DIY Photography Backdrop

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I’ve had a few people ask me where my photography backdrop is in relation to our house. Well, it’s in my little studio room. I got the idea when I realized I had a TON of curtains & curtain rods hanging around from our old place. I thought a great way to clean up the look of my non-maternity maternity shots would be to add a curtain over the closet doors. Then I added another curtain to the floor to cover up the ugly carpet. I’ve been using this system for a while now, but now I’m wanting an even cleaner look.

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I totally get washed out in white. PLUS a white backdrop is harder to expose for & get correct white balance for. I’m still a major rookie at the photography thing. In the back of my mind I’ve been thinking a middle-grey curtain would be so much better to shoot. Yesterday it clicked. I thought I’d go to Home Fabrics, a place that my friend had told me that offers discount home & upholstery fabrics, and see what they had. Despite their lack of grey fabrics (they mostly have tan & burgundy) I was able to find some printed grey cotton for $5 a yard. It was originally $10 a yard.

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I needed cloth that was 57 inches wide – which just so happen to be the exact width of this fabric! All I had to do was hem the two ends & I was ready to rock & roll. Did you know that if you rip fabric, it’ll rip in a straight line, exactly perpendicular to the selvage? That’s how I was able to get an even hem on both ends. Making this back drop took about 15 minutes & $22.

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I slide the fabric to the edge of the curtain rod & use bulldog clips to secure the extra off the ground when not in use. It’s a pretty slick system. Much better & cleaner than my last method.

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Backdrops are so yearbook/1990, but I love that I can focus on taking pictures of me & the kiddies without worrying about the background/ugly carpet/styling. What do you think? So, if you take outfit pictures or kiddie pictures, what kind(s) of backdrops do you use?

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    1. For babies, never underestimate the power of a nice knit blanket draped on a beanbag (or a Boppy) and clipped to a chair or two. :)

      Also, if you ever want that deep, seamless look, paper rolls are pretty cheap. Velvet also absorbs light without reflecting it and tends to look pretty seamless, too, but it collects lint like crazy. I have to use a scotch roll to clean it off before and during any shoots I use my velvet on.

      Love the gray and the curtain rod. You can pull it taut and clip it to something heavy with clips from the hardware store too, if you want a smoother look. (If you’re not shooting the floor, then you can get a dowel or something similar and use it to pull the fabric down tightly to the floor.)

    2. Marissa says:

      I LOVE IT! And I do love the grey! I need a backdrop because I end up taking a lot of good photos of the boys and then I realize there’s a stray sock in the background or, worse yet, a whole pile of stinkin’ laundry. Now I just have to get Rodney to put this together for me. This is awesome – THANK YOU!

    3. Leanne says:

      I love this idea! Now I just need to find somewhere to put it. I think the gray is perfect too.

    4. Charlotte says:

      Love this idea! It would be especially great in the winter. I think the gray was the perfect choice.

    5. Amy says:

      Found you at Meredith’s place. LOVE your ideas!!! I’m getting huge hankerings for repurposing, refashioning, redoing, making pretty, whatever you wanna call it, so I’ve started following blogs like yours. Thanks for all the great tips (seriously, I’m so looking for a giant coat I can fix and make Arizona weather-worthy)!

    6. Joy says:

      GREAT idea!!! I will have to copy after I move, because I know just what you’re saying about the background. Mine are always just messy (though I don’t take nearly as many pics) usually with random toys left around that I don’t even notice any more until I’m looking at the pics. I want to know, though, do you do your own self-portraits, or enlist your husband?? I try to get my kids to, but it’s tough!! And husband is not into photography really at all… :-(

    7. Emily says:

      You are so smart! I love the curtain rod idea and that the extra fabric gets clipped up (ie you don’t have to take it down, fold it, iron it, etc every time you take a picture). I’m still working out the best place to take pictures. So far it’s the undecorated blank wall in the computer/guest/miscellaneous room, in front of pictures that I’m too lazy to take down in the family/living/tv/piano room, or letting Ansley run around on our bed. . . . Luckily food pictures are pretty easy on the kitchen table (after I move my sewing machine out of the way ahem) b/c it’s near a window. :)

    8. Nelle says:

      That is a super slick system and I want you to come to my house and install one for me pleeease! I love the gray, it works so well and I totally hear you about distracting backgrounds, who cares what else is going on when there is a gorgeous baby to photograph?! And by the way, that tracksuit Felix is modeling is too cool!

    9. Very smart neutral backdrop idea. we sometimes need those! I’m pretty much camera ignorant.haha

      Bank. I have the target dollar spot version of your elephant bank. Is that one from UO? Only my daughter’s is grass green. My other girl had a pink one, but she recently slaughtered it.

    10. Bmerry says:

      I usually build a paper back drop around a window.

    11. Cinsy says:

      I’ve only recently found and followed you,
      I wish i thought of your backdrop idea, instead i bought the real deal, ha ha!

      Your blog is amazing, innspiring! xxxx

    12. Marisa says:

      You are SO SMART! Pinning to save for later.

    13. Venassa says:

      I love this idea! There’s nothing worse than taking photos around the house with a cluttered background. The grey looks great.

    14. What a genius idea! Please don’t hate me for possibly stealing it from you.

    15. Tang says:

      Haha I love Felix’s outfit!!

    16. dani says:

      I’ve found a length of white vinyl works awesome because you don’t need to worry about wrinkles. I love how you’ve hung it as a curtain and just clipped it up. You’re a real smartie, you know?

    17. amanda says:

      LOVE it! I’ve been thumb tacking a white sheet up in the only room in our house that has enough light. I love the idea of using gray!

    18. Katherine says:

      Super random question — where did you get your globe? I’m searching for one with soft colors similar to yours, and I love that acrylic base!

    19. Ann says:

      It works so well! Would never have thought of grey – and you’re right that white always washes everything out. Oh and I really need to cover up all my stuff in photos – always makes them look messy. This system is perfect!

    20. jamie slay says:

      I have been wondering if this would work in my new but not finished studio. So glad someone out there has tried this and it works. Now I know I can try this and not waste my money. Thanks!!

    21. jamie slay says:

      Oh and I usually go outside for outfit pics cause I like the bricks on our house. Not good lighting inside at all. Any particular type of lights you add?? I was thinking of track lighting??

    22. I love your style of DIY Photography. It will always depend on one’s creativity in setting up their own backdrop that would suit their own desire of photography output.

    23. Kate says:

      I love it!!! I have a little white table that I do most of my photography on (for crafts and little things). I do photos of my friends outside or wherever we are together, because nothing would really work at my house.

    24. [...] I studied blogs for weeks trying to get ideas on how I wanted to do it. (This one and this one were definitely my main [...]

    25. I love this idea. I know the width is 57″ but what about the length?

    26. I started off the same way, bought a lot of fabric from the craft store & used it, I like how you were able to make use of such a tight space! I made a blog post which talks about DIY backdrops & they are a little bigger if someones looking for that: http://ashleydellingerphotography.blogspot.com/2010/12/poor-mans-flash-difuser.html

    27. Great idea! Just pinned it :)

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