When it comes to blogging, it’s not just the writing that’s important, it’s the photos too. I’ve been trying really hard to up my photo game here on This Splendid Shambles, and in doing so I’ve realised that there are so many neat things around my house that I can use as photo backdrops.
I’ve learnt that you don’t need some fancy as lighting or studio setting to get some great photos. You can literally use what you already have. Keeping that in mind, I went on a walk around my house, armed with my camera and a few handy dandy props, and tried out some of the different surfaces, textures, backgrounds, and general mayhem that existed in my house. I hope that these will inspire you to take a better look at what you already have and get a little creative when it comes to your photos.
Here are 10 things that I discovered make for great backdrops for photos.
1 | Standard white board
Your standard white board is always handy. You can normally pick these up from stationery stores, or even the $2 shops (or your countries equivalent). I got two boards from Look Sharp here in Auckland, and they were about $4NZD each. Very cheap, very clean, very fresh way to create a clean backdrop. Another thing I love about these is that they can also become the base for something else. Try sprinkling confetti on the board before placing you item. Or create a little desk scene. With white you can do pretty much anything.
Item: These chappies are the cutest thing. They’re from South America.
2 | Fabric/Quilts/Scarves/General material
I have a lot of fabric lying about the places from various projects over the years, or from times I’ve seen the pretty patterns, bought it, and then still not found anything to make out of it. Spreading it out on a flat surface (or even covering your above white board with it) and using it as a backdrop is a great way to use it until you figure out it’s real purpose in life. Much like the fabric idea, bed spreads are also beautiful. Mine is particular colourful so only really works with plain items, but if you have a subtle pattern on yours, or plainer colours, then it might just a-go for you. Another option to look at is scarves. Spread them out, pop the item on top, and you’ve got yourself a fun background.
Top image: A piece of fabric I had lying around. Maybe iron it before you take a photo. Eek. But the fact that it’s the TARDIS, Jack Harkness and a weeping angel (don’t blink) make the ironing thing irrelevant, right?
Middle image: This is a darkish scarf that I have. Would only really work with light things, like this porcelain cat.
Bottom image: This is also a scarf, but I’ve matched it with the yellow of the little London salt shaker bus.
3 | Paper
Whether it be wrapping paper, scrap booking paper, old posters, there’s something about having something pretty and already flat to work with that makes life a lot easier.
Top image: This is wrapping paper, which I also used to back my bookshelves. That right there is a delicious pineapple-smelling pineapple candle.
Bottom image: This is a music book (it’s actually a book called ‘Method of Organ Playing’ haha), and these are a pair of my favourite earrings.
4 | The floor
‘Okay, wait, what?’ you ask. No no, hear me out. The floor is a spectacular backdrop because it’s already ready to go. Granted, you might want to vacuum or mop, but if you have a nice wooden floor, or even a rug that’s not fraying (or that is! I don’t want to tell you how to keep your rugs!), then it’s an ideal (and large) place to take photos on. We have one of those lino-wanna-be-wooden floors, and while it’s no where near as nice as our previous house which had these beautiful polished rimu floor boards, it does make for a nice background.
Top image: Lord of the Flies on one of our Ikea rugs.
Bottom image: Chelsea Winter’s Homemade Happiness cookbook on our floor. Those aren’t real floor boards, unfortunately, but it makes for a simple background anyway.
5 | Tables and Benches
Similarly to the floor (okay…kind of), table tops and benches are flat, and are often near windows for that lovely natural light. We have a wooden table, and while it has scratches and marks from all the years we’ve sat around it, it has character. Our coffee table is in a similar boat (heh heh, tables in boats), but has a nicer, darker look to it. The bench in our current kitchen is a light, speckled colour, and I love it for photos, especially food photos.
Top image: Table top with little ornament.
Bottom image: Chocolate on a bench. But more importantly, Whittaker’s Peanut Butter chocolate on a bench.
6 | Outside surfaces
It may sound silly (although none of these should sound silly to bloggers, amiright?), but the fence is a great pre-made photo-prop. I clearly don’t utilise it enough, because I had trouble finding the perfect patch of fence for this photo. But now, however, I have learnt my lesson and I know for next time. Other outside walls are also good, especially if you want a backdrop for outfit posts. They are also good, though, for other things, and you can easily pop the items on a stool or bench or do the whole ‘here is this cute ornament I found that I need to show you guys so I will hold it in my flatten palm against this background’. Yeah. You know. Or in my case, ‘look at my really small, dying cactus’.
Top image: My ‘really small, dying cactus’ against our fence.
Bottom image: Some of my paint brushes on the decking.
7 | The Garden
While we’re outside … even if you don’t have pretty flowers, or you just have a collection of pot plants, the do make for pretty backdrops. The green, the texture, the random bee. We have this insane patch of parsley, which I’m not so keen on, but it makes for a nice greeny background.
8 | Your inside walls
If you don’t have white board (see #1), then your wall/cream walls in your house could be your go-to. They’re big, they’re flat, they’re perfect for basically any type of photo. Choose a patch of wall near your windows for maximizing natural light.
9 | Chalkboards
Chalkboards are brilliant because not only do they provide a dark backdrop for those lighter items you may want to take photos of, but they have a great texture from all the times you’ve put chalk on them and rubbed it out. Get creative and use the blackboard for more than just a backdrop. As you can see, Legolas has his one-liners to say. Let him say them.
10 | Leave things where they are
Another option for taking photos of things, especially household items, is to simply leave them where they are. If they’re already on a shelf or bookshelf or bench…just leave them in their natural habitat. This Illinois Starbucks tiny mug lives on this shelf with all these other nick-nacks that we have from around the world. Why would I move it away from there when it looks perfectly good there?
I hope my adventures around my own house has inspired you to do the same, especially when it comes to blog photos. Also remember, there’s no silly idea. If you want to try something, just do it. It may not work, but it may just be the coolest blog photo you’ve ever taken.
What’s your go to place for photos?
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