• DIY Photography Background: No Tools Required!

    DIY Photography Background | stupideasypaleo.com

    DIY Photography Background—No Tools Required!

    Steph’s note: This is another post in a series for fellow bloggers who are interested in improving their food photography and blog posts. You may also be interested in How to Take Better Food Pictures.

    Creating a DIY photography background to make your pictures stand out is really simple, and this version requires no tools. I was inspired by this post and ended up with a lightweight, double-side, portable board that I can tote around the house, looking for the best light.

    You could certainly scour your neighborhood yard sales for scrap wood with that authentically distressed, worn look. (That’d be a notch in your re-use belt.) But if you don’t have the time or access, this is a great alternative.

    My local hardware store had these lightweight “hobby boards” in different types of wood. I chose poplar because it had the lightest color and was the least expensive. The sizes available to you may vary, so my quantities may not work for you, but do the best you can with the concept. I chose the 48″ long boards because I wanted a long enough platform. Somewhere between 36″–48″ should be long enough. Any shorter than 36″ and you may run into problems with portrait shots, especially when they’re straight on from the subject.

    I was able to assemble mine, let it dry overnight for good measure and paint it the next day. It dried quickly because I watered down the paint. Choose a FLAT finish so the paint reflects very little light.

    If you’re looking for more tips and tricks to improve your food photography, check out this awesome resource, Tasty Food Photography.

    Supplies for this DIY Photography Background:

    • Four 48″ poplar hobby boards
    • Eight 24″ poplar hobby boards
    • Wood glue
    • Paint in your chosen color(s)—I got sample sizes in aqua and brown—with a FLAT finish
    • Paint brush
    • Disposable container to mix the paint and water

    How to make the DIY Photography Background:

    Find a clean, dry, flat surface to construct the background on. You may want to use a drop cloth or old sheet to protect the surface from paint and glue. Lay the 48″ boards flat and leave a small gap between each one, about 1/16″. I wanted the appearance of planks instead of one solid surface, but do what you like. Be aware that if you make the gaps larger than 1/16″, you’ll be able to see the boards underneath when you complete it.

    DIY Photography Background | stupideasypaleo.comDIY Photography Background | stupideasypaleo.com

    Do a dry run and arrange the 24″ boards perpendicular to the longer boards. There will be some wood overhanging and if you have a saw, you can trim the excess. I didn’t because I had no access to tools. Once you’re happy with the arrangement, you’ll start gluing. DIY Photography Background | stupideasypaleo.com

    Squeeze a moderate amount of wood glue across the long board, going section by section: Apply enough glue for one short board, then lay the short board down, pressing firmly. Be careful not to squeeze glue into the gaps or it’ll show when you take the photos. Continue this until you glue down all eight short boards. DIY Photography Background | stupideasypaleo.com

    Gently lay some heavy books on top of the boards and let them dry for at least 3 hours. Overnight is better.DIY Photography Background | stupideasypaleo.com

    The next day, get ready to paint your boards. I created a wash by combining the paints with water in a 1:1 ratio. This allowed the paints to dry quickly and helped create a layered effect.DIY Photography Background | stupideasypaleo.comDIY Photography Background | stupideasypaleo.com DIY Photography Background | stupideasypaleo.com

    For the blue side, apply a thin layer of brown paint. Allow it to dry completely. Then, apply layer of blue paint in an uneven fashion. Do this by dabbing the blue paint, then smoothing it out by brushing it in both directions. The idea is to allow some of the brown paint to show through to create a worn look. I applied two or three layers.DIY Photography Background | stupideasypaleo.com DIY Photography Background | stupideasypaleo.com DIY Photography Background | stupideasypaleo.com

    For the brown side, use the same technique as above, but only use the brown color. That’s it! Once it was dry, I was able to start shooting on it right away.DIY Photography Background | stupideasypaleo.com

    Click here to pin this!

    Questions? Leave them in the comments below!

    DIY Photography Background | stupideasypaleo.com

    Steph Gaudreau is a certified holistic nutrition practitioner, weightlifting and mindset coach, and the author of the best-selling Performance Paleo Cookbook. Her recipes and expert advice have been featured in SELF, Outside Magazine, Elle, and Greatist. Steph loves barbells, cats, and anything Lord of the Rings. She lives in San Diego, CA.

    14 thoughts on “DIY Photography Background: No Tools Required!

    1. Ok, I seriously squealed when I saw this come in on my email! I’ve been thinking of this so much lately, but didn’t know where or how to start (besides finding reclaimed wood…but that seemed kinda tough ;)) Thank you SO much for this post, you’re such a huge help!

    2. I give up, lol. Going crazy here trying to figure out where to find the recipe for the bars in your photo? The ones that look like, perhaps, strawberry gelatin bars? They look yummy–sorry to be off topic!
      Thanks much.

    3. My jaw dropped when I saw this. I was here for all the great paleo content but for about two years now I’ve wanted to make something like this (I’m a graphic designer/artist so it’s not good photography in my case). I’ve never done it because it seemed so impossible. But your solution looks totally doable. THIS IS SUCH A GREAT PROJECT! Thank you!!!

      1. You’re super welcome! I know a lot of people look for salvaged wood to do similar projects and they come out beautifully, too 🙂 Happy to help!

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *