Does your food photography need some TLC? The problem could be your backdrops. Here are three easy, cheap photography backdrops to help your food pics pop! This post may contain affiliate links.
As food bloggers, it’s not just important to show our readers how delicious our food is – nice food photos make for great content! My favorite food blogs have pics I love to look at and even get lost in. Looking at something delicious in an attractive, interesting setting is a good time. We all want our readers to have a good time when they’re visiting.
When I started taking food pictures, I didn’t always like the results I was getting. In fact, I rarely liked the results I was getting! My pictures weren’t very fun to look at, and the food wasn’t looking too delicious.
What was wrong?
I finally realized one of the biggest problems with my photos was the backdrop I was using. It was distracting, not pretty and didn’t compliment the food.
If you’re not loving your food photos, bad backdrops could be a problem. But good news – that’s a super easy fix! No new skills or expensive equipment required.
Let’s look at an example of a bad backdrop – the first backdrop I used for my food photography! And here it is. What even _is_ this? Finished particle board, I guess. I bought it at a thrift store because I saw a lot of food photos I liked on wood backdrops, and I thought this would do the trick. But it looks super fake and cheap, and the color isn’t very appealing. It doesn’t show the food off nicely. I’m know I’m not in any hurry to eat those berries!
Here are some things to ask yourself about the surfaces you’re taking food pictures on:
– Does it compliment the food? Or does it clash?
– Is it distracting? Is your eye drawn to it, in a bad way?
– Does it give the picture you’re taking a nice atmosphere? Or does it detract from the atmosphere?
– Does it look professional? Or does it look like a casual snapshot?
Now here’s that same piece of…whatever, transformed into an excellent photography backdrop for cheap.
Flat Surface Sprayed with Chalkboard Paint: $5.00 – $12.00
The same dish of berries suddenly looks clean, modern and delicious. The colors pop and the dishware looks detailed and interesting. This is food I want to eat! And all I did was give the particle board a quick coat of chalkboard paint I bought at Walmart for about $5. It’s also for sale on Amazon. What makes it so good is its texture and color. It’s matte, so it doesn’t create reflections in your photo, and the color looks great with almost any food and dishware. Just get any old flat surface – a piece of plywood, a loose piece of shelving or a large tray for example – and spray it with this. Now you have an instant classy, attractive, cheap photography backdrop! I even tried spraying a piece of whiteboard I got at a dollar store. It got a little wavy around the edges but not so bad that I don’t use it. Old Cookie Sheet: Free – $3
These make great cheap photography backdrops because they’re easy to find for next to nothing. You may already have one! They have a nice range of gray tones that help food and props pop, and the scratches and stains are interesting but not usually distracting. You’ve probably seen a lot of food photography using these lately, and no wonder. They’re quirky, fun and help food look awesome!
One cookie sheet I often take pics on is one of my favorites to bake with. The others I bought at thrift stores for under $3 a piece. Every time I go to a thrift store, I see what they’ve got for old cookie sheets. You never know when you’re going to discover something fabulous! Old wood: Free – $10
Compare this pic to the one on the crappy fake wood background. It’s so much better! The natural tones compliment the food, the patterns in the wood are are gorgeous and subtle and it creates an interesting rustic atmosphere. Where is this place? An old farmhouse? A cabin? The hipster-est kitchen ever? Who knows? All I know is those berries look yummy!
I literally found these boards sitting outside of my neighbor’s home for the garbage service to take away. I asked him if I could take them, he was totally confused and said it was fine, and now they’re my go-to background. I varnished the other side a darker brown color, so I actually have two backgrounds in one!
Wood is everywhere – thrift stores, old furniture, abandoned pallet boards, building projects and home remodels, etc. You may need to give it a good sanding and possibly a coat of varnish, or you may choose to paint it. But it’s _so_ worth looking for! You can always pay for someone to make a wood photography backdrop for you, but if you find wood that’s a penny (or $50) saved.
Here are some of my cheap photography backdrops in action.
Chalkboard paint and an old cookie tray – Chocolate Raspberry Candy Bars
Old wood – Cilantro and Sweet Corn Soup Old cookie sheet – Easy Homemade Frosties
If you find this helpful, let me know and I’ll do more posts like this! ~Gin