Have you ever wondered, how do you make a background for food photography or product photography?
In this article, I’ll show you how you can easily DIY your own photography backgrounds and surfaces. You’ll see step-by-step how to make the dark food photography surface pictured below and it won’t cost much either.
As a product and food photographer, I’m always on the look-out for photography cool backgrounds so I can shoot clients’ products and food on. The surface something is photographed on will make or break the photo.
But purchasing food photography backdrops is expensive, sometimes upwards of $80-$100.
Luckily, many of the best photography backgrounds and surfaces I’ve come across can be easily made at home.
If you’re looking to make a dark photography background for your own product or food photography, then read on for a step-by-step guide on how to make a textured concrete photography background surface.
DIY Photography Background Materials Needed
Here are the materials you will need for this photography background project:
- Plywood or MDF Board. A 2 x 3 ft (600x900mm) board is a good size. Any bigger and it will be heavy and harder to transport.
- Stanley Knife.
- Plaster of Paris. I purchased a 2.2 lb (1 kg) bag.
- Old bucket to mix up the plaster.
- Scissors to open the plaster.
- Wall scraper or putty knife for applying the plaster.
- Blocks of spare wood, old bricks or similar to prop the board off the ground.
- Paint x 3 colors. I used black, gray and white to create this photography background. I purchased sample size pots from my local hardware store.
- Paintbrush x 2.
- Old cloth or clean rags used to blend the paint.
- A container of water for painting.
The result of this DIY photography background is a textured dark cement or concrete background. And because the process can get messy you might like to set up a workspace outside, in the shed or in a garage.
Firstly, put the board on top of old blocks of wood or bricks to raise it off the ground. This will help you reach all the edges of the board when it comes to plastering and then painting.
Then give the board a good sand down. This is important to help the plaster adhere.
Next, use the Stanley Knife to make lots of cut lines across the whole board. The messier your cutting lines, the better, as this again will help the plaster to stick to the surface by giving the paster some texture to hold onto.
Then wipe down any loose material created by the cutting and sanding with an old dry cloth.
Now, it’s time to mix the plaster in a bucket with water. I used the whole bag for this size board. Mix the plaster by following the instructions on the packet, you’re trying to achieve the consistency of toothpaste.
Now it’s time to use the wall scraper to liberally apply the plaster onto the board. Start this process in the middle and move outwards.
You’ll want to spend some time here alternating the direction of the strokes and gently smoothing and sculpting the surface. You want gentle and slightly rounded peaks and troughs.
Allow the plaster to dry completely. This process can take 24 hours.
If you’re working outdoors, it’s a good idea to bring the board someplace undercover to finish the drying process. Just make sure it’s dry enough to touch before you move it.
The final step is to apply the paint. Using the three different paint colors, apply small amounts of all three paints by dripping the paint from a paintbrush or even pouring a small amount of paint onto the plastered surface.
Rather than mixing all the paints on top of each other, keep them a little separate and slowly blend them into each other. The idea is to create different shades of color.
To do that, rather than mixing the colors evenly, try adding more or less of the different colors to get different shades.
Add more paint as you need to build layers of color. You will find you can add more color on top of sections you’ve already painted (even before it dries) to create different effects.
Work on one small section of the board at a time until you get the hang of blending the paints. This will give you time to work before the paint dries.
Work sparingly with the dark colors. It’s easier to go darker later than it is to lighten up.
Using the old cloth and a dry paintbrush, work the colors into each other. I prefer to use a dry cloth to blend the paints, though you can experiment with wetting sections of the cloth with water.
When you have finished painting and blending, you will end up with a unique and creative concrete photography background that will make products pop and food mouthwateringly good.
In conclusion, this homemade background for photography is well worth the effort and the results speak for themselves. You can create your own hand-painted photography backgrounds that are unique, inexpensive and importantly, will make a big photographic impact. So why not add this DIY concrete photography background to your photography props and take your product and food photography to the next level?
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