…but there’s sooooo many to choose from!
I know, right?!? And we want all of them for myriad reasons because we could picture each one being useful for tons of different cakey projects. It’s like me in a handbag store, I want ’em all!
Alas, budgets and just being a reasonable adult, dictate that we should choose wisely. If we’ve determined that we will “act like responsible grown-ups” (insert one of Kara’s signature teenagerish eye rolls here) then there are certain things to think about before deciding on which one(s) to buy. Here’s what I considered just prior to my purchase, though I did so begrudgingly.
- Color vs. Pattern: Would all solids make more sense, or would they bore me aesthetically? What solids would work best for the widest range of cake designs? Are patterns less versatile, or can I find multiple ways to use them? Can the patterns double as floor drops, too?
- Photographic props and backgrounds that I currently have and will continue to use: I have my good old work horse medium gray paper roll backdrop. That will work for everything, always. I also have some lace and fabrics that can be used as table covers for varied color and texture. My props are neutral and will go with anything.
- Size needed, which determines cost, which is governed by my budget: How big are my typical cakes and what size backdrop is needed to accommodate them? What I am going to use to hang the backdrop on, and what size is it? How much do the backdrops cost for the size I want? How many can I afford, or am I willing to spend to get started?
Yes, I went through all of that. But my mind works like a race car at times and so those questions flashed before me in less time than it took you read this sentence 🙂 But they are all questions that I considered for each chosen backdrop, and for each wanted backdrop that I decided not purchase. Let me explain my decisions using this nifty little image below!
|All of the images are from Ink & Elm’s website.|
I hemmed and hawed about whether or not get a solid (section 1) so I saved that decision for last. I based that choice on my other selections.
I knew I needed something as neutral and versatile as possible and for me that was only going to be satisfied with a white, like section 4, “Haunted Slats”. I already had made my mind up about wanting wood patterns so this was the easiest choice for me, except there are a whole barrel-full-of-monkey’s worth of choices for “white” and “wood” on Ink and Elm’s site. I simply liked this one most. I did consider a white brick backdrop, but there is a specific shadow that would really limit what I could do with it and how I would have to light my cakes. I use natural light and mother nature does as she pleases, so the brick for me was a no-go. But this could also be used as a “floordrop” or table top. Sold!
With the white decision satisfied I indulged the creative side of how I want my photos to feel. I love subtle warmth and I think it really reflects much of the ambiance I intend to capture in my settings. Section 2, “Little Bear”, appealed to me for the subtle warm and cool tones. It feels like a gentle rainbow of color disguised by neutral wood. Against a white cake, those colors would burst and contrast a cake amazingly! With a bolder colored cake they would become more gentle, but would both contrast and compliment hues in the cakes– they would essentially play together. This one was love at first sight for me, and as soon as I saw it a million possibilities flooded my creative eye.
Now I had two: very neutral and versatile white, and one with a warm/cool playfully, gently bold wood pattern. (Did that make sense, or am I so in love with “Little Bear” that I’ve begun babbling?) I wanted another wood pattern that was less colorful but would make a bold statement and would work as both a floordrop and backdrop. I needed to supplement what I already had chosen with something darker. Enter section 3: “Ready For Action”. Isn’t that an awesome name??? Totally empowering, and ironically that’s kind of the feeling I wanted in one of the backdrops. Something very strong, bold, and almost serious. While it has hints of warmth in its details it’s mostly a cool color set. A great contrasting option to section 2.
My final decision was how to round out my first set of professional backdrops. Again, versatility was needed. I wanted something that could be used in coordination with the other ones. How? I chose sections 2, 3, and 4 with the intention of using them also as wood table covers. This lead me to a solid background choice. But again, soooooo many wonderful colors to choose from! I wanted the pale green, the sherbet orange color, the rich pink… But that was simply me rifling through a box of beautiful crayons and picking my favorite colors. I really made myself stop and think about why I wanted those colors, and it was just indulgence. They wouldn’t have suited a wide range of use. I picked section 1, “Solid Beige”, seeing how it could work with all the others I already chose, but also with the fabrics and lace I currently have as props. This one is easily the most versatile in my purchase. For me, it was the best “neutral” backdrop to purchase. Though that rich, deep pink would have made me crazy happy!!! (Caking is such an investment. And addiction. So many fun little things to take it to the next level. Cake. Who woulda thunk it?)
Lastly I purchased the 4 x 4 size based on my cake sizes and how I typically set them up to shoot. Oh! By the way, for a positively EXCELLENT idea for making your own backdrop stand, click here. I made this stand this past weekend and I’m beyond thrilled that I did. (Ok… I didn’t make it. I kind of showed the picture to my hubby, did a crazy little excited dance and asked him to “make me this please!” Et voila! I have a super duper cool stand. And a super duper awesome hubby!) You wouldn’t believe the craziness I had to go through to hang my backdrops before this… Less effort, more successful results.
I can’t tell you what you should get, because it really has all to do with your style and your specific needs, but I hope that sharing why I made the decisions that I did can help guide you to making the best choices for you.