like the pictures below:
Does it wrinkle?
Our three cloth types are all wrinkle-resistant, and JerseyCloth is the most wrinkle-resistant of the three--we would even say wrinkle-free, by textile standards. It is, pretty much, ready to shoot on straight out of the box. If you have any fold lines in your backdrop upon arrival, you can throw it in the dryer with a damp towel for a couple of minutes and many of the wrinkles will relax dramatically. All backdrops will have creases after storage, but ours are the most wrinkle resistant on the market. After you have it secured for your shoot, you may want to go over the cloth again with a garment steamer to get out any remaining wrinkles. For more info on these three cloths, watch this quick video or check out this chart.
Which Fabric Should I Choose For My Custom Type Of Event?
Are you shooting photos indoors or outdoors? Outside photography is best done with InspiraCloth as it is the thickest and most opaque of our fabrics, but can be accomplished with PrismaCloth if you're on a budget and can make sure it's not backlit by the sun.All of our fabrics are glare free and perfect for professional use. If you've ordered and received our free fabric samples and are still unsure as to which you should choose, we'd like to ask you a few questions:
- When indoors, are you constantly taking it down and setting it up? If so, we'd recommend the JerseyCloth as it is the most wrinkle resistant. PrismaCloth and InspiraCloth are also wrinkle resistant but Jersey does a bit better.
- Are you printing any sort of small text or fonts on your custom backdrop? InspiraCloth, due to its tight weave, prints at the highest resolution with PrismaCloth coming in a close second. JerseyCloth does not handle small fonts very well due to its fuzzy, sweatshirt texture. We never recommend printing fonts smaller than 1/2" tall.
- Are you printing a wider backdrop than we have listed? Our PrismaCloth and InspiraCloth come on 9'wide rolls and can be printed long. JerseyCloth comes precut and we cannot achieve wider backdrops.
What Size Do I Need?
There are many things to take into consideration here. Usually with any custom artwork, such as a step and repeat logo, you want the backdrop to show behind the person about 2 feet on either side to get a good photo. If you scrunch people in, you can really maximize your shot. Here are our recommended "non scrunch" sizing:
- 1 Person can fit on a 4 foot wide backdrop
- 2 People - 6' wide
- 3-4 People 8' wide
- 5-6 People 9' -10' wide
- 8-9 People 12' wide
- 10-11 People 16' wide
- 12 People 20' wide
Ordering & Production
Can we pay by check?
We require cleared payment before we process any order. Please remit checks to our billing department:
1128 Oakwood Street
Burley, ID 83318
The check will need to clear before we even submit your order to production. Please allow enough time for processing. Please contact us with any questions prior to placing an order.
I'm Under A Tight Deadline! Can I Get A Backdrop In Time?
Normally our regular production time is 5-7 business days. December however is our busiest month and production lines always grow substantially. Rush fees will increase during December and may not always be available. Regular production time during December typically extends to 14-20 business days. Don't get stuck without a backdrop and avoid rush fees by ordering early. Best thing to do is to call us and verify the time frame if you're worried about a deadline. Our jolly customer service reps are available Mon-Fri 8am-4pm MST. 888-702-9550
Do You Offer Any Discounts For My Winter Themed High School Prom?
We do offer a small discount to first time buyers. Please call us for more information.
Do You Rent Your Backdrops?
We do not rent any backdrops. We print all of our backdrops on a custom basis when you order. We do have a sales rack with some instock misprints that may vary depending on the season.
Professional Tips & Usage
How do I get rid of folds in the fabric when people are standing on the floor?
Sometimes the backdrop will need something to cling to. For this we would recommend going to your local carpet store and ask about a low-pile rug to place under your backdrop. These are generally fairly inexpensive and possibly free because they often have extra cuts leftover from previous jobs.. We would also recommend taping down the edges to minimilize movement with masking or painter's tape. This will hold the backdrop in place without leaving behind residue on the fabric like duct tape might.
How do I store it?
