Easy Photo Cheat: DIY Backdrops

3 years ago

When real life is photobombing your blog photos, it’s time to take action.  

That action is easier than you think—and, with little to no cost, you can stop a less-than-attractive real life from ruining your next fabulous blog photo.


I live in a wooden villa on the sunny side of a hill in a city fringe suburb in Auckland, New Zealand. My beloved home was built in 1906, and is showing every sign of over 100 years of domestic and family life being lived within her walls.

Renovations are on the horizon, but until they are complete, I have to contend with holes in walls, floors, carpet, windows. Anywhere a solid surface should in fact exist … that is where you will find a distinct absence of solidity.

Four kids who have the coordination of a bowl of jelly when it comes to maneuvering spoons of food from their plates a few inches upwards to their mouths don’t help.

The combination of age and mucky munchkin messiness has resulted in a setting that is not pleasant to look at and has no business featuring in images for my blog.


A simple way I put the focus back on the subject of my photos is to create my own DIY backdrop.

Basic model

All you really need is a moveable flat surface, along with something to lean it on. It is possible to hang sheets or material from a wall, but I prefer using something mobile because it gives me flexibility in where I take my photos. I also find it to be a less cumbersome method.

I purchased a plain painting canvas from a dollar shop along with a large piece of white foam board. While the second item isn’t necessary, I find it gives me a few more options when it comes to the surface I place my photo subject on.

I’ll either lean the canvas against a wall or a couple of heavy books, and my basic photo backdrop is ready.

Although it cost me less than $20 (NZ) for the two items (I chose larger sizes), if you don’t have the money to spare don’t despair. You could use anything that is flat, plain and photogenic or robust enough for you to cover it if need be. Plywood, a cardboard box, the back of a chair, a table tipped onto it’s side, it’s all good my friend!

Dressing the backdrop

Although it is possible to paint the canvas, I have kept mine plain. If you want to create a very specific look for your photoshoot with colour and texture, I’d suggest buying more than one canvas, because a plain background comes in very handy.  

Alternately, you could paint paper or fabric and drape it over the canvas. That way, you could change the look and feel of your image with little effort.

If you want to add interest to your backdrop, you can simply dress it with materials you have in your home:

  • Tablecloths
  • Sheets or pillowcases
  • Fabric remnants
  • Hessian (aka burlap)
  • Wrapping paper
  • Newspaper
  • Clothes

My home will not be featured in a magazine any time soon, but with a little imagination and a few items that can be found in anyone’s home, it’s possible to create lovely images where real life is (temporarily) hidden from view.  

Because, as beautiful as it is to live it, sometimes a raggedy ol’ mess and less-than-superb housekeeping make for a butt-ugly background. Just saying.



You can find me attempting to blog at Lifeblooming

I've written other posts here at BlogHer too. Here's one about

what to check BEFORE you publish a blog post

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