When styling images, there are many elements to consider. This includes the products, lighting, composition and, the photography backdrops.
If you’re tired of using the same backdrop for all your photos then there are lots of options available.
Look around your home; take a trip to the art store or local hardware store.
Here are some of my current backdrops and the pros and cons of each.
The Best Photography Backdrops
1. Vinyl backgrounds
Vinyl backgrounds have definitely come a long way. I bought some vinyl backdrops some time ago but wasn’t that impressed with the quality. The visibility of the grain was definitely off-putting.
I watched a video recently from a photographer who recommended Capture by Lucy. Lucy lives in the UK and I am sometimes reluctant to buy props from overseas. But, after watching the video endorsement, I knew I had to get my hands on these backdrops!
These digitally printed photography backdrops are ah-mazing!
The large-scale backdrops are printed on a smooth and durable vinyl. They roll nicely for storage and lay flat when removed from the tube.
Lucy has an extensive range of designs. These include a marble version, floorboards style, painted textures, concrete floors and more.
- Realistic and authentic printed textures
- Printed on anti-curl material
- Smooth finish
- Costs approximately AUD$50 per design
- Some vinyl backdrop providers print on a textured vinyl showing the grains.
2. Painted MDF Board
If you want an original design or a specific colour for your backdrop, you can paint your own! If you are not so handy with a paintbrush, you can also buy pre-painted MDF boards.
I purchased my background from Angony (FoodBackgrounds) in Melbourne.
Painted backgrounds are great as the table surface or as the wall surface in a photo.
- Unique designs
- You can use them for the wall or table surface
- Since it’s paint you have to be careful with spills and working with food.
- The MDF can warp so it doesn’t lay flat.
- The one I have purchased was around the $100 mark – not cheap.
3. White-coated Masonite Sheet
These sheets are available from your local hardware store. I purchased a 2440mm x 1200mm board and cut in half for free from Bunnings. The board is easy-to-clean making it perfect for food layouts. It’s also a nice bright white for those who like a brilliant white background.
- It’s cheap – around $36 for a sheet.
- Brilliant white colour
- They are also great to use to as a reflector to bounce light.
- The surface is a little shiny and reflective. Keep this in mind when lighting your products.
4. VJ Panel Boards
These boards are another great find from the hardware store! These wall or ceiling panels make a great flat table or wall surface. It’s perfect for that modern interior look for lifestyle and product shots.
- Great modern style
- You can easily wipe it clean
- Pre-primed so you can leave as-is or paint over the top.
- The primer is more of a cream than a brilliant white. If you want a brighter white then you will need to paint over the top or lighten the background when editing. I spray-painted mine white so that there was less to do in post-production.
- The backdrop is 2400mm x 1200mm – not so good if you are short on space.
- It’s on the heavier side.
5. Contact on Perspex
One of the cheapest ways to create photography backdrops is to use contact. Contact is available in a variety of colours and patterns. See how I created a marble background for less than $25.
You can use contact MDF board, or my preference acrylic cast sheets. These sheets are sturdy, lightweight and clear.
- Limited by the width of the contact
6. Coloured Cardboard
There’s no cheaper backdrop than some coloured sheets of cardboard. These instantly add a pop of colour to any layout.
The great thing about cardboard is that it’s easy to find and there is a large range of colours to choose from.
Tip: To keep your cardboard from getting bent and creased at home, use a coat hanger to hold them all together.
- Large selection of colour
- Marks and creases easily
- Doesn’t last very long before it gets damaged
7. Blankets, Throws and Faux Fur
Throws and blankets add texture and layers to a shot. I must admit – I do love adding a bit of faux fur to my images!
You can also use bed sheets, duvet covers, tablecloths, and cushion covers. The list is endless.
- All the items are available in your home.
- You may need to iron the props!
8. Kitchen or Bathroom Tiles
If you are lucky you may already have gorgeous tiles in your home or studio. If not, often you can get sample tiles from your local tiling store.
Tiles are great for a wall background when taking food shots or home décor images.
They are also great as a table surface.
- There are hundreds of tiling surfaces to choose from.
- The biggest con with the sample tiles is that they are HEAVY! You can achieve the same look with vinyl or a painted surface.
Once you start looking around your home, you’ll be surprised how many things you can use as backdrops. You can use existing furniture, bedheads, carpet, rugs, serving trays, cutting boards and more. The list is endless!
Over to you
What’s one of your favourite photography backdrops? Let me know in the comments below.
If you like this post, please share and let me know your favourite backgrounds.
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