10 of the best photography backdrops for your home studio

Post by
Ruth Stephensen
10 of the best photography backdrops for your home studio

You don't need to have a fancy marble countertop or polished timber floorboards in your home to be able to get the same effect in your photography. Here at Creatively Squared we are all about how to 'get the look for less' so before you go and splash out on a fancy table top, you might want to read this first!

We have taken a practical approach to this list - we know storing multiple backdrops in your home studio can take up a lot of space so we have selected options that are already found in the home or can be stored flat and tucked away somewhere discreet like under the bed. This list of cheap, compact backdrops can have a big impact on the look of your photo and help set the perfect scene.

Creative arrangement of purple kale leaves on a white coated MDF board backdrop
White coated MDF board backdrop. Picture: @thecontentcreative via Instagram

1. White coated masonite board

This is one of my personal favourites - I actually picked up a few of these in different sizes at my local hardware store - for as little as $3. They are white on one side with raw wood on the back and come in 2mm depths which make them extra cheap and lightweight for storing at home. As well as making a nice clean, white backdrop these boards are handy to have a few of to position around your set to bounce light and fill shadows.

flatlay of tea and chocolates with bathroom items on a Vintage woodgrain vinyl transfer backdrop
Vintage woodgrain vinyl transfer. Picture: @thecontentcreative via Instagram

Flatlay of butterfly book and origami butterflies on Vintage woodgrain vinyl transfer backdrop
Light woodgrain vinyl transfer. Picture: @thecontentcreative via Instagram

2. Vinyl transfers

Adhesive vinyl is one of my top backdrops, they come in a range of colours and textures and are cheap and easy to use. They come in a roll and are great to apply on the reverse side of the white coated boards I mentioned above. Using both sides of your backdrop means less boards to store and more mileage for your prop budget. The great thing about vinyl is it makes a quite resilient surface and easy to wipe clean, making them perfect for food styling or anything that could get a bit messy!

donuts topped with fairyfloss on geometric hex tile backdrop
Ceramic tiles. Picture: @danibarrois via Instagram
lemon slice on marble vinyl tile backdrop
Vinyl tile Picture: @sophiefiskphotography via Instagram

3. Vinyl or ceramic tiles

I also picked up a few cheap vinyl tiles from the hardware store for around $5 each, they are a good size for small flatlays and came in some great marble and stone textures. You can also get some great patterned and mosaic tiles which can be glued to a timber backing. There are some nice ceramic tile options too but I personally found the size and weight of them a bit limiting

wooden bowl and spoon on layers of different cloth textures
Linen and fabric samples as a backdrop. Picture @christall.lowe via Instagram

4. Linen and cloth

Linen has such a lovely texture and you can use these flat or scrunch for extra depth. I picked up some cheap coloured muslin baby wraps that come in some lovely colours but napery and tea towels also make great cost effective options. If you were to visit your local fabric store you could also buy some fabric by the meter - the only downside to using large fabric swatches is that you will need to iron them before each shoot. Layering up different types of fabric can create a beautiful effect.

Eco string shopping bag with oranges and vintage wooden kitchen utensils on hand painted backdrop
Hand painted texture board. Picture: @christall.lowe via Instagram

5. Painted colours and textures

Want to get the perfect custom colour backdrop for your signature colour palette? You can pick up a cheap plywood board and sample pot of paint from the hardware store and DIY for around $10. I've painted my fair share of plain coloured boards which is great if you want to have a consistent colour theme in your photos. If you want to create a textured look you can combine coloured paints to create some beautiful one-of-a-kind results. Painted boards like this are also perfect for adding a 'wall' behind your product and still life photography.

textured white ceramic plates and flowers on Recycled timber slats used as a backdrop
Recycled timber slats used as a backdrop. Picture: @melissa.barraclough via Instagram


6. Recycled doors and shutters

You'd be amazed at what you can find with a trip to your local recycling centre. You can pick up old timber doors, cupboard fronts and shutters that have real character. If you can't get access to the real thing there are some high quality vinyl and paper backdrops to replicate this look.

tray containing magazines and pastry on Recycled timber slats backdropo
Recycled timber slats. Picture: @thecontentcreative via Instagram
scented candles and reeds against painted VJ panel backdrop
Painted VJ panel. Picture: @citizensofthesun via Instagram

7. VJ panel or wooden slats

Another hardware store secret, you can buy timber boards that already have the look of wooden panels on them for under $20. Additionally you can buy the pieces of timber you like and then glue them together to create this look - or just slot them all together on a flat surface and no one will know the difference!

hot cross buns and tea with magazines and laptop on textured bedspread
Textured bedspread @thecontentcreative via Instagram
tea and books on a Chunky knit blanket backdrop

Chunky knit backdrop. Picture: @danibarrois via Instagram

8. Textured blanket or throw

Snuggly knits and blankets make a beautiful textured backdrop. This is another Insta favourite. Perfect for laying flat or draping to build up the texture of your image. Quilted blankets are a favourite of mine but as an alternative sometimes I take the case off the doona or shoot straight onto the mattress protector to get that white quilted effect.

baby shoes and cards on a Textured sheepskin backdrop.
Textured sheepskin backdrop. Picture: @thecontentcreative via Instagram

decorative cushion and candleholder on Textured sheepskin and bedhead backdrop
Bedhead and sheepskin backdrop. Picture: @thecontentcreative via Instagram

9. Sheepskin or faux fur

This is another blogger favourite, animal hides and sheepskin have been hugely popular backdrops. Fur adds some great depth to your photo and it is great for layering up on top of other backdrops. Don't worry you can still get this look without any animal cruelty and pick up cheap faux furs in different colours from places like Ikea and Kmart.

10. Coloured or patterned paper

Like the vinyl mentioned above you can get some great printed paper options and they make cheap portable backdrops. You can buy plain coloured backdrops in office supply stores in A1 for a couple dollars. The only downside of paper is that it is delicate and you have to be really careful not to get them wet or spill anything on there. Storing paper can be difficult as well and if you keep them rolled out they may not look perfectly flat when you want to use them.

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