You know what’s more important than the subject of the photo? Its the background of the photo. By background, I mean the surface or area on or in front of which the subject is placed. So what makes a good background?
- A good background supports the subject and brings out the best in it
- A good background makes the subject pop against it
- A good background highlights the subjects whereas a poor background distracts and pulls away from the subject
Not only that, but backgrounds also help in brand recognition. How? I have had so many people say that they identify my photos because of my distressed white wooden background. Using a white background for all my styled photos definitely helps people identify my photos and relate with my brand.
So now that we know what a good background is, where we can find them? Here are 12 backdrop ideas for your Instagram and blog photos and guess what? They are all under $20!
12 Photography Backdrop Ideas for less than $20:
1. Foam/Poster boards ( $1 – $3) :
This is by far the most efficient and my most used photo background. Just go to your local craft store and pick up white foam or poster boards for $1 a piece. You can use a couple of these side-by-side to cover a larger area. These poster boards provide with crisp white backgrounds for your photos and they are super cost efficient too.
2. Colored backgrounds ($3 – $7):
Want colored backdrops? Again, poster boards. You can get these in different colors too. Another fantastic idea would be to make these colored backgrounds in your brand colors. How? Its really easy. Get paint in your brand colors from Home depot or Benjamin Moore and paint over the white poster boards. Tada! You have colored backdrops that perfectly coordinate with your brand. Perfect for Instagram! Here is a tutorial to help you get colored backgrounds.
3. Textured Cloth and Fabrics:
I absolutely love using clothes and fabrics as backgrounds for my photos. And no you don’t have to buy them, just look around in your house. Curtains, table cloths, bedsheets, throws, carpets, scarves – anything thats around you. Fabrics add interest to the photo through their texture, patterns and color. If you want to pick some printed fabrics, you can check out Jo-Ann’s fabric store – they have a huge collection of printed fabrics that you can use for your photos, a 1.5m cloth would be more than enough.
4. Interesting walls:
Have you checked out Sugar and Cloth’s color wall? I was blown away by their idea of painting a wall in their town with colors to use as backdrop for photos. Now of course, for those of us who don’t live in Houston we don’t have that option. But hey! there are interesting walls everywhere. I can actually see one right outside my window. Keep an eye out for interesting walls that make attractive backgrounds for your photos. Stone walls, brick walls, colored walls are all great backgrounds for Instagram photos, especially if you are a fashion or travel blogger.
5. DIY Distressed wooden boards ( $10 – $20):
This is my go-to signature photo backdrop. This one’s close to my heart as it is what I started shooting photos on at first. And guess what? You can make this at home! I wrote a tutorial on how to make distressed wooden boards for photo backdrops right here.
6. Wrapping + gift paper ($5 – $10):
Take me to a stationery store and its hard to get me out of there. You can find amazing photography props and backgrounds in your local stationery shop. One of my favorites is wrapping paper. You can pick out some pretty wrapping paper that you can click photos on. Make sure the wrapping paper doesnt have extremely flashy or busy patterns. Simple and minimal would be perfect!
7. Magazines and books:
Why let the beautiful glossy sheets of your Allure magazine go waste? Use it as a background for your Instagram photos. You can even use book covers and newspapers to amp up your photos.
8. Faux fur ($15 – $20):
Recently I got a faux fur rug from Ikea which I think is amazing for taking photos on. You can use faux fur to give your photos an airy, light feel. Plus its soft, warm and cosy – what more can you ask for!
9. Seamless background paper ($10- $15):
If you are photographing large flatlays, you might want a fairly large sized backdrop. In such cases, you can use seamless white paper that you can find on amazon here. Just roll it out while you are taking photos and spread it out to cover how much ever area you need. Once you are done, you can roll it back and store it away compactly. If you are working in small spaces, this is the best way to turn your space into a studio! Here is a complete tutorial on how to set up a home studio using seamless white paper.
10. Tiles ($2 – $5):
If you go to a home improvement store like Lowe’s or Home depot you can find tiles that make amazing photo backgrounds. You can buy these tiles in singles for just $2 – $5. Just be careful while handling them as are they are brittle and heavy and are prone to breaking easily.
11. Contact paper ($10 – $15):
You can buy contact paper off of amazon , stick it to a poster board and call it an awesome photo backdrop. You can get contact paper in various textures and patterns like marble, stained wood, fun prints. Here is an easy tutorial on how to use contact paper for photo backgrounds.
12. Just print it out ($10- $15):
Easiest way to get fancy backgrounds for cheap? Just download an image on google and print it out. For example if you want a marble background, just look up google for marble background and download an image that is atleast 1000px wide. You can get this printed out and stick it on a foam board and voila! you have a lovely marble background for your photos. Here’s a detailed tutorial on how to print out photo backdrops using this method.
Woo! There you go, my complete list of photo backdrops for awesome Instagram and blog photos. Let me know if you try any of these, I’d love to see.