How to make a product photography backdrop
When photographing small products such as jewellery or accessories there is little room for props and fancy backdrops, and texture plays a big part in making your shot more interesting.
Today I’m going to show you how to make a gorgeous textured backdrop that will add a laid back look to your small products, the rustic texture giving a bright breezy look to your website, and best of all it can easily be adapted with a simple colour change to suit your brand.
I say small products because you won’t be able to appreciate the texture from afar, only close up. You can of course make a larger version of this backdrop you just need to create more texture.
You will need:
A piece of MDF board the size of the backdrop you require
A tub of ready mixed filler
Wide metal ruler or other smooth edged tool
Small tester pot of Annie Sloan chalk paint
(I used the colour Cream)
A small bowl of water
Step 1 – Cover the MDF with filler
It really is easy and super speedy to make a lovely textured backdrop that you can use straight away.
Simply spread the ready made filler with a wallpaper scraper onto your piece of MDF/chip board, pressing down onto the board as you go. Your aim is to create an even layer, it doesn’t need to be too thick, about 5mm is fine but you will shortly be scraping it thinner.
To begin with you will get lines from your scraper tool, but at the moment you just need to create an even covering of filler, and with some speed before it dries.
Step 2 – Smooth the filler with the ruler
Now you can smooth out those lines with your wide metal ruler.
This is where you create the lovely textured patches in your surface because the ruler scrapes and drags the filler creating some patchy areas resembling an old plastered wall.
The drier the filler is the more textured your surface will be. So if you want more texture, scrape a few times. The filler is drying while you work with it so don’t play for too long.
Check out the lovely texture appearing on the right as I smooth out my lines!
Step 3 – Leave to dry for at least an hour
Don’t be tempted to touch it you will leave unwanted fingerprints!
This is much more interesting than a plain white backdrop, and mine has subtle warm colour too. See how I achieve this in the next step.
Step 4 – Add colour
Dilute some Annie Sloan chalk paint. Annie’s paints are the original and the best, and I don’t use anything else. They have a high pigment level and are water based, so can be watered right down to a wash while keeping a strong colour. I can also mix my own colours from her paints.
To avoid filling in the fine texture you have created, dilute the paint in water to the consistency of milk, and apply gently dabbing with a sponge to avoid brush strokes.
I used a subtle cream colour but you could be more adventurous and mix/blend colours to create something more dramatic.
Leave to dry again, meanwhile you can make yourself some textured surface blocks with the leftovers that you scraped off. I used a cardboard jewellery box and coated/coloured it using the same process.
Now your backdrop should be dry and you are ready to shoot! The textured background is subtle yet interesting, not overpowering your beautiful products but adding a sense of place through the solid look of the surface.
Your new photo backdrop can be used as a wall or a surface and your textured blocks can add further interest adding height/layers where required.
If you have enjoyed learning how to make this backdrop you will love my NEW workshop where we practice this plus 3 other texture techniques! Join me on 11th October and read more about the day via the ticket button below.
Lyndsey James is a photography & styling tutor with over 12 years experience as a professional photographer, and the founder of Photocraft®.
Previously a high street retailer too, Lyndsey combines her retail and commercial photography experience to help others succeed in retail online through her photography & styling events & e-courses. She also speaks at craft & business events around Europe and has worked with Etsy, Folksy, Kirstie Allsopp, Enterprise Nation, Craft Central, Digital Photographer Magazine + more.