life . Portrait . street

Madison, WI


Fontana Giusti

Draped abundance: a visual guide to my backdrop combinations

Whether you’re a daycare / preschool / school interested in my picture day services, or you’ve seen my work around and have found it intriguing, or want to hire me to set up my popup studio at your event, you might be wondering what the options are.

And you might even feel overwhelmed, which to be fair, is more than a valid feeling. I got up this morning and started photographing all the options, spontaneously, and decided I needed to write a guide to those setups because even I didn’t quite realize how much I could do with them – a lot, a loooot.

So I’m publishing this blog post to structure and illustrate my draped backdrop combinations and to share the entire range of what is possible as of March 2024 (I find deep satisfaction in painting fabric, so the offer will evolve as I come up with new paintings).

First, let me explain the set up

My draped backdrops – which I consider by now to be a signature style of mine – actually consist of two painted backdrops, combined and arranged so as to have a base canvas, and a drape.

Most of my painted backdrops can be used as a base canvas, but some combinations work better than others.

The heavier backdrops, painted on canvas and with heavy paint applications offer rich color and good light blockage, but they cannot be draped.

The lighter backdrops, painted on muslin fabric, offer more versatility, but aren’t as light blocking, which can become an issue if the studio isn’t setup against a wall or in a darker space.

I also have a pink backdrop, that’s dyed and not painted, and I don’t think it’s suitable as the base canvas because the material is much lighter and almost sheer.

I have four canvas options – two canvasses (1 and 2), each with two sides (A and B): 

1A orange

1B teal

2A green

2B cerulean

And I have 5 muslin backdrops that can serve either as the drape, or as the base (except the pink one)

purple (Ultraviolet)

green (Ultraviolet)

yellow (updated)

warm charcoal (new!!)

pink (dyed)

I also have a new huuuuuge muslin backdrop, painted during this winter’s warm and sunny days.. I sometimes feel it’s finished, and sometimes I feel I might get back to it, so be warned, it might still evolve. 

Now because of its’ size, it serves different purposes that the other drapes (hello seamless projects…), but it can definitely serve as a base, like a canvas backdrop. Lets me introduce this stunner here (in the center of the image you can see my a whiter spot, it’s from my dining room window shining through, proving that muslins aren’t opaque enough for some projects):



Now, any of these backdrops is also a wonderful background on its own, but I find that there’s a special kind of magic that happens when I start combining them… 

Photographic portrait of an older lady with beautiful long grey hair, looking smart, gaze slightly to the left, a slight smile

From now on, no more faces or cats, I’m talking colour, so I’ll keep it consistent, same lights, same edits, and same chair. Sorry if it looks boring, I personally thing it’s also sort of cool all together in a grid…

The options - playing with colours and combinations

Bear in mind that these look like this because of minimal editing and lighting choices. Also, my hardwood floor creates a colour bias. In real portrait situation, the drape might also change (I gave up on wrinkles fairly quickly for example – on a studio day, I’m more thorough, unless wrinkles are the goal), these are only meant as a reference.

Orange base

Teal base

Green base

Cerulean base

That new huuuuge muslin, let’s call her Periwinkle (A-side)

And now, let me show you it works by mixing and matching the muslin paintings as well.

Apologies if this was not as fun as usual and maybe a little more technical. I’m not sure this is really technical, but it shows the power of colour and how colours interact with each other. 

Now, my living room hardwood floor is not traveling with me when I take my studio places, so your project will look different from this no matter what. I hope this article helped you understand better my draped backdrop setup, how it’s a relatively simple yet quite powerful and very luxurious tool, and how much we can do with it.

And little bonus, photos the kids and I made last night, because that’s our idea of fun 😉

Are you looking for a portrait photographer in Madison, WI? Or a school photographer? 

Let’s get in touch!

I love photographing children and capturing their sweet personalities in a gentle and playful way, I am fully insured and I speak four languages, three with native fluency, and one with a few influences of my own…

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