How To Make Homemade Backgrounds For Food & Still Life

Homemade Backgrounds For Food and Still Life

If you love to photograph food and still life, but don´t have the right background/surface to use for it, I have good news for you! In my studio I have all kinds of backgrounds. I often like to use tables made of wood and old iron, but they are difficult to clean due to the texture of the surface.

So after a messy food photography session it´s not much fun to clean up. That´s why I love to use two other options, which I´ll share with you today; Foam Boards with photo prints and Vinyl Backdrops. They are almost weightless, easy to move around and not to forget; super easy to clean!

Photo Print on Foam Board

This was an idea I came up with a few years ago when I was ordering some large prints for a client. While I was placing the order, I suddenly started thinking; I wonder if I could photograph a wooden table or a rustic wall, then print it on foam boards and use them for photography? I decided to test it. I ordered about ten different prints, some made with photographs I´d taken myself and some with photos I found on an istockphoto site.

Homemade Backgrounds For Food and Still Life

I was super excited when the prints arrived. Most of them turned out really beautiful and useful. A few of the prints didn´t work and looked unreal and not very authentic, but since the backside was white I could use them as reflectors – pretty awesome.

There´s NO limitations to what you can use as print; wood, old wall paper, old painted wood, shabby chic tables, brick wall, marble ext. You just have to create the photo or find it on an Istock website. Keep in mind that not all prints will turn out perfectly, but it´s worth the try. I´ve had mine for five years and use them often. They simply can´t break and are super delightful to work with.

Make sure the photo you use are high resolution between 250-300 dpi. Upload it to an online printing service (I used foto.com) and order the print on a thick foam board.

Choose a matte print and avoid the glossy look. If it´s too glossy it will create reflections and that´s not very nice. It´s up to you which size you prefer but I like size 50cm x 70cm or size 100cm x 120cm. The smaller size works great as surface and the larger print can be used as a background.

Homemade Backgrounds For Food and Still Life

Vinyl Backdrops

You can also buy made-for-you Vinyl Backdrops on Etsy. Companies like Swankyprints ship to all over the world. But be aware that the quality can vary. Some prints are great, others not so much and you don´t know until you get them. The prints are made in thin vinyl material which you can easily roll up and put away. When you use them for photography, you might have to tape the edges as they tend flip from being rolled up.

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Five Tips for Taking Photos in Low Light

Happy creating,

With love

About Christina Greve

Christina Greve is a professional photographer, creativity coach and life design mentor helping heart-centered women, passion-driven makers and creative souls optimize life + make a living doing what they LOVE. She is known for her elegant lifestyle photography and draw much of her inspiration from the Nordic countryside, travels, food and still life. Her work has been featured in numerous magazines, blogs and books worldwide. After a decade of working with psychology and coaching, Christina´s passion for photography evolved into a full-time photography and coaching business. Today she runs a thriving + fast growing business specializing in professional online training, motivating and engaging female photographers, designers, bloggers, makers + creative souls. She has coached thousands of fabulous women from more than 40+ countries.