In the quest to get the perfect photos, a lot of people stress over backgrounds. I see why- but I am going to let a big, huge secret out of the bag. I don’t usually pay a lot of attention to my backgrounds. In fact, most of the backgrounds I use for blog photography are objects around my house- my front porch railing, an old whiskey barrel we have outside on our porch, concrete steps, our kitchen table, etc. But today I am going to show you some awesome Photo Backgrounds You Can Make for Under $10!
Awesome photo backgrounds… for under $10. And when I say “make” them, I really mean lay them down and position your subject on them! So… who is ready to get started with me?
First off, let me say that my favorite style of photography isn’t overly staged. I like my subject to shine, and like to keep backgrounds clean, uncluttered, and not distracting. This isn’t everyone’s style – but when you’ve spent forever learning about aperture, white balance, how to shoot in manual mode, and take your shots to the next level- why clutter them all up with a background that takes focus off of what you’re taking a picture of?
Of course, this is totally preference- but if you look on craft gawker, food gawker, pinterest, and other sharing sites that promote blogs, simple and clean photos tend to get the most attention. And that is a good thing- because it is less work and less to worry about!
First off, I am going to share my FAVORITE two backgrounds… a simple white and black/chalkboard background. They are classic, timeless, and always on trend.
And they can be difficult to get a true white or a deep black while taking shots (like in the ones I used below)…. unless you know this awesome trick!
So what’s the deal?
Well…. you can find my favorite backgrounds at Home Depot. For real. For just $5!!! If you head to the lumber section, there are often 3×5 boards pretreated with white erase and chalkboard surfaces. They aren’t always in stock, since they aren’t a brand name item, but you can usually find them or ask if they can treat some discounted lumber for you.
You could also check a local thrift store for a (clean) chalkboard or white board surface- they both photograph beautifully and are so true to color!
So, now that you have good ideas for black and white backgrounds, you can start looking for some other good backgrounds for your photography.
One of my favorite backgrounds for food is a beat up baking pan. I bought a super cheap pan at a grocery store, cooked a few greasy things on it, and let it sit out with water overnight to give it a rusty look. Basically, I made it ugly. And now it is GORGEOUS in photos! I can’t photograph objects from far away on it, or you’d see the edges, but it is fantastic for food and craft shots that are closeup. It has a cool marbled look- from a discolored, cheap grocery store pan.
DON’T TOSS OLD COOKIE SHEETS- save them for photos! Really!
I also use a whiskey barrel that we bought from a local brewery a while ago and just keep as decor. You can find these pretty inexpensively on craigslist (and they make AWESOME party tables!) or you can make a similar look by staining some lumber and drilling (or even gluing) them together. I grab wood from the cull pile all the time at Home Depot and Lowes and then paint or stain it to get the look I want. You can easily make a worn wood, chippy paint, or dark stained look that works perfectly for photos!
Now that you’ve seen some of my favorite cheap (or free!!) backgrounds, it’s time to search around your house and see what you can find- or head to the hardware store or thrift shop and starting gathering new ideas!
Other awesome things around your house (or can be bought for under $10) you can use as a photo background:
-Fabric- iron and drape it for a pretty patterned background
-Cutting boards, 2x4s or other wood surfaces
-Cut apart cardboard boxes and paint or spray paint different colors
– CLEAN cement steps or a patio (dirt does not add charm to photos, but a clean looking concrete is a great neutral background)
-Brick patios (again- clean is key here)
What are some of your favorite creative photo backgrounds? What is your most unusual background that you LOVE working with?