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Make Your Own Photography Backdrop

Guess what!

You will never find very complicated projects in this space! That's not to say that I haven't tried them...but the results are typically disastrous. I am only passing on to you the most successful endeavors and here's one that will surprise you!

Backdrops are super important, particularly in food photography where you want your food to POP! There are some really good companies who make truly wonderful backdrops. Whatever do I mean? Check out Woodville Workshop. Drool.

However, you should know you can make your own backdrop quite easily and save your self at least $100!

It's easy. I promise.

What you're gonna need:

1. Plywood (2'x2' minimum)

2. Spackling paste

3. Spackling knife

4. Paintbrush

5. Flat paint

6. Sponge

7. Snacks (optional)

Okay, so some notes here for you, dear reader.

You want your plywood to be thick enough that it can always lay flat. I noticed at Lowes, where I picked my board out, there are varying thicknesses. Don't get a bendy one! But also don't buy the heaviest piece of plywood because you'll never want to get the darn thing out to photograph!

Two feet by two feet is the smallest you should go. Think of that aerial view of your food. It's good to have some empty space. You don't want to feel like your food and props have to be squished into your shot. Air and space are important here.

Now my favorite part! Paint! It's up to you what you want to do here. Light. Dark. The most important thing here is to buy flat paint. No sheen, no gloss! You want a matte background that won't reflect back any light.

A little true story here: I purchased a small flat white paint, a small flat black paint, and I inherited some flat gray paint from my friend Jordan. When I got home, the flat black was actually dark blue! You gotta roll with it! I am quite pleased with the results, but it certainly wasn't what I was planning!

All right. Enough story telling. On to the instructions!

 How to:
1. Spackle your board using the knife.     Don't worry about making it perfect. In fact, the untidiness of it all gives your board texture and character. Keep it thin. Let it dry.

2. Pour a bit of each paint color onto a pallet (I used an old plastic container). Wet the sponge and squeeze all of the water out. Using the sponge, dab a mixture of your colors onto the board, occasionally rewetting your sponge as you go. Remember how our mothers sponge-painted our walls back in the 90s? It's like that. Easy and meditative. Not so great on bedroom walls, but terrific for de-stressing! This part of the process is very forgiving, so don't stress! Make sure to move around your board so you're consistent with your blending. Let dry. Eat snacks.

3. To add another layer of texture, I used a dry paintbrush and made some random, light strokes on the board.

Let dry. Maybe eat more snacks. Online shop with money saved.

That's it! So easy! And the best part of this whole process is you've got two sides to paint! For my second side, I used the gray paint and a LOT more white paint. I was going for a 'concrete' look. Just make sure Side 1 has completely dried before painting Side 2 and do lay down a tarp or some cardboard to protect Side 1 while you work your magic on Side 2. I didn't do this and then had to go back and correct a scratched up Side 1. Lesson learned! So now I've got a dark side and a light side that I can use for my photos, depending on my mood!