Good backdrops at an affordable price are difficult to find. I’ve been painting my own for a couple of years now with mostly success but the drops I paint are small (around 4 x 6’) and sometimes aren’t even that affordable depending on the paint I use and the trial and error of using it on different canvases.
I decided it was time to purchase some drops and there are some amazing companies out there that are just out of reach for me. I happened on Gravity Backdrops and they seemed affordable and in the style I like. So I bought a few and here was my experience.
The first thing I noticed was there was no way to just buy backdrops directly on their site. A lot of these services are custom so that wasn’t a big surprise but I wanted to just pick from a lineup and purchase.
On their Facebook page you can see they actually do have readymade stock in various sizes. There still wasn’t an obvious way to purchase these but anyone who asked on their page were simply told to message Gravity on Facebook.
So I messaged Gravity.
This is a really weird way to order things, in my opinion. My spider sense was going haywire, “Is this a scam?” I figured that if it was I could summon the dark forces of the entire photography empire against them so I stopped worrying and dove in.
The awkward exchange went back and forth like this for awhile (I suppose before the internet people would merely have awkward exchanges on the phone instead). It all concluded in them invoicing me, me paying them via PayPal, and them (eventually) sending me my tracking number (it took about 3-4 days because they had to clear customs first – seemed reasonable).
I still half felt like these backdrops would never arrive – or they’d arrive damaged and months later. But it actually only took about a week! Note that I might just be lucky here because these ship from Europe and customs doesn’t keep a strict schedule. Your results may vary.
Now it’s time for the big reveal…
Seeing snapshots of these backdrops is valuable but even better is seeing how they render in actual portraits. I was commissioned by a couple for a shoot with their dog and I was excited to use these new drops on them.
I like my green-gray and blue the most as-is but I found the brown to be the most versatile. It provided a lot of latitude with color changes in post production. I’d imagine that a straight gray backdrop (textured) would be the most versatile if you are forced to only purchase 1 color.
I am looking forward to doing more shoots with these. They are much more affordable than their competitors but still not “cheap” by any stretch. I will likely continue to hand-paint my own backdrops when a unique color is needed and use my Gravity Backdrops as my standard set for most shoots.
If you have any other questions about my Gravity experience, I’ll do my best to answer but feel free to reach out to them on Facebook for details on pricing, shipping, and other logistics – they have a pretty good response time. Special thanks goes out to my models, Caitlin and Chris, as well as their dog, David Bowie.
Thank you Alexandria, this was a very helpful review as I am considering buying some for my portraits photoshoots. A bit of an investment but i feel worth it 🙂
Thank you Alexandria, I’m glad I stumbled upon your post because I had the same concerns !
Great review. I went on their site and I was like, Ok where do I order. The contact through FB was awkward but I guess it works. I’m not sure why they don’t just do it thru their site. Odd.
Thanks so much for the review! Are you still happy with your color selections? I’m thinking of getting two Larger and one free standard — would the “Larger” sizes suffice for a two person shoot or a single person who may pose in ways other than simply a standard standing or sitting pose?
I got the mid size but I kind of “cheat” and layer the backdrops to make 1 larger one (https://photos.smugmug.com/photos/i-sVcskxB/0/d288de85/X2/i-sVcskxB-X2.jpg) – and that only works if you like that messy two-tone backdrop look. As you can see in some of the examples above, I was able to squeeze 2 people (and a dog!) into the frame with the mid size…but it’s tight. The standard would definitely be your “headshot only” drop while your other two larger ones would be good for couples.
Likewise, I came across their product through a youtube video – but when I went to look at pricing, it was bewildering at best. Weird way to do business.
can i ask how much these cost? I’ve been trying to figure out how to buy from their website and they forgot that part. I’m not knocking them (maybe they don’t need the business)
Here are the prices quoted to me at the time:
Standard: 1.6m×2.5m (5.2ft×8.2ft) – €300 ($320).
Mid: 1.9m×2.8m (6.2ft×9.2ft) – €350 ($380).
Larger: 2.1m×2.8m (6.9ft×9.2ft) – €400 ($430).
XLarge *New Size*: 2.8mx4m (9.2ftx13ft) – €800 ($850).
Double Sided (Painted both sides):
Standard: €450 ($480).
Mid: €500 ($540).
Larger: €600 ($640).
XLarge: €1000 ($1070).
Do you know where they are located or where the backdrops were shipped from? I can’t find any phone or address for them.
They are from Serbi, I believe. It is an odd process, especially if one doesn’t have Facebook like me, but so worth it. I bought three after great from Alexandria and the people at Gravity.
Very good comments ! Thanks a lot . It helped !!!!!!!
thanks for your helpful post. Are the Backdrops “low texture” backdrops? Thanks fro your answer.
No, I would consider these fairly high texture. Not the most extreme I’ve seen, certainly. With the right light positioning, you can make them appear flat. But it would take some effort.
How did you manage the imperfections (paintless stain) in the grey backdrop ?
Are they heavy to carry (I consider them for a non permanent studio at home)
I’m so sorry for the late reply. For some reason, I missed this question. I did not paint over it. Where I see things I don’t like in the backdrop, I simply clone them out in post production. So far, this hasn’t happened enough to be a problem. Since I was an early adopter, I imagine that little flaws in painting and shipping have been fixed since this review. Someday I’ll likely order another and see how the process has changed.
Oh, and to your other question: yes, I find them to be heavy. It is difficult for me to clamp them on my own. While I have traveled with them, I do not like to do so. But I believe any truly painted backdrop is going to be on the heavier side. They are lighter than large paper rolls but heavier than muslin.
Thanks for your review Alexandira. We just saw it. Ans as I see it was 2 years ago when you order your backdrops. For the last year we have web shop (www.gravitybackdrops.com) with probably the biggest hand painted backdrops stock at market. Hope you enjoy your backdrops. Mimi
Yes, I still use them regularly! Thanks for stopping by! 😀
Pingback: Inside my camer bag | Alexandria Huff | Shotkit
What do you think of Paintx Studio,Ltd?😉 http://www.paintxstudio.com
Haven’t ever used PAINTX but would be happy to try.