The pivotal role of backdrop throughout history

For the longest time, different backdrops for photography were always readily available in studios. Before Adobe Photoshops were widely used for editing backgrounds on pictures, backdrops were the norm; for whatever occasions, there will always be backdrops for that. But most backdrops nowadays are made using computers and printers; in the early 1990s, however, they were hand-painted by the artist to put decorations and designs on the photo. 

Decorative backdrops were already widely used even before the birth of photography. You can see paintings from royalties and nobilities wherein the painters would put effort into the background of their subject, adding sceneries, pets, jewelry, flowers, etc. There have been thousands of paintings depicting royalties showing off their grandeur, wealth, prestige, and beauty and the beautiful background that further enhances their appearance. But these backgrounds can be created using the imaginations of the artists. During the birth of photography, however, there was no available Adobe Photoshop to enhance the image or add background to the black and white picture of the subject. To add more details to the photo, photographers worked with an artist to create hand-painted backdrops for the studio to use. 

On June 2, 1953, Queen Elizabeth of the United Kingdom was crowned as the new monarch of England. This historical day was televised for the first time, and thousands of people flocked the street, hoping to get a glance at their new Queen. After the coronation, the Queen posed for a photograph in Buckingham Palace with her crown, globe, and scepter with a backdrop of the Westminster Abbey. This iconic photo has been used for years to commemorate the accession of Queen Elizabeth to the crown. Although the image was black and white, as years went by, photo editing software tools became available, and photo editors have been enhancing the photo of the coronation day. Today, we can see the young and glamorous Queen sitting with her crown and the backdrop of Westminster Abbey in her background as if it was taken during the 2000s and not in the 50s. 

Backdrops have played a pivotal role in enhancing and making a picture more interesting for the customer. Not only does it add color to the background, but it also brings life to the subject. In America, school photos are taken on the campus. They hire photographers to go and take a picture of the students to lessen the job of editing the background of the hundreds of students; photographers would bring their backdrops. They would bring different hues and colors as backdrops, but one of the most widely used is the color blue, with streaks of white and gray. This color enhances the lighting and the image of the subject.

During the early years of photography, there weren’t any backdrops to add details. Still, over time, backgrounds became ornate: furniture and such architectural fragments as paper-mâché columns and arches were introduced, and velvet drapes were hung within range of the camera. These decorative strategies of the photographer became more pronounced, and despite the advancement of technology, photography backdrops are still an essential piece of equipment for photographers. In the film industry, backdrops also play a crucial role, especially in editing using CGI effects. For editors and animators to add impact to their film, they need to use a specific color of backdrops to make this possible, thus, creating an out-of-world movie utilizing the power of the backdrop called the greenscreen. Although so much has changed in photography during the last 200 years, there is still one sure thing that didn’t change; the photography backdrop. It will always be in demand, and no matter how image editing software is created, nothing can replace the old-fashioned photography backdrop.