Selecting backdrops is one the easiest ways to add personality and style to your photography or videography.  Whether you are shooting people or products, the backdrop behind your subject can make or break your image. Cluttered backgrounds are distracting and draw attention away from your subject.

Selecting a backdrop may seem like a relatively simple task. However, there are endless styles of backdrops available in different sizes, patterns, and materials.

Now if you’re into Checkers, there are plenty of options to create fantastic imagery. Since Checkers were people movers, this writer has found that placing a Checker in a period correct setting works best. There are really two great backdrops settings: rail museums and larger city passenger train station. Additionally, pairing up a Checker with a bus works well from transit-oriented image.

Here are a couple of photos of my Checkers taken over the years.  The header photo was taken at the National Automobile and Truck Museum (NATMUS).  Natmus has built a great backdrop for automotive photo sessions.  They have created a  vintage Gulf gas station.  The station has period correct signage and period vehicles that service as a perfect stage for a vintage automotive photo.

Checker World  Checker Car Club of America

Checker Model A4 at NATMUS Gulf station


The Illinois Rail Museum has a  working rail network,  including a beautiful train station.  In 2004, I was lucky enough to park my Checker A8 next to a restored Packard Clipper Taxicab. The perfect backdrop, the photo below was snapped, a vintage taxicab stand.


Also at the Illinois Rail Museum is a fantastic vintage bus collection, buses are a perfect backdrops for Checkers.  In the photo below, the Checker Model A4 was paired with a Chicago mid early fifties GM transit bus.  Converted to black and white, you can’t beat it. Shapes, lines, textures, and contrast within a black-and-white image are prominent. As a result, black-and-white is more likely than color to create an abstract visual. The more complete the tonal range, the more dynamic the image

Model A4 with a Chicago GM inner city transit bus


The real Toledo Amtrak station also serves as an excellent backdrop for the Checker.  The location provides an elegant Art Deco building and Emerson Zentz and his bus crew provided a great GM New look bus.

Another consideration is placing the Checker in front of a large architectural setting.  In the photo below, the Checker A2 was part at the based of a suspension, in this case the the Anthony Wayne Bridge. The Anthony Wayne Bridge, commonly called the High Level Bridge, was designed by Waddell & Hardesty and constructed by the McClintic-Marshall Company in 1931, and is a downtown Toledo, Ohio landmark named after General Anthony Wayne. It is a suspension bridge that spans the Maumee River.


The ICTA has a collection of over ten thousand Checker photos within our Facebook archive.  We’d love to see your Checker photos.  Better yet, why not join the ICTA and ad your photos to the archive?  Here’s a link.*F