I’ve compiled a list of cheap photo backdrops for your blog & Instagram. You don’t have to fork over a Ben Franklin for a nice photo; just check out these “out of the box ideas”.
I’ve come to grips with the fact that I am not a professional photographer no matter how loud I tell my Skinny Peanut Butter Banana Protein Shake to WORK IT in my best French accent. Not that I’m not working on my skills, and they have improved since the start of my blogging adventures, but I have a long way to go.
In my many hours of research, frustration, mass deletion of photos, and practice I have picked up a few solid tips that can make a world of difference in a good photo and a not so great photo. Aside from lighting, which I will leave to the professionals for now, backdrops are a pretty big deal.
Initially, I went on the hunt for beautiful, distressed wood backdrops on Amazon. I about spit my coffee all over my Mac when I realized that many of them are made of vinyl and still cost over $100. Maybe for the professional photographer making bank off each photo, but for the day-to-day lifestyle blogger like myself, that was a big no-go. So I quickly changed my pace and looked for alternatives.
Cheap Photo Backdrops for Your Blog & Instagram
1. Foam Board
They are super cheap, matte, and make easy backdrops for all styles of photos. You can shoot lifestyle photos, food photos, fashion photos, and more against these. I suggest getting a few in White and a few in Black. You then a dark background and light background for a wide variety of shots.
I a few of each on hand and have used them in numerous posts. Just have a look at my recent photo for my Cinnamon Streusel Pumpkin Coffee Cake Post.
2. Wood Floor
If you have wood floors in your house you have cheap photo backdrops for your blog at your fingertips. It’s best to shoot from straight above with floors because taking angled shots can sometimes show the lack of texture and make the whole photo look flat. But, no matter what, wood floors are great for Instagram shots and simple photos.
Here’s an example from my Pineapple Upside Down Popsicles Post. Notice I added in extra texture with a CHEAP crinkled up paper bag. It helps add a little dimension.
3. Scrapbook Paper
This stuff is the bees-knees of cheap photography backgrounds. As long as you are shooting small objects or can do some cropping, it’s magical. You can grab this stuff at Walmart, Michael’s, your local craft store or Amazon.
The best thing about it is that you can get any color, any pattern, and if you want Glitter, you got it. If you want metallic & shiny, you got it!
Gold Metallic Scrapbook Paper, 15 pack: $14.85 on Amazon
Assorted Glitter Scrapbook Paper, 24 pack: $17.47 on Amazon
4. Parchment Paper
Yes, the stuff in your kitchen drawer next to the tin foil. This stuff isn’t just good for keeping cookies from sticking to your favorite baking sheet. You can crumple it up, cut it up, or lay it flat. It has a pretty cool texture and can be used in a variety of shots. Food photography is probably the most common.
Here’s an example from my Death by Chocolate Brownies post. I didn’t use a full sheet, but it made the brownies contrast very nicely against my hardwood floors (see above).
5. New or Old Baking Sheets
I wish I could remember where/who I picked this one up from. It was another talented blogger who takes much better photos than I do. I don’t think I would have thought of this on my own. But most people have an old baking sheet in their cupboard. They give your photos a rustic look that’s pretty cool if you ask me.
See this example from my Simple and Delicious Chocolate Creamsicle recipe.
6. Fabric Swatches and Flour Sack Towels
I’ve used Flour Sack Towels in a LOT of my posts. They add texture, contrast, and you can style them any way you want. As for fabric swatches, they are great for adding color and you can pick them up for about a dollar per sample.
Flour Sack Towels 32X38, 4 pack: $16.99 on Amazon
Fabric Swatches, 6 pack: $3.00 on Amazon
7. Sherpa Throw Blanket
These are super popular in Instagram photos, especially for lifestyle and fashion bloggers. They have texture, come in a variety of colors, although off-white is very popular, and they are great for small objects and even pet photography. Plus, it’s an excuse to buy a new blanket for these approaching cool fall evenings and “Netflix and Blog” sessions… Oh, is that just me?
This is one of my Instagram photos I took using a Sherpa Throw Blanket as a backdrop.
Sherpa Throw Blanket: $22.99 on Amazon
8. Vinyl Backgrounds
These are the perfect cheap backdrop idea. You can obtain a decent collection of different textures and prints for under $50, with each one usually costing between $8-$15. You can get marble, wood, brick, floral prints, etc. And they are great for all types of photography and blog niches. You can use them for food photos, baby photos, fashion photos, product photos, and so much more. I’m slightly addicted to adding these to my Amazon List.
Brick Florets Wall Vinyl Backdrop: $10.59 on Amazon
Vintage Wood Vinyl Backdrop: $9.98 on Amazon
Photo From Amazon.com
9. Wrapping Paper
This is similar to Scrapbook paper, except that you can photograph bigger subjects on it. I’ve seen other bloggers tape it to a wall and let it drape on the floor for a full backdrop, or you can lay it on a flat surface for smaller shots taken from above.
As I said, I’m no photography expert or professional. Do I plan to be at some point? Oh heck yes I do! For now though, I’ll stick with sharing basic tips to help out other bloggers and influencers who are at a similar stage in their photography journey.
If you liked this post and it helped you, be kind and share with your blogging friends!
And tell me: what do you use for photography backdrops in your blog posts or Instagram photos? Do you have a drawer or place where you keep all your backdrops and props? Let me know in the comments below!