In this article I'll walk you through 16 examples of product photography backdrops that you can use today to revitalise your product photos.
Each one is ranked on ease of setup and cost and I'll also provide some useful tips and examples of what product go well with them.
|Ease of setup
|Fabric & Cloth Backdrops
|Stone or Sand
|The Bokeh Technique
|Paper, Wallpaper & Wrapping Paper
|Wooden cutting board
Vinyl backdrops are rolls of durable, smooth, material. They are easy to clean and come in various colors and patterns. They're ideal for creating a professional, consistent, and clean look in your product photos. They're also resistant to wrinkles and stains, making them suitable for frequent use.
Vinyl rolls usually come in two different types - matte and gloss. Glossy backdrops can add a touch of elegance and sophistication to your shots but lighting can be a bit more tricky. The matte finish will prevent harsh glares and reflections that could distort the image quality.
A decent roll will set you back around $30.
Foam boards are lightweight, rigid sheets typically available in various colors and sizes. They are emerging as a popular choice for backdrops in product photography owing to their budget-friendly nature and the potential to enhance photo quality significantly.
They can be purchased at an affordable price, with a pack of 10 sheets costing about $15, making them an attractive option for photographers on a budget.
Foam boards are going to enhance the quality of your photos because they create a pleasant backlight effect, soften harsh shadows, and emphasize details in the photos. This is all thanks to their ability to reflect and diffuse fill light towards the subject.
They're also portable, making them great for both studio and on-location shoots.
Foam boards are also really useful for creating cookie lighting (cucoloris lighting).
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Fabric & Cloth Backdrops
Fabric or cloth backdrops are a traditional choice for product photography, offering a variety of textures, patterns, and colors to complement the subject being photographed. They are particularly favored for their affordability and portability.
Muslin backdrops, made of cotton, are a popular type of fabric backdrop known for their durability and machine washability (this is not always the case so make sure to check the label). Fabric backdrops are also easy to set up, requiring only a backdrop stand or clips to hang.
You have two options with a fabric backdrop. The first is full-height sheets that you can position behind your product. Due to the plethora of designs, textures, and colors fabric sheets are available in, they are extremely versatile. They can also be custom-made for a pattern that suits your use-case if required, but this will significantly increase your cost.
Alternatively, to create a more authentic look, you can clump some fabric together and place your product on top.
The cost of fabric backdrops can range from affordable to high-end, depending on the material quality and design complexity. But overall, they are an affordable option to bring some variety to your photos.
Iron or steam the fabric before your shoot to remove any wrinkles which could distract from the product.
Stone or Sand
Natural elements like stone or sand as a backdrop for product photography give a unique, organic look that may resonate well with certain brands or products. If your product uses elements of nature or has a rugged/rusty aspect this could be the one for you!
The cost and practicality of using stone or sand as a backdrop largely depends on how you use it. The most cost-effective option is to conduct the shoot on a natural site, for example a beach.
If you want to artificially create an environment procuring and transporting stone or sand to a studio can be expensive. The ease of setup may also be challenging; arranging stones or spreading sand to get the desired effect may require a considerable amount of time and effort.
Doing the shoot in a natural setting will also mean you are at mercy of the elements, although they may work in your favour - sunny skies, light drizzle, or snow could all produce stunning shots.
Foliage backdrops utilize leaves, plants, or flowers to create a lush and natural setting. They work well for products related to gardening, skincare, or natural and eco-friendly items and will bring a refreshing and vibrant touch to your product photography.
If you opt for real foliage this can deteriorate over time if not properly looked after but can produce better photos.
Fake plants can be reused at a later date without this deterioration and will likely cost less than the real thing.
Achieving the right lighting and focus can be a challenge with foliage, especially if it's dense or unruly. Careful attention will need to be paid to lighting, focus, and composition to ensure that the product remains the center of attention and that the foliage enhances rather than distracts from the product.
Overall, foliage can be a cost-effective, versatile, and visually appealing choice for product photography backdrops, provided that the challenges of working with natural elements can be effectively managed.
The Bokeh Technique
The Bokeh technique, characterized by aesthetically pleasing blurred lights or backgrounds, creates a soft, out-of-focus background, which helps to draw attention to the product in the foreground.
It's especially effective for adding a touch of magic to product photos with sparkly or reflective surfaces.
What you'll need is a good quality lens with a large aperture (low f-number) and a suitable light source or reflective objects in the background.
The setup is not overly complex but does require a basic understanding of aperture settings, focal lengths, and distance between the camera, subject, and background lights. Once these elements are understood, achieving a bokeh effect is straightforward.
The bokeh effect creates a distinct separation between the product and the background, ensuring the focus remains on the product while still providing a visually pleasing backdrop.
Smoke can be used to create mysterious and dramatic backgrounds by adding an ethereal element. Smoke adds an element of intrigue and mystique to your product photos. It's particularly effective for products that aim to convey a sense of mystery or excitement.
You have a few options to add smoke to your images. You can use smoke machines, smoke bombs, or digitally add smoke in post production. The cost and difficulty of creating your shots will depend on which option you take.
It's also important to note that the backdrop and lighting will play an important part in the aesthetic of the photo as well. Maybe you could use a foam board or paper backdrop and low light to create a dark, mysterious theme. Using smoke in your product photos can produce some breathtaking results. It adds a mysterious, alluring feel to your photos.
Utilizing smoke as a backdrop for product photography can create a mystical, ethereal, or dynamic atmosphere, making it a unique choice for showcasing products in a captivating manner.
