Replica Surfaces Review – Realistic Photography Backgrounds That Pop
When I moved my photography indoors, I had to overcome a lot of new obstacles. One of those obstacles was getting shots I liked with backgrounds and backdrops that complimented my products instead of distracting from them. I began collecting tiles and papers that I liked, but the papers were never quite large enough and the tiles were heavy and difficult to store.
I found myself dreading photoshoots simply because I did not want to trek out into the garage, heave a giant stone tile into the house, clean it off, shoot my photos, and then drag it back. And that is when I discovered Replica Surfaces.
All the products seen here were purchased by yours truly. The opinions stated below are my own, and I have not received any sponsorship or free products from the aforementioned manufacturers. This post may contain affiliate links and purchases made using those links may support DFW Craft Shows at no additional cost to you.
I came across Replica Surfaces in a facebook group right as they had launched, and I was instantly intrigued. First of all, Replica Surfaces is based out of Dallas, Texas. Enough said, right? You know how I love my local businesses. But it wasn’t just that. Replica Surfaces aren’t like the other vinyl photography backgrounds/backdrops. They are rigid, mostly-matte surfaces that are stain and glare resistant.
Customer since 2019
I purchased my first Replica Surface in 2019. I purchased my most recent one in 2021. (It got here so fast, I wondered if the owner had just dropped by on her way to the grocery store.) So, please believe me when I say that I have been around the block with this product. I have watched the company grow, and I have seen their products develop into what they are today. This Replica Surfaces Review is full of honest opinions and long term experience with the product.
Everything you need to know
Replica Surfaces are:
- Stain Resistant
- 23″ X 23″
Replica Surfaces are NOT super shiny like some other photography backdrops. I call them “mostly-matte” because the surfaces do have a protective layer to help prevent scratching and stains. You can encounter some glare with the dark surfaces, but this can be negated with proper angles and flagging.
Replica Surfaces aren’t paper thin and they aren’t flexible, which means you don’t have to worry about wrinkles or ironing. They can be positioned free standing by leaning them up against your setup or using the Replica Surfaces stands. That means you don’t need any crazy frames or equipment to hang them up. And they only weigh a couple of pounds, so no more weight lifting for me.
All Replica Surfaces are the same size, 23″ by 23″ square. I have, for the most part, been happy with this size for the majority of my photoshoots. Once you get used to the key layouts and angles, you will find there is a lot you can get done within the size of your Replica Surface. There are certainly times I wish they were a little larger to give me a wider crop, especially when shooting 16:9 videos.
When I said hyper-realistic, what I mean is that these surfaces really do look convincingly like the surfaces they are meant to imitate. Don’t love your dining room table? Here’s a Replica Surface that looks like the table you always dreamed of, the cutting board you don’t actually own, the concrete you don’t really want to put your food on, or the giant heavy slab of marble you are tired of carrying around the house. There even are Replica Surfaces that imitate various bokehs, and they just introduced a lush window view as well.
If you deal with foodstuffs, you will love knowing that Replica Surfaces are “highly resistant to stains.” I can confirm that none of the foodstuffs that I have used (yet) have caused any kind of staining on my surfaces, and believe me when I say that I’ve made quite a mess on them.
I can verify, however, that if you allow your children to paint nearby and some enamel paint is spilled on the surface… and your husband panics and tries to clean it with paint thinner… it will indeed damage your surface. I am, uh, just throwing that out there for anyone who might benefit from this information.
Replica Surfaces can scratch, and a few of mine have. So far, all the scratches are small and easily obscured by staging, angles, or depth of field, as you can see above. The scratches have certainly not prevented me from purchasing new Replica Surfaces, but they have increased my level of caution and adjusted my expectations a bit. I hope you will benefit from the knowledge that they most certainly are not indestructible; Be aware of how your props and products might interact and adjust accordingly.
