Tired of the same old white backdrop photos? A colourful background can make your photos pop, and save them from looking dull.
You can invest in professional backdrops or use simple textures outdoors. Or you can create your own DIY photo backdrop.
DIY photo backdrops will give you a lot of creative control and make your photos look stunning. From a birthday party photo shoot to a newborn session, these are useful anywhere.
Here are 12 affordable and easy DIY photo backdrop ideas you can use in your photo studio or at home shoot.
12. Taped (Dried) Flowers
The dried flowers in this image perfectly complement the pink wall. When you organise your flowers, make sure they’ll look good behind your subject. Clashing colours, like bright orange and poison yellow, will look too distracting.
Taping flowers to a wall might seem like a waste, especially if your photoshoot will last for a long time. Instead of buying a fresh bouquet, use dried flowers. These will create an interesting backdrop.
You can even use branches, leaves, or grass. In a pinch, try paper flowers.
You can remove any tape in Photoshop. And if your background is blurry, you don’t have to worry about the tape.
If you’re not interested in using tape, you can hang the flowers on strings. Make sure the strings match the colour of the wall to make it seem like your flowers are floating.
Or you can show off your DIY work using simple brown strings. For portraits, either approach will work. And for a bridal shower photoshoot, flowers would look very lovely indeed.
You can even add them to creative, moody food photography.
11. Creased Tin Foil
Creased tin foil and neon lights work wonderfully together. You can light up the tin foil with a torch and a colour filter. This is a great way to experiment with different colour combinations and lighting effects. It will also make your photos look positively otherworldly!
On its own, tin foil can make a great silvery backdrop. If you crease it, you’ll create more texture and bokeh. This will make your subject stand out. It’s different from using plain old creased wrapping paper. Tin foil will add a nice shiny effect in your photos.
Be careful when you light your subject. Tin foil reflects light. This means that it might look too distracting if you work with bright light sources like studio lights.
A DIY tin foil backdrop will work best with soft natural light, like window light during the day.
10. Colourful Cut-Out Tissue Paper
Coloured tissue paper is usually cut into circles to create fun polka dot backdrops.
You can use coloured tissue paper or any other kind of coloured fabric that’s easy to cut.
Cut out different shapes and tape them to a wall.
Coloured tissue paper is ideal for photos of children, events, and children’s products. It can also be used to create funny self-portraits.
You might be working with children in your photoshoot. This can be a great opportunity to let them create their own DIY photo backdrop!
If you use the shapes that they make, your portraits will look very personal and creative.
9. Easy Curtain Stretch
I used tape to take this series of photos, but it didn’t hold on for long. This wasn’t a problem because my shoot was a quick experiment. If you’re planning to take photos for at least an hour, use something more reliable, like string and a nail, to hold your curtain in places.
This is the cheapest and easiest DIY photo backdrop idea. All you have to do is stretch a curtain away from a window and tape it to a wall. Though this won’t look pretty from a distance, it will look unusual up close.
Stretching the curtain away will create folds and textures. And it gives you some control over the light you work with. The closer you are to the window, the brighter your subject and the backdrop will appear.
Once you’re done, all you’ll have to do is to put your curtain back in its place. No cleanup needed!
You can also use your shower curtain, if it’s particularly colourful.
8. Fairy Lights Arrangement
Artificial light is perfect for lighting up portraits. Working with unusual lights like this will help you take interesting portraits in all kinds of lighting situations.
Fairy lights are festive, very easy to work with and appeal to the eye. If you enjoy working with vibrant bokeh, you’ll love this DIY photo backdrop.
Before you arrange the fairy lights, you have to create supports for them to hang on. I used tiny nails in the photo above. Once the supports are ready, you can place the lights in a random way. Or use them to create special shapes, like hearts. It all depends on your creative preferences!
The best thing about fairy lights is that you can use them at any time of day.
Do you want to improve your nighttime photography skills? Take photos in a dark room that’s lit by fairy lights only. This will add a vintage look to your images. And you can also go for a bokeh effect!
Keep an eye out for holiday-themed balloons in your local store. These balloons were made specifically for Halloween parties and helped me take fine art portraits.
Balloons are another fun DIY project that’s perfect for both kids and adults. You can stack them on top of each other, let them float, or place a few behind your subject.
