30+ Creative Studio Backdrop Ideas for Photographers on a Budget

30+ Creative Studio Backdrop Ideas for Photographers on a Budget

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There are dozens of incredible backdrop companies in the marketplace now.  When I first started shooting, you pretty much were limited in studio to heavy muslin backdrops or large paper rolls.  Not anymore.  Now you can get incredible designs and scenes on almost any imaginable material.  Some are pricey, some are not.

For newer photographers and for those on a budget, we created a list of things you can use for backdrops in your studio, Big thanks to all those who contributed on my Facebook.  Chances are you have some items sitting around your house right now. And if not most are easy to find and are inexpensive. If you venture outdoors, your options open up even more…

Image by Tashana Klonius Designs

Ideas for backdrops to use inside your home or studio:

  1. Shower curtains
  2. Large towels (such as beach towels)
  3. Blankets (especially King Size)
  4. Tablecloths
  5. Quilts
  6. Wood paneling
  7. Christmas lights (if shooting very shallow DOF)
  8. Sheets
  9. Fabric (velvet, cloth, flannel, etc)
  10. Curtains
  11. Quilts
  12. Antique or painted door
  13. Bubble wrap tacked to a board
  14. Upholstery fabric
  15. Old newspapers
  16. Wrapping paper
  17. Scrapbook paper
  18. Rugs
  19. Kitchen drawer paper liner
  20. Bamboo shade
  21. Plywood sheets
  22. Mirrors
  23. Tile board
  24. Old display boards from department stores/retail stores
  25. Wooden blinds
  26. Painter’s drop cloth
  27. Seamless paper + added recycled party decorations
  28. Wall paneling from a hardware store + paint
  29. Huge flag
  30. Old garage door (recycled)
  31. Aluminum foil glued to a board
  32. Garage floor

Now it is your turn.  In the comments, let us know what fun, inexpensive or unusual things you have used as backdrops for your indoor photography.

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  1. cindy heckert
    October 23, 2012 at 10:21 pm —

    here is another idea for outdoors
    i pick the horse up at a yard sale

  2. November 16, 2012 at 11:48 am —

    Loved these ideas!! I’ve been looking at so many different backdrop sites and they are SO expensive!! Thanks!

  3. December 5, 2012 at 12:50 pm —

    After reading your tips I come up with this.

  4. Iris Martinez
    January 8, 2013 at 10:01 pm —

    For indoors I use one yard $1 fabrics from Walmart they work very well when working with children and babies. For outdoors I seek rustic objects such as old doors, fences, ect 🙂

  5. Hannah
    February 2, 2013 at 5:05 pm —

    How do you hang fabric backdrops? Say if you were in a client’s home and not able to affix anything to a wall/ceiling.

    Are there some kind of stands that can be easily erected, with a rail to clip to?

    • joy Heathcote
      March 26, 2013 at 9:13 pm —

      I just noticed you asked this after I already wrote it below but I used painters tape. itdoesnt leave any moarks on the clients wall.

  6. joy Heathcote
    March 26, 2013 at 9:12 pm —

    I went to the dollar tree and bought the jumbo plastic clothes pins to use as clamps. I also use fabric and my favorite is shower curtains so many styles and colors. When i did a session at the clients home I used my “backdrops” and taped them to the wall using painters tape. i leaves no marks on the walls! also I have used wrapping paper before too.

  7. March 28, 2013 at 5:06 am —

    I am interested in doing something with bubble wrap. What have you guys tried that works well? Thanks for your input.

  8. June 26, 2013 at 8:31 pm —

    I need to create a beach scene inexpensively and quickly. Any ideas on how to do this?

  9. August 1, 2013 at 1:34 pm —

    Hi everyone! saw the newspaper idea, I love it!
    but I wanna know, I want a backdrop which doesn’t reflect flash?
    please let me know of some ideas!


  10. Vicky W.
    September 22, 2013 at 12:20 pm —

    I am trying to plan for my first photo shoot and really need help. It’s my niece and she is wanting preggo pics done with a Fall theme since she is due in November. Any suggestions on what to use and how to create a very inexpensive backdrop? So far I have ideas in my head but stuck there. Wanting a black background and going to use hay bales and fake fall leaves and pumpkins and somehow try and figure out how to position her for the photo. Any suggestions?

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30+ Creative Studio Backdrop Ideas for Photographers on a Budget