Replica Surfaces provides the following guidelines, “To clean mild messes, wipe with a damp, room temperature cloth or paper towel and dry promptly after each use.” For larger or more concentrated messes, they recommend cleaning with one of these approved cleaners:
- 409 Multi-Surface Cleaner
- Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day Multi-Surface
- Seventh Generation Disinfecting Multi-Surface
Nothing specialized, too fancy, or expensive. I already had Mrs. Meyer’s Multi-Surface laying around.
Again, do not use paint thinner. (laugh cry)
Availability and Purchasing
There are two kinds of Replica Surfaces: the permanent collection and the limited releases. Limited releases are just that, released in limited quantities and gone once they sell out. Sometimes they will bring them back later for another limited release, sometimes they bring them back permanently. You really never know, and you might spend a year sitting around waiting for that surface you missed out on. (insert nervous laughter)
For years, Replica Surfaces were only available directly on their website. As of March 12th, they have launched on Amazon as well. Here is what you need to know about these two different purchasing options:
Replica Surfaces Website
You can purchase Replica Surfaces individually from their catalog, The current pricing is $77 each. You can unlock considerable discounts when purchasing multiple surfaces at a time, but you must make sure to use their Bundler Tool. The Bundler Tool is the only screen where you will get discounts based on how many surfaces you are purchasing. Just FYI, you can’t go back and edit your bundle once you’ve added it to your cart. If you need to make a change, delete the bundle and start over.
When purchasing two or more Replica Surfaces, you will also get a free pair of stands. Replica Surfaces stands are just little blue clips that will hold your background and your backdrop together to make a tiny studio. (They recently came out with a portable Replica Surfaces studio that is a dedicated, adjustable flat surface with built in ridges to hold multiple Replica Surfaces. It has wheels and looks like an awesome flexible photography studio, but I have not had any personal experience with it.)
You can use our link for 15% off your Replica Surfaces purchase. Make sure you enter your email address in the popup to claim your discount, which they will send to your email. If you decide to go all out in The Bundler and purchase 5 surfaces or more, you can use their promo code “SURFACE5” for $60 off in additional to The Bundler discounts.
As of March 12th, you will be able to purchase Replica Surfaces directly on Amazon. These surfaces are first launching on Amazon, but should be available on the Replica Surfaces site later. I don’t know if that will always be the case. Replica surfaces on Amazon will not include the full catalog or bundle discounts. You can see the Replica Surfaces Amazon storefront here. Keep in mind that pricing gets wonky on Amazon when things sell out, and some of these surfaces sell out in 15 minutes. So if you see surfaces being listed for more than the typical price of $77, I would double check who is selling it.
Please note: You cannot use discount codes like the one I posted above on Amazon. You also cannot earn rewards like you can when purchasing directly on the Replica Surfaces site.
The owner of Replica, Mandy, is very involved in the Replica Surfaces VIP group and seems both very passionate and knowledgable about photography. I have always found her delightful. In general, any issues or concerns that I have had are usually addressed promptly and with the utmost level of compassion and kindness.
For an avid crafter, I sure do spend a lot of time baking and taking pictures of food. Haha just kidding, that’s the wrong conclusion, friends. Besides, you’ve already seen all of my crafting pictures on my crafting posts, right? Okay, so the real conclusion:
Replica Surfaces are great for elevating your photoshoots quickly and with ease. They do not take up a lot of space. They do not weigh a ton. And they do not require a lot of “prep” to get ready for a photoshoot. They do, however, require a certain level of care to prevent scratches. I believe this will be the case with any background/backdrop that is not protected by a glossy surface, so I am hesitant to weigh it against them. I do not think you can beat the quality of their products or their customer service.
I am exploring some additional options for when I have need of a surface that exceeds 23″. For example, I find this size to be a bit too restrictive for maker videos where I need to move around a larger area or demonstrate several tools at once. It is certainly possible to make it work though–you have probably seen them in several of my videos. I think it would be nice, though, to have a little more breathing room. Having said that, I will continue to purchase my photography backgrounds from Replica Surfaces. I simply do not think you can find a better quality or variety of surfaces anywhere else.
Drop down in the comments and let me know what you think of Replica Surfaces and what YOUR favorite photography background/backdrop is!