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Why Gray is the Best Backdrop Color for Simple Portrait Studios


Setting up your first portrait studio and wondering what color backdrop to get? If you can only choose one color, you might want to think about getting a gray one. In the 6-minute video above, photographer Joe Edelman explains why he thinks gray is the best color.

The big reason is flexibility. While many colors limit your creative options when shooting a photo, gray is a chameleon of sorts.

“With a minimal amount of effort, you can turn a gray backdrop into white, or black or pretty much any color you can imagine,” Edelman says. “You can use seamless paper backgrounds or vinyl backdrops, or even gray material or gray paint on a wall.”


While many shades of gray will work, Edelman tries to use 18% gray whenever possible.

To shoot a black backdrop, just keep light completely off your background. For a white one, blow out your background. If you want any other color, just add a colored gel to your background strobe and your backdrop will instantly take on that color. Voila!