Making Your Own Backdrop

This post is about making your own backdrop. Using something I learned from a Tony Sweet video, I took a “very out of focus” photograph and then made prints of this image to use as a backdrop.

The idea is to mimic what shallow depth of field looks like, and it comes in very handy when your backgrounds are less than perfect, especially when you are outside (which is where Tony demonstrated this technique).

My original plan for this post turned out to be too expensive to implement. My idea was to do the same thing but print it on canvas to use in a studio setting. It could work, but a regular cloth backdrop in the same size is less expensive. I may still do it some day – I like the idea of my very own custom backdrop.

But anyway – on with this tutorial…….

I began this by going on a little outing, searching for objects and settings that had backdrop potential. You don’t want anything too busy, even if it’s going to be out of focus. What I found was this fence:

fence

I liked the color of the fence with the contrast of the yellow. I got very close and zeroed in on one section of the fence and then photographed it out of focus.

backdrop1jpg

After a few adjustments, I made two different size prints. (I have included a link at the end of this post if you want to print this same file to use as your own background.)

The smaller one, an 11″ x 17″ print, is handy out in the field, but also works inside and is perfect if you are shooting close ups of flowers:

flower3

flower4

The second one I made was printed on 17″ x 22″ paper. This backdrop will work for larger arrangements. A larger backdrop would be great, but this works as a thrifty alternative.

flower1

flower2

One of the things I love about using these prints as backdrops is you don’t have to worry about wrinkles like you do when using fabric.

Here is the link if you are interested in printing this same backdrop image: Backdrop File
(Let me know if you have any trouble with the download.)

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