Our backdrops can be stored practically any way you want--folded, or stuffed in a bag or crate. This is the flexibility that comes with a wrinkle-resistant, washable backdrop cloth. JerseyCloth is wrinkle free. PrismaCloth or InspiraCloth may require steaming between usages if stored in a hard folded manner.
For long-term storage you can either fold your backdrop, stuff it into a bag or crate, or slide it to the side on your backdrop track system. You can even roll it, if you prefer, though it probably will not roll well on a permanent mounted roller system (the fabric will be too thick). If you'd like to store it rolled, we recommend going by your local carpet store and asking for a carpet roll. Generally, these local businesses are more than happy to give these away, as they usually have several available that are just going to be thrown out otherwise. It's been our experience that there is an unending supply of these rolls for free as long as you don't ask for too many at one time.
How do I steam my backdrop?
Hand-held steaming method
1. Before you unfold the background, make sure the area is clean and dry. Mount or hang the backdrop for use using the provided rod pocket sewn into the top of your backdrop.
2. Move the steamer over the wrinkled areas quickly and repeatedly until each wrinkle is gone. We also recommend against putting cloth or anything else around the mouth of the steamer that would cause moisture to accumulate and transfer to your backdrop. If this does happen though, just let it air dry--it will not be a problem.
3. After you have steamed the half of the background that is reachable from your standing position, you'll need to flip it so that it hangs from the opposite end. Then steam the side you were previously standing on.
4. After steaming the background, we recommend that you do no re-fold the background for short-term storage, as this may cause the wrinkles to return. Simply hang the backdrop, and gently fold the sweep/floor portion of the backdrop up onto itself until it is ready for use.
Dryer steaming method
1. Before you unfold the background, make sure the area is clean and dry. After the backdrop is unfolded, loosely wad up the backdrop and place in the dryer with a clean, damp hand towel. This will provide the moist heat ot steam your backdrop.
2. Dry the backdrop and towel on medium heat for about 15 minutes or until the wrinkles have relaxed from the cloth.
3. Mount or hang the backdrop for use using the provided rod pocket sewn into the top of your backdrop. Your backdrop should be ready to go!
4. After steaming the background in the dryer, it is recommended that you do not re-fold the background for short-term storage, as this may cause the wrinkles to return. Simply hang the backdrop, and gently fold the sweep/floor portion of the backdrop up onto itself until it is ready for use.
Do you have any tips for shooting on these backdrops?
Check out our short tutorial on how to make make the most out of your backdrop photography, or check out our video page to view many tutorials on backdrop photography. We're here to help and have been doing this for awhile, so we'd love to share more tips with you and make your shots look the best they can. Call or email anytime!
How Do I Hang My Custom Backdrop?
All of our backdrops come with a 3" pole pocket sewn in across the top by default. If you require a bottom pole pocket, please specify in your order notes. Please contact us if you require grommets ($5 per grommet, spaced every two feet to support the weight of the fabric. For example, an 8x8 would have one in each corner and three across the top, for a total of 5 grommets, which equals $25) or other hanging options to place the order manually. The pocket that comes standard on our backdrops is like a curtain rod pocket on standard drapes. We sell a 10' wide support stand but you may also hang the backdrop on any rod, dowel or pole that you may have at your location.
Do We Need To Hire A Professional Photographer Or Can We DIY?
With technology these days, you can take an excellent picture with your smart phone. Although we do recommend enlisting the expertise of a professional photographer, backdrops are an easy way for everyone to take great pictures and portraits.
What If My Clients Spill Or Stain My Backdrop During A Shoot?
Our dye sublimation printing process locks in the colors of your backdrop which makes it safe for you to lightly launder your backdrops as necessary. Enzyme based spot removal methods such as Shout or Tide have proven to work well. We recommend colder temperatures if you're throwing them in the washer with a quick tumble dry after. These are just suggestions of course to use at your own discretion. We recommend testing out any process on a small corner of your backdrop before apply the technique to your whole backdrop.