Backdrops and Backgrounds

Updated: Apr 23, 2019

Affordable backgrounds for food video recipes and food photography

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In food photography, the only thing more important than the food is what makes the food look good- food styling, accompanying props, utensils, cookware, and most important, in my opinion, backdrops, and backgrounds. Backdrops will set the whole mood and environment for a shoot, and I have been using them to my advantage since the start of my photography career.

I started with humble beginnings when using backdrops, with making my own. I bought scrap wood from my local hardware store, fitted them together, and painted or finished them to whatever I needed. I used a single board with both sides painted a different way to maximize effectiveness, whether I painted one red white and blue for 4th of July barbeque shoots or kept the wood unpainted and used a finish for a more rustic look, I could really make whatever kind of backdrop or background I needed.


Background Paper, pink, 53" x 36'

Background Paper, Super White, 53" x 36'

Background Paper, Black, 53" x 36'

Background Paper, Blue Mist, 53" x 36'

Background Paper, Thunder Gray, 107" x 36'

Background Paper, Super White, 107" x 36'

Vinyl Photography Backdrop

However, this quickly became a bigger project than I imagined. As my scope for photography (and backdrops) grew larger, I had tons of these heavy boards made of scrap wood laying around, taking up space that was hard to organize. They became unwieldy in shoots, in times in which I needed 3 backdrops or backgrounds, and it became too much to effectively handle, and I needed to change something in my backdrop use or I would have to be held back by these heavy boards.

My ace up my sleeve eventually became vinyl backdrops. Thin and light, these became my go-to for backdrops and backgrounds. They came in all different colors and material facade, like those wood backdrops I made, but much lighter and easier to use, they also had a negative side so I could continue using few backdrops for multiple shoots.

As my photography operations grew, I was able to utilize much more space, and I decided to stop using those backdrops as backgrounds, and I created a system in which I could easily use large rolls of paper for backgrounds. I used mounting hooks on walls to mount a long piece of PVC pipe, which held a roll of paper around it, which I could unravel behind my shooting area for a very effective background. I have multiple shades of paper, which is nice, given that I don’t have to stick with just white backgrounds, but I could use whatever color (such as gray or pink) to compliment the shoot. I use the same system to store these rolls on a wall, using heavy-duty metal pipes mounted on wall hooks where I can easily switch backgrounds.

Parts for my DIY backdrop systems

Adjustable sawhorse twin pack

Garage storage hooks

1 1/2 inch 10 ft Electric metallic tube

Metal spring clamps

Nylon spring clamps

Metal wall brackets

Irwin Quick-Grip

Base table

Storage system for wood boards

Wire shelving rack

Tension rods

DIY backgrounds supplies

Wood boards

Plastic paint tray

Paint brushes

Protective gloves

A complete list of my equipment

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