Ultraviolet Workshop Series- Introduction to Hand-Painted Backdrops

Ultraviolet Studios Workshop Series Presents

Introduction to Painted Backdrops

$399- December 16th 10 am- 3 pm

The world’s greatest portrait photographers know that a compelling image is the result of careful consideration of both foreground and background. From Penn to Lebowitz, master photographers utilize custom backdrops to achieve timeless, stand-out images. 

Hand-painted backdrops are a dynamic asset with endless possibilities of technique, layering, color, texture, light, size, and weathering. Whether you’re a photo hobbyist or commissioned professional, investing in hand-painted backdrops elevates the creative experience for both you and your clients. 

Ultraviolet Studios, “Introduction to Painted Backdrops” is a beginning workshop that will guide you through a step-by-step process of creating a painted backdrop that is exclusively yours. By providing all necessary supplies, tools, and tips in a welcoming atmosphere of experimentation, you will be free to explore the techniques and nuances of this historic medium (we will even clean up your mess when you’re done)! 

This intimate course (only 6 seats available) is created for the photographer who seeks an increased professional mastery recognizing that custom creative assets are necessary to curating an impactful, fine-art portfolio. 

This Workshop Includes: 

  • Supplies, space, and tools to create your very own custom 6’x10′ hand-painted canvas backdrop.

  • Step-by-step guidance and creative support to help you avoid costly mistakes while allowing you to explore and experiment with the arts of texture, vignette, and blending.
  • A 1 hour gift certificate to Ultraviolet Studios ($75 value)

Process Details 

  • Backdrops require up to 12 hours of dry time. Participants will pick up their dried backdrop from Ultraviolet Studios the following day, Monday, December 16th.   

  • Participants are encouraged to wear clothing and shoes that can be “ruined” as some techniques involve spraying, splattering, blending, and brushing. Participants will take the measures for clothing protection as they desire. We have a changing area and restroom on-site if needed. 

  • All supplies will be purchased and curated 3 weeks before the workshop. While your workshop space may be gifted to another participant, the workshop is non-refundable and non-transferrable.  

CASE STUDY- Ashley Thalman Photography

I guided my partner, Ashley Thalman, through my step-by-step process as she wanted to add a backdrop to her portrait tool arsenal. Ashley created a unique dual-sided backdrop that she was able to use the very next day as she photographed her clients at Ultraviolet Studios. Here’s what she had to say about the creation and integration of her backdrop into her process:

“Sometimes no matter how badly I want to try something the seemingly never-ending shopping lists, supply research, time, and risk keep me from trying new things. As I have been working to deepen my niche by providing high-value, fine art portrait experiences for women, I realize over and over that experimentation, the “just do it” tenacity of stepping into the unknown is always rewarded, and usually in the most Ultraviolet and unexpected ways.

As I was planning a portrait event, I began by relying on my old, tried and true systems and set-ups; simple backdrops, paper sweeps, outdoor locations, and painted studio walls. But my artistry, clients, and business deserved a new layer, a new level of attention, experimentation, and elevation. Enter hand-painted backdrops.

Under Matthew’s instruction I created a versatile asset that brought a new dimension to my portrait experience. Matthew was prepared with all the needed supplies, set-up, and tips to empower my creative experience (I hate shopping) and, after a few hours of water, paint, brush, blend, laugh, worry, and work, I had a beautiful backdrop drying under a fan. When I returned to the studio the next morning I was struck the unforeseen nuances of the finished backdrop. While providing a timeless, dramatic quality the backdrop is also strikingly unique. The experience of creating a backdrop, as well as (and most importantly) the finished product made the investment of time and effort well worth it. I now have an entirely mobile asset that is, like all great photos are, impossible to duplicate.  

The possibilities of using the backdrop on both sides (an unexpected bonus) layering it with other backdrops, and shooting to accentuate or mute the backdrop are literally endless. I have already begun planning the color palate for my next 20 canvases.”


The experience of creating a backdrop…made the investment of time and effort well worth it. I now have an entirely mobile asset that is, like all great photos are, entirely impossible to duplicate. 


Fine art portrait photography has always intrigued me. For years I tried to duplicate the fine art look by creating backdrops in photoshop. While I had a lot of success with this process and my approach to it, the workflow nearly bankrupted my time.

In this introductory workshop I hope to share a little of my obsession for this style, empower the attendees creative genius, and help you level-up your creativity by making your own, one-of-a-kind hand-painted backdrop.