5 Photography Backdrops That Are Easy to Set Up

So, you have decided you have a knack for photography and decided it is time to create your portfolio. Every portfolio requires a few portraits, baby shots, group shots, and a few cute kids for safe measure. However, purchasing backdrops, renting out studios, or even taking a drive out to find hot spots around town can all be time-consuming and expensive.

This piece was researched and written by guest author D. Scott Carruthers, a fellow photographer who has been making excellent use of backdrops since helping his mother photograph work projects in middle school, check out his work for examples of well-done backdrops.

Scout Your Home

All is not lost though, it is easy to set up a photography square in your home by using a few simple tools for creating a backdrop. Before you begin, scout out your home for the best lighting. Choose a wall or setting across the room from a large window, this will ensure the best indoor lighting.

1 – Hang a Curtain Around a Door

The first option, which may be the easiest for those just starting out, is hanging a curtain of one simple color around a door. Place the curtain over the top of the door, pull the curtain tight as you close the door, and you’ve got a solid color backdrop. The best part of this idea is that most bedroom doors are directly across from the bedroom window, which means the lighting will be perfect without odd adjustments. You want a solid color so that your subject’s clothing won’t clash with any patterns in the backdrop.

2 – Drape a Blanket Over a Chair

If you have a large window in the living room, try draping a blanket over the back of a wide chair. Position the chair so the back is to the window, and clean the blanket to remove any lint or stray pet hairs that will show up and ruin the photo. This would be a great set up for young toddlers, as you can get down to their level and zoom in for a close shot. For a little extra something special, choose a blanket that will flatter your subject’s eyes, this small change will really help the features pop. ✨

3 – Options for Newborns

For newborns, they are best when wrapped in their parents’ arms. For some comfortable and adorable newborn photos, choose a nice, textured blanket for the parent to wrap over their shoulder and around the baby. Zoomed in, and with the right angles, the parents disappear out of frame in the photo, and the baby is left as the center of attention. Don’t focus on any props around the baby, props deter from the main focus: adorable little newborns.

4 – Don’t Forget The Garage

Of course, you could convert a section of your garage by adding a large, rolling backdrop. Opening the garage door provides the perfect lighting and a garage would give the best amount of space for getting group photos, or individual adults with specific props they may be interested in using during their shoot. Drops come in different colors, although white is typically the most popular, do not be afraid of branching out into grays, browns, or even cream.

If your garage isn’t facing the best direction for lighting, invest in a few lights to set up around the rolling backdrop; this will definitely add a bit of professional flavor to the overall setup.

5 – A Perfect Setup for Smaller Items

Perhaps the object of your photography is not people, and you are looking for a backdrop that is more flattering for small items. In this case, take a high foldable table and place it close to a window. Next, take a large roll of butcher paper and pull out enough to hand from the ceiling, over the table, and down to the floor. With a few pieces of foam board, box in the lighting leaving only the front of the table, and the side closest to the window uncovered. Now, you’ve got an object box that is perfect for anything you may be photographing. This would be ideal for those who are selling items online and want to display their items in their most glorious angle.

Unleash Limitless Potential

Any starting up photographer can use these backdrops while they explore their newly budding talents. With the right lighting, the right color combinations, and testing which angles you prefer for your subjects, all new photographers will unleash their potential through these easy-to-set-up backdrops.

Remember to clean, iron, lint roll, and test the backdrop before any photoshoot so that you are fully prepared when your subject arrives.

D. Scott Carruthers is a fellow photographer who has been making excellent use of backdrops since helping his mother photograph work projects in middle school, check out his work for examples of well-done backdrops.

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  • Sivan Gavish

    Such great tips!!! Is it weird that I want a baby just so that I can do a photoshoot with them…lol! I need to remember to iron more of my clothes before I go out and shoot. WHoops!!

    I will definitely be back. XO

    Happy Holidays,
    Sivan | http://www.theolivebrunette.com

    • I’m sure you can borrow a baby from a friend, and then return them when they get fussy, hahaha! 😉

  • Marissa Pedersen

    That’s such a good tip for newborns! I never thought of that before.

  • These are all such good ideas! I need to start using more backdrops for more indoor shoots.

  • This is just the post I needed. I have been looking to up my photography game in 2018. Awesome tips!

  • Since starting my blog three years ago, I have become quite creative and resourceful when it comes to backdrops. I shoot food, but many of the same principles apply.

    • When I take pictures of food, the most important point (for me) is access to natural light! And lots of it.

  • Lavanda Michelle

    this is very helpful. I been blogging nearly 4 months and this will help with my photos ,i love it all.