Photography Week: Photography Backdrop Ideas

 Welcome to Day 4 of Photography Week! Need to catch up?

Day 1: Getting to know your DSLR and Outdoor Photography
Day 2: Indoor Photography and the External Flash
Day 3: Vinyl Backdrops & a Giveaway

Yesterday we talked about vinyl photography backdrops. Vinyl backdrops are very common in the industry and produce great results but they are a little pricey. If you are not a full time photographer and want some alternatives the here’s a few photography backdrop ideas to get you started:

#1: Paper Backdrops: You can buy rolls of paper photography backdrops. The only set I have found was this Ella Bella 4 Pack on Amazon (affiliate link). For $38 you get pink dots, blue dots, a wood grain and damask. I think they photograph great but they are just paper so they will crease, tear, crumple, etc. if you aren’t careful. Overall though I think it’s a great deal and a fun way to add in some novelty backdrops without breaking the bank
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#2 Bulletin Board Paper: An even cheaper alternative is bulletin board paper which I found at Joanns in the school supply section. They are only $8 and you can use a coupon so I’ve picked up quite a few rolls for $4/piece. They have a few solids and then I also found clouds, wood grain and a beach motif.  They are a bit thinner than the Ella Bella backdrops but for $4 it’s definitely worth it
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#3 Fabric: Fabric also makes a great backdrop and the colors and print possibilities are endless. Most bolts are 44″ wide which will work well for 1-2 kids and then you’ll need enough yardage for however tall the child is. For sitting portraits 1 yard will be plenty. The 1 big downside is you’ll have to do some ironing 🙂 I haven’t played around with option a lot yet but I love using blankets for shots with my children lying down. Here I went with plain white but a printed quilt is always fun too
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#4 A Blank Wall: Have an empty wall in your house? Make use of it 🙂 Even if you don’t have nice floor in that area you can still use the wall for close-ups or you might be able to lay down something over the floor to pretty it up a bit. I took this on Will’s 1st birthday (before I owned my external flash) and the wall made a great backdrop. Much better than having our apartment clutter in the background
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#5: Your Furniture: Have a nice couch? Bed? Chair? They all have great potential as backdrops. And bonus they keep little ones contained 🙂 I could have done a better job of eliminating some background clutter here but for the most part the focus of this photo is on the kiddos and the chair. Had they been standing in the family room there would have been a lot more distracting elements in the photo
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What NOT do…
– Hang up a bed sheet: unless you are the world’s greatest ironer your background will end up looking exactly like what it is…a wrinkly sheet. No good 🙁
-Snap without looking around: Anytime you take a photo take 10 seconds to scoot all the clutter out of the shot. Even just changing your angle up a bit can get distracting items out of the shot to leave you with a frame worthy photo. Sure a closet door isn’t perfect but the focus of the photo is on that cute smile instead of the huge mess I shoved out of the frame
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– Forget to check your lighting: Even a cute backdrop won’t make-up for a poorly lit photo. Those distracting shadows will get you everytime…
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Come back tomorrow for the final day of Photography Week! We’ll be going over editing 🙂

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