No one wants to spend an entire photography session using just one backdrop, but is $125 for a piece of fabric really necessary? If the cost of building your backdrop collection has gotten you all worked up, settle down and channel your inner craftiness. There are a lot of DIY photography backdrop solutions that can be made from things which are likely already lying around the house or for about $25 worth of supplies from the local hardware store. Here are eight DIY photography backdrop projects from around the web that you don’t have to head to a specialty photography store for.
Are you for curtain—err, certain?
Image: U Create Crafts
If you have large curtains in your house, you may already have an excellent backdrop without even knowing it. Becky at U Create offers instructions on creating a backdrop from curtains. She used a bead board to help arrange the curtain into a backdrop, but you could also use a backdrop stand or just about anything that you can drape fabric over. The best things about this backdrop are both that it’s simple and that it was crafted from things you might already have lying around the house.
Bokeh for a buck
Image: Marvelous Mommy
Have some old Christmas lights and a large room? Then you have a backdrop. Amy over at Marvelous Mommy explained her process to create a bokeh backdrop for portraits. There are probably a zillion different ways to hang the lights on the wall, but the key after that is to put distance between the lights and the subject (it will also help to use a fast lens with a wide-open aperture). Easy peasy.
A backdrop full of hot air
Balloons and birthdays go together like peas and carrots (or Forrest Gump and Jenny, whichever you prefer). Why not combine the two and use balloons as a backdrop for a birthday or special-occasion portrait session? The idea comes from Drew B. over at Momtog.com, who taped a rainbow of balloons to the wall for colorful birthday images of her son. There are plenty of ways to customize this idea too, by using different colors or creating patterns with the balloons.
Source: Lovely Indeed
Stripes are in—and an easy way to put them in your pictures is to use party streamers, like Chelsea from Lovely Indeed. Party streamers are cheap, disposable, lightweight—there’s a lot to love about this idea. It’s more suitable for headshots, since it would be tricky to trim the ends neatly enough for a wider photo, though having them just touch a nice wood floor isn’t a bad idea either. Mix and match different colors for the look you’re going after.
Hello, wrapping paper!
Image: Mrs. Beach Bride
If the subject is small, why not use something that’s inexpensive, colorful and that comes in any pattern imaginable? This has been done many times before, but Megan over at Mrs. Beach Bride found a clever way to hang rolled paper for a backdrop with two Command hooks, a curtain rod and some string. Wrapping paper isn’t very wide, so it’s limited to close-up portraits or product shots, but it’s still a clever way to change up the background on a limited budget.
A blanket approach
Image: I Heart Faces
Meet the simplest on our list of DIY backdrops—a baby blanket draped over a crib. Simple? Yes. Genius? For sure. Budding photographers or photographers who don’t specialize in portraits, but who want to take pictures of their youngsters don’t have to drop a couple hundred dollars on a backdrop combo. The why-didn’t-I-think-of-that backdrop comes from Amy Locurto over at I Heart Faces (be sure to click the link; her final images are excellent).
The hardware store special
Image: Welcome To The Mouse House
Okay, so you probably don’t have all these items lying around your house, but Haley from Welcome To The Mouse House published an excellent tutorial on creating a backdrop and flooring for about $25 in supplies that are readily available at any hardware store. She covered a board with shelf liner, then added in a baseboard and a pre-painted beadboard for the flooring, then viola! a complete photography backdrop set.
Don’t set the table just yet…
Image: Easy Peasy Pie
You’d never know from looking at the images by Kim at Easy Peasy Pie that the beautiful wall is actually a tablecloth. She added in a pre-painted baseboard and a bamboo floor rug for a complete set. If you’re just starting out, you’ll want to check out her instructions on a DIY backdrop stand too.