A balloon photo backdrop doesn’t have to be used for joyful photos only. It can be a great addition to a fine art portrait.
If you use neutral-coloured balloons (e.g. grey), you’ll be able to create a melancholic atmosphere. If you use vibrant balloons, you’ll give out feelings of warmth and happiness.
6. Hanging Bed Sheets
To create this portrait, I hung a large patterned scarf over a folding screen.
This simple backdrop idea will help you see potential in things you’ve never notice before. If you have a clothes line, you can create gorgeous DIY photography backgrounds within minutes.
Hang some colourful fabric and shoot away! You don’t even need a backdrop stand for this.
And you can use anything from bed sheets to scarves, clothes and even tablecloths. Yes, plastic tablecloths included.
These will complement your subject and add a pop of colour to your background
5. Photoshopped Textures and Bokeh
I used a free photo of bokeh to enhance this image. Without the extra photo, my portrait looked too simple. If you like a certain texture but it doesn’t complement your photo in terms of colours, you can convert your image to black & white to even out the tones.
If you have Photoshop or any other editing program, you can use it to enhance simple backgrounds. Take a photo in front of a simple backdrop, such as a white wall, and Photoshop in your favourite textures and bokeh.
You can create your own resources. Or download free images from a website like Unsplash.
Though creating resources is fun, try working with other people’s creations. Browsing through hundreds of photos might inspire you in unimaginable ways.
4. Your Own Work of Art
If you don’t enjoy traditional painting methods, you can add a photo of a painting (or digitally paint your own) to your image. This will give your photos a fine art photography feel.
Why not combine several interests for the sake of photography? You don’t need to be a professional painter to create beautiful backdrops.
You can create abstract pieces or paint on a few layers of a neutral colour. This is your chance to create the backdrop of your dreams!
Once your painting is ready, photograph it from different angles. Store your results in a folder with other DIY resources.
These will come in handy when you work on diptychs and double exposures. Or any other kind of creative project that requires several photos.
3. Holiday Streamers
Streamers can also look great in closeup portraits.
When blurred, gold streamers look like long strings of bokeh. Like the tin foil idea, this project is perfect for those who love working with lots of bokeh.
Either hang your streamers or tape them to a wall. To create as much bokeh as possible, make sure your subject is at least half a metre away from your backdrop.
The holidays are coming up. Gold streamers will look amazing in Christmas-themed photos, especially portraits. They’re also great for festive product photos, fun pet portraits or baby shower pictures.
2. Paper Chains
If you often work with children, paper chains can be a great way to nurture their creativity and improve your own photography skills.
Though this is the most time-consuming DIY idea on this list, it’s worth all the hard work. Paper chains will make gorgeous foregrounds and backgrounds. You can use these to enhance almost any kind of photo.
To avoid spending hours on a single paper chain, have someone help you. This can become a fun family or school project. You can cut out animal shapes, create snowflakes (for fun Christmas snaps!) or create a banner with names. You can even paint the paper chains to add a pop of colour to your backdrops.
For an even more interesting effect, hang your paper chains in front of a black wall. The black and white contrast will look amazing in monochrome portraits.
You don’t need to have this many newspapers to create an appealing backdrop. Even a couple of large ones will do. Of course, if you do have access to this much paper, make the most of it!
Newspapers aren’t for reading only. If you have a few spare ones, spread them out on a wall and use them as a monochrome paper backdrop. The blurrier the are, the more interesting your photographs will look.
If they’re super sharp, people might start reading the news and not admire your photo.
If you have a lot of newspapers, you can stack them on top of each other until they resemble a wall. This, too, you can use as an interesting backdrop.
If you know how to make the most of your resources, you’ll be able to create stunning DIY photography backdrops out of anything. This will make your creative projects both challenging and fun.
You’ll be able to enhance your portfolio with stunning creations. Your photos will no longer look the same.
Every single creation will feature exciting backdrops. Even the least observant viewer will be impressed.
Working on these DIY backdrops will also increase your self-confidence. Knowing how much you’re capable of will inspire you to experiment, persist, and grow.
And in this process, your work will bloom.
For more creative background ideas, check our articles on creating a DIY photo booth or pure white background.
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