Wondering how to bring those summer vibes to your next product shoot without having to lug your equipment to the beach? Sand is a versatile and textural prop that can help you create a warm, sunny feel to your set without the hassle of going on location.
Our ever-resourceful community have shown us a variety of clever ways to style with sand (or even create fake sand itself!) that reduces mess and helps products shine.
If you want some inspiration on how to bring the beach to your next shoot without getting sandy toes then you'll love this collection of creative ideas.
Don't live near a beach and want to get your hands on some sand? Here are some places that our creators have purchased sand from to use in their photoshoots and our tips for finding the right sand for you.
Want less mess and a reusable textured backdrop that you can store for upcoming shoots? We love this clever hack from Lynn who mixed sand with PVA glue and spread it onto a durable foam cardboard. She recommends using a spatula or your fingers to evenly spread out the sand and then add some small pebbles or shells for a more realistic look. Once it dries you'll have a beautifully textured multipurpose backdrop to use!
So you've sourced some sand but now you want to create a next level beach scene without getting your toes wet. Ximena successfully created the look of gently rippling waves using an acrylic tray and a thin layer of water. After spreading a thin layer of sand directly onto her backdrop she placed her tray and product on top then used a hairdryer to create the ripples. A spritz of glycerin created a fresh, long lasting condensation look for her product. Genius!
One of the most interesting things about styling with sand is capturing all the delicate, textual grainy details. Community member Madhu honed in on this detail by drawing a beautiful spiral wave pattern in the sand around her product. To give it a more refined look she adjusted the colour of the sand in post production to make the product the hero of the shot.
If you don't have access to real sand, no need to worry! There are plenty of lookalike textures you can find right in your own home. Here are some of our favourite substitutes you can use instead.
This variety of wheat flour makes a very lifelike replacement for sand. The finely milled texture and pale yellow colour are remarkably sand-like and photographs brilliantly. Thanks to clever creator Lara for showing us how she created this realistic beach scene in her home studio.
If you don't have semolina, other varieties of flour will do the trick too! To create her fake sand Madhu also raided the pantry for wheat flour and cleverly added a few drops of oil and gently mixed it in until it had an even more realistic beach texture. This helps create a more mouldable shape that you can sculpt around your product.
If you are adding a water tray for extra texture on top then any type of sandy coloured backdrop will do the trick. This one is simply a piece of card from the craft store! Just add some beachy props like stones and shells on top and no one will ever know it's not the real deal!
No one said sand has to be yellow! If you want to channel the pristine white sands of a tropical island then you can simply use white caster sugar like clever creator Jemma. If you don't have any sugar on hard you can also use salt as a convincing substitute too! To make them look even more realistic, make small bumps in the sand to replicate the look of real beach sand.
As you can see sand is a truly versatile medium to get creative with and can add interesting detail or set the scene for your next photoshoot. We hope these tips were helpful and that you are successful in your sand sourcing and styling journey - whether you use the real thing or not!
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