This review is for three Impact Muslin Backgrounds and an Impact Background Support System. I have always loved backdrops and how they can convert any space into a studio. By setting up a studio backdrop, you can create a whole new feel for a shoot and they are versatile and easy to use. I chose to set these up in my living room and home office space, but if you are tight for space in your home, a garage makes a perfect studio as well.
I wanted to try out 3 different backdrops to see how they compared. I chose the Impact Reversible Muslin Background (10 x 24′, Dawn/Deep Sea Blue), the Impact Reversible Crushed Muslin Background (10 x 12′, Charcoal/Smoke Gray), and the Impact Reversible Muslin Background (10 x 12′, Stone Blue/Nickel).
I used the Impact Background Support System – 12′ Wide as well.
1) Product Specifications
All three backgrounds are reversible, so you have 2 color options depending on which side of the background you choose to display. They are all 100% high-quality cotton material and seamless. There are five eyelets on the top for hanging, or a 4” rod pocket (which is what I used). They include a carrying bag.
The Impact 12′ Background Support System will support paper or fabric background. It consists of 2 support stands, and a 4 piece crossbar that snaps together. It also includes a carrying bag.
Two of the backgrounds are 10’x12′ and one background was 10’x24′.
The background stand has a maximum height of 10.5′, a minimum height of 30”, a maximum width of 12.5′ and a minimum width of 6′.
Impact 10×12′ Charcoal / Smoke Gray Background
Impact 10×12′ Stone Blue/Nickel Backdrop
Impact 10×24′ Dawn/Deep Sea Blue Background
Impact 12′ Background Stand
2) Initial Impressions
All the backgrounds arrived folded inside their carrying case. The Background Support System also comes with a carrying case. They were well packaged and arrived in perfect condition from B&H Photo.
When I unpackaged the backgrounds, I thought the material might have felt somewhat cheap, but I do feel like they are still a great value for their price. However, one thing that surprised me is that I would have never thought they were reversible. While there are indeed 2 different colors depending on what side you use, one side definitely feels like the right side and the other just feels like the back. For example, if you take a sweatshirt, there is one obvious correct side – and if you wore the sweatshirt inside out, it would look, well, inside out. The opposite side just seemed like it was “inside out”. Regardless, I still used both sides.
I purchased an Impact background stand a few years ago and it is still doing well, but for the purpose of this review I had Impact send me a brand new set up to see if anything has changed.
A few years ago I was worried that the background stand wouldn’t hold up over time. Both Impact background stands that I have used felt flimsy, but they will do the job, especially if you are not using it every single day. For daily use, I would go with a more expensive, more durable stand. But after 3 years with casual wear and tear on my old Impact background stand, it is still in great shape.
The new background stand is similar to the old one, there are just a few differences. Instead of one crossbar that slides to create whatever length you want, this system has a 4 piece cross bar that snaps together. The bar is made up of four 3′ sections that attach together. So, the bar can be 6′, 9′, or 12′ depending on how many sections you snap together. For these Impact backdrops, I used 3 sections to create a 9′ bar, however, on one end the material did bunch a little bit. But I did not attach the extra crossbar section because I did not have enough space to set up a stand that large. And their new carrying back is better. There are individual compartments for the four sections and support systems, so the case keeps everything secure and protects against the pieces banging into each other.
When I took the backgrounds out of their carrying case, they were extremely wrinkled and creased. I highly recommend a good steamer if you would like to use these backgrounds to remove the creases and folds in the fabric. Also, the 10×12′ size is perfect for my use. I thought the 10×24′ was too big. I would not need this larger size for any of my photography purposes.
Also, I did not just use the backgrounds as a backdrop stand for portraits. I used it to photograph products as well. Instead of hanging the backdrop for these shots, I set the backdrop on the floor. I photographed a bouquet against the fabric as well as an invitation suite.
Once I was done with the shoot, instead of folding the backdrops back up to put in the carrying case, I kept the backdrops folded in the closet without the case. The carrying case is plastic and not very substantial. I actually though it was just packaging that was intended to be thrown away after unwrapping until I read in the description on the B&H website that a carrying case was included.
However, the carrying case for the background stand is wonderful. It is durable and does a great job of holding the background stand. I will definitely be keeping the background stand carrying case.
The description of the product says that the background helps to absorb light and minimize reflections. This is true. However, the material is thin. I have windows all over my house and there is not a good blank wall to set the backgrounds against – basically everywhere in my house has windows! There were windows behind the backdrop in both locations I used for the shoots and light from the window behind the setup can be seen coming through the backdrop. If this bothered me, I would have found a way to block the window. But it didn’t so I left it as is. You can see instances of this the samples in the next section.
Below you can see how the background and stand was set up in my crammed and crowded house. I set it up in my living room amidst the furniture. You can also see the seamer we used on the right, as well as another backdrop folded and sitting on the chair.
Below: Charcoal/Smoke Gray – the light on the right is from a window directly behind the backdrop. Shot with Contax 645 medium format film camera developed and scanned by Photo Impact Imaging.
Below: Charcoal/Smoke Gray – no light coming through from the window behind because I shot at an angle that minimized that. Shot with Contax 645 medium format film camera.
Below: Charcoal/Smoke Gray – I draped the background against a couch for the bouquet shot, and set it loosely on the floor for the invite shot. Shot with Contax 645 medium format film camera.
Below: Stone Blue / Nickel – my lovely sister stepped in for the next set of backdrops :) The one is just too blue and vibrant for me – I prefer muted tones, or neutral tones in background. I am not a huge fan of this backdrop, but the opposite side was more muted. I would mostly likely not choose this side for portraits again. Shot with Canon 5D Mark III and Canon 50mm f/1.2 Lens.
Below: Stone Blue / Nickel, reverse side – I prefer this side of the Stone Blue/Nickel Backdrop. Shot with Canon 5D Mark III and Canon 50mm f/1.2 Lens.
Below: Dawn/Deep Sea Blue – I decided not to steam this backdrop and left the creases as is, straight out of the packaging. You can see the creases in the background. Also, due to the thin material, the light from the window behind the backdrop is coming through in the left image. Shot with Canon 5D Mark III and Canon 50mm f/1.2 Lens.
Below: Dawn/Deep Sea Blue – reverse side. This side is a little bit lighter, but they both sides photographed fairly similar for me. Shot with Canon 5D Mark III and Canon 50mm f/1.2 Lens.
All of these products are of great value. They are easy to use and produce great results. I was not thrilled with the colors of the Stone Blue/Nickel background, but I did really like the other 2 backgrounds and would use them again.
If I had to pick just 1, I would choose the Charcoal/Smoke Gray background. That one was my favorite!
The Impact Background Stand is good. I wouldn’t consider it great, but it does the job. However, after 3 years of use for my first stand, it has held up. For someone who uses backgrounds casually, this is an excellent option. If you would set up and tear down this background stand several times a week, you may want to consider investing in a higher quality stand. But for my purposes, this background stand is perfect.
6) Pricing and Where to Buy
All of these products can be purchased at B&H Photo Video at the pricing listed below:
- Impact Reversible Muslin Background (10 x 24′, Dawn/Deep Sea Blue) $125.00
- Impact Reversible Crushed Muslin Background (10 x 12′, Charcoal/Smoke Gray) $75.55
- Impact Reversible Muslin Background (10 x 12′, Stone Blue/Nickel) $79.95
- Impact Background Support System – 12′ Wide $99.99
: Impact Muslin Background and Background Support System
- Build Quality
- Size and Weight
- Packaging and Manual
- Ease of Use
Photography Life Overall Rating