Easy DIY Backdrop Inspirations

Sometimes it’s hard to find the perfect combination of light and background for indoor portraits. A photography backdrop can be the solution when this happens. It doesn’t need to be costly, despite what you might think. You can make a DIY backdrop for your photos or set up a studio at home to improve your portraits.

We have 8 DIY photo backdrop ideas that you can make, allowing for a whole new world of creative and unique portraits.

DIY Photo Background Essentials

  • You will want to blur the background so that your subject is visible for most situations. There are two options. Either put your subject at least 1m (3ft) away from the background or use a wider aperture (e.g., f/2.2 to F/3.5.
  • Photograph backdrops will look different depending on the textile used. Avoid capturing shadows and wrinkles as they can distract from the image.
  • If your floor is included, ensure that the backdrop is flush with it. You can also pull the backdrop out so your subject is seated there.
  • Avoid using reflective materials or products if you don’t want to achieve a particular look.

Bedding Sheets with Patterns

For many reasons, bed sheets are great DIY backgrounds for photography.

  • They are a very affordable product.
  • You can easily shoot multiple subjects or wide enough to capture them all.
  • You can choose from a wide range of colors and patterns.
  • They’re light. Any patterned bed sheet can be secured by simply placing it on top of a table, as shown in the setup below.

Although sheets can make DIY photo backgrounds, they can get wrinkled even if they are folded correctly. These creases can distract from photos and make them look messy. This is why I recommend ironing your sheets before you use them.

Plain bed sheets can be a little tricky. It will look like a bedsheet unless the background is very blurred.

Lighting Tip

This shot was taken from my back porch, under an open shade. The soft natural light wraps evenly around her face, with no hot spots or spots. Beautiful catchlights were visible in her eyes because the light was coming from behind my right shoulder.

To ensure a simple composition and good eye contact, I placed myself in her eyes.

Remember to measure your subject’s skin and choose a large aperture to blur any background patterns.

Canon 135mm F/2 lens (on a full-frame camera). This long focal length compresses the background to blur the pattern, which allows for a good separation of subject and object. Setting: Shutter Speed 1/800, Aperture f/2 and ISO 200

Textured quilt

Textured fabrics are better than plain cotton for backgrounds because they emphasize every crease and imperfection.

This photo was taken on my front porch under an open shade, giving me soft, beautiful light.

I was hoping you could look behind the scenes as I capture this setting using only natural lighting and DIY backgrounds to create a beautiful, light-filled photo studio style.

I will also share the settings I used and my thoughts behind them.

How to Take Studio Portraits At Home

Floral Sheeting

Although the name may be misleading, the fabric is not always floral. You can also choose from paper or material flowers. This term is best if you are looking for that stunning sparkly effect. This piece was purchased from an online party supply store. This piece gives off the most amazing bokeh effect!

Door Curtain

Karen Hayden created a simple but effective backdrop using a sparkly curtain for her photography.

We can see her using her clothesline in the pullback shot. It was located in an open shade. She used the shed light-colored in the back to ensure a light background behind her door curtain.

There are a million options for door curtains at Pinterest.

Karen Hayden, Current Advanced Student – tadaa!

Vinyl

Vinyl can be purchased in small pieces at fabric shops, hardware stores and Etsy.

There are so many options. For a neutral and unimposing DIY backdrop for your photos, you can choose from plain or patterned vinyl, such as the one shown below.

I could go on and on. You can also find holiday scenes, splattered paint and imitation wood fencing on Etsy and eBay. These items are not handmade but can be found at your local hardware store or in your home.

Fairy Lights

Holiday photos are made easier by a twinkle-lit portrait. You don’t have to use fairy lights for a backdrop in any portrait.

This setup can be created with a simple set of fairy lights, a backdrop (even a wall) and an inexpensive backdrop.

This tutorial will show you how to set up the shot and the settings for pullback shots. This session will require you to shoot in manual mode as the aperture will determine the appearance of the fairy lights.

Painted floordrop

You can think outside the box! Set up some backgrounds under the subject and then shoot down on them. This will open up a world of creative possibilities.

Nell Williams, a student in our Advanced Photography Course, captured this amazing image. She was inspired by images on Pinterest and created this simple circus-themed backdrop paper using roll paper and poster paint.

Nell’s top tip is not to use too much paint on this DIY photo backdrop. The paper is thin and can tear easily if it is over-sprayed.

The trapeze was made using a dowel, and a rope purchased at a hardware store. The nylon rope she used was tightly wound, so heating it with a hairdryer worked well to loosen it. This added depth and interest to the shot.

Nell Williams, Current Advanced Student

A pullback shot is a great idea! Nell did exactly this.

Look Down

Even if your plans are not to make Nell’s floor drop, there are plenty of other items that you can use.

  • Textured throw
  • Patterned quilt
  • Sheepskin
  • Floorboards
  • Chalk floor drops (hello Pinterest!)
  • Confetti on seamless white papers
  • Floor rug
  • Grass
  • Sand and gravel. These natural surfaces create a beautifully blurred background.
  • Autumn leaves or flowers

Tips for Shooting from Above: DIY Photography Backgrounds

  • A wide lens is necessary to capture your subject when shooting down. This image was taken from my height with a 24-70mm lens at 24mm.
  • Alternatively, you might need to stand on a small stool or step to compose the image. This image was taken with an 85mm lens while sitting on a chair.

Safety Tip

  • Always ensure your camera strap is securely around your neck when taking photos of babies and children from high above. Because if your camera falls on your subject, you don’t want the strap to come off. If your camera and lens combination hits a child, it can cause serious injury.