Remember to check the legality of using smoke bombs in your local jurisdiction and to have a well-ventilated space if doing this indoors.
Paper, Wallpaper & Wrapping Paper
Wallpaper and wrapping paper come in an array of patterns and designs. They are particularly great for smaller subjects, but larger rolls can also accommodate family portraits, fashion, larger products, and group shots.
These backdrops are versatile and budget-friendly, making them suitable for various product types. They allow you to experiment with different styles and aesthetics easily.
They're also cheap and plentiful, available at any regular supermarket. This means you can buy a bunch of different ones and experiment with all the different lighting and angles. The setup is straightforward, just make sure its on a flat surface and there are no creases in the paper.
The crisp patterns and vibrant colors can enhance the visual appeal of the product, making it stand out. And paper backdrops allow for easy and quick changes between different looks, enabling photographers to achieve a variety of styles without much hassle.
Reflection or glare is something to consider, especially on glossy wrapping paper.
Ice backdrops can create a sleek and reflective surface for product photography. It adds a modern and polished look to your images. It's ideal for showcasing beverages, cosmetics, or any products that benefit from a clean and sophisticated appearance.
The cost associated with using ice can vary depending on whether real ice, artificial ice, or digital ice effects are used. Real ice is relatively inexpensive but requires a controlled environment to prevent melting, while artificial ice or digitally created ice effects might incur additional costs.
The quality of photos achieved with an ice backdrop can be stunning, with the icy setting providing a sharp contrast and emphasizing the product's features. The reflective and refractive qualities of ice can create interesting light effects, adding a dynamic and visually appealing element to the photographs.
Something to consider: you'll need a good understanding of lighting techniques to manage reflections and ensure the product is well-lit against the ice backdrop.
Overall, while challenging to work with, ice backdrops offer a unique and visually captivating choice for product photography, with the potential to significantly elevate the aesthetic appeal of the images, making the products appear refreshing, luxurious, or seasonally festive.
Floor or wall tiles are easy to find, cheap, and durable. The setup is straightforward as the tiles can be laid flat or propped up against a support, depending on the desired angle and perspective. The ease of setup means you can quickly adjust the scene and experiment with different arrangements.
Alternatively you can find a room or environment which already has tiles on the wall, such as a kitchen or bathroom.
The smooth, reflective surface of glossy ceramic tiles can add a level of sophistication to the photographs, while matte-finish tiles provide a more understated, elegant backdrop.
Using tiles as a backdrop can produce some really cool photos. The tiles providing a clean, uncluttered background that allows the product to stand out. They can also reflect light in a way that highlights the product, adding to the overall visual appeal of the photographs.
Additionally, the size of the tiles can be chosen to suit the scale of the products being photographed, providing further flexibility in composing the shots. Overall, ceramic flooring tiles are a cost-effective, durable, and versatile backdrop option for product photography, offering a range of creative possibilities and a high-quality, professional look in the final images.
Wooden backdrops provide a timeless, natural, and rustic aesthetic to product photographs, making them a popular choice for a variety of items. The cost of acquiring a wooden backdrop can range from moderate to high, depending on the quality, finish, and size of the wood.
If you're on a budget reclaimed or salvaged wood can be a cost-effective choice. Alternatively you can try to find an existing setting with a wooden backdrop, like a barn or shed. Purchasing new, high-quality, or specially finished wood can be more expensive.
Wood suits a wide range of products and styles, from rustic and vintage to modern and sleek, depending on the type and finish of the wood used. Different types of wood, grains, and finishes offer a myriad of stylistic possibilities, allowing for a broad spectrum of visual themes.
The texture and color of wood can add a warm, organic feel to the photographs, creating a visually appealing contrast with the product, and helping it to stand out. The quality of photos achieved with a wooden backdrop can be high, with the natural texture of the wood adding depth and a tactile dimension to the images.
Furthermore, wooden backdrops can be easily combined with other materials or props to create a richer, more complex setting for the photographs.
Lifestyle backdrops mimic real-life settings, allowing your products to be showcased in relatable contexts.
Lifestyle backdrops help potential customers envision how products fit into their lives. They tell a story and create an emotional connection with the audience.
The cost associated with lifestyle backdrops can vary widely based on the location, props, and setup required. If a real-world location is used, costs might include location fees, travel, and props.
Lifestyle shots can product some really eye-catching photos and can provide a good contrast with the standard studio shot that many opt for with product photography.
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Newspaper helps you tell a story with a photo. It evokes a sense of nostalgia and will fit your brand if you have a vintage or historic element. It's also plentiful and cheap to acquire, making it the perfect backdrop for your product photos.
The black and white print of newspapers often provides a neutral yet textured backdrop that can make colored products pop.
These will be easy to find in any antique store or charity shop.
Vintage trays bring a distinctive, rustic charm to product photographs. They allow for some creative flexibility; you can play with angles, lighting, and arrangements to create a variety of moods and styles. Plus they’re easy to get and cheap, you might even have some laying around your house already.
Adding complementary props like old-fashioned kitchen utensils, fresh ingredients, or textile elements like a checkered cloth will further enhancing the vintage or rustic vibe.
Wooden cutting board
Wooden cutting boards often brings a warm, rustic, and organic ambiance to product photos. This backdrop is especially favored for food photography, kitchenware, or any products that harmonize with a natural aesthetic.
The natural grain and texture of the wood add a unique depth and character to the images. The neutral but textured background provided by wood helps the product to stand out.
If needed, you can also paint your wooden cutting board to make it fit your product