Choosing a background for a photo shoot is serious business. While a seamless paper background is only one color, the color you choose will affect your finished product either positively or negatively. Choose too conservatively, your subject looks boring. Throw too much caution to the wind, and you'll come off as garish.
In the famous "player's speech" from Hamlet, William Shakespeare urges actors to "suit the action to the word, the word to the action." This advice is not only wise when it comes to acting, but translates into various other artistic endeavors as well, including graphic arts and photography.
Different colors evoke not only different moods, but different personalities. When the right color is chosen for a certain subject, it appears that the subject is floating within it's natural habitat. The personality of the subject and the color fuse seamlessly as if the two simply belong together.
The most common seamless background color is white. It is often chosen because it gives off an airy or pure feeling, and appears clean. Because it reflects light so well, using white as a backdrop is a great way to isolate a subject and let it shine. White truly goes with everything, and is also flexible and allows an artist to change their mind. By placing colored gels over a light source you can experiment with different colors and change your mood on any given day.
Black is also a very versatile color that will compliment almost any subject, but instead of evoking a clean and pure feeling, a black background implies a completely different story. With a black background there is a sense of mystery or even danger in whatever you are photographing. Just because a color matches doesn't mean it is the right choice for a seamless background. For example, a newborn baby bird would not typically sit well upon a black background, but the talons of a hawk might suit the background perfectly as it represents a potential for danger.
Browns and tans are also often chosen as a background because of their neutral nature. The colors themselves match almost anything, although careful attention should be made to the mood that these colors give off. Browns are earthy colors and are often seen as conveying s sense of dependability, like a sturdy oak, or a UPS package. In the case of brown and tan backgrounds, the subjects need to "pop" a little, suggesting they are more important than the background.
Gray is a color that is also chosen for it's neutrality. It goes well with both bright colors and pastels, and like white it allows for quite a bit of flexibility with the lighting. Images can be framed in what looks like a lighter gray in order to draw the viewer's eye to the center of the image and give your subject the attention it deserves.
While black and white and various neutral colors are all safe options for seamless paper backgrounds, some people prefer to have a little more pizazz. In these cases brighter and bolder colors can be the perfect fit. The most difficult to pull off is purple, as it implies power, royalty, and luxury. It also carries and creative and magical element, making it the perfect backdrop for your favorite wizard.
Red is another bold choice, and has been known to have a energetic element built in. In some cases it can be motivating, or it can evoke anger, hunger or passion. When choosing red, there should definitely be some kind of message in mind, and the subject, whether it be a person or an object, should be strong enough to carry it.
Green is commonly associated with earth and environmental themes. It is a common color to evoke hope, safety and social consciousness. It is also known to have a calming affect. It's a great choice for graduation pictures as the young subjects are getting ready to move forward and grow in their lives.