HOW TO CREATE AN AWESOME WOODEN DIY BACKDROP PERFECT FOR STILL-LIFE, FLAT LAYS AND FOOD PHOTOGRAPHY ON A BUDGET OF JUST £10!
Denholm Norris is a food photographer based in Essex. His work involves a lot of still life techniques in the studio and on-locations. Mostly, he uses natural light to shoot his work and if you have seen him in action, there’s plenty of DIY hacks going on in order to nail the perfect shot.
You can check out his website here: http://www.denholmnorris.com/
Still life is a tricky old business, and I’m a firm believer that a backdrop can make or break photography -using different colours can complement your subject and make it look really good.
Whether you shoot for a fashion blog, have a collection of logo figurines or you’re a professional photographers, a decent backdrop is incredibly useful.
Well, you’re in luck. Today I’m going to show you how we can take a couple of bits bought from a DIY shop, and create something awesome!
What you need:
• 1x Pack of timber cladding (Tongue and Groove)
• 1x Paint sample tin
• 1x Wood adhesive glue
• 1x Paintbrush
• 1x Sandpaper
• 2p Coins
Getting started notes:
Make sure you have a large space to work in, lay sheets of newspaper down if you don’t want to make a mess!
For the cladding, you can use any size or quality that you want. This example uses a pack of the cheapest available cladding (only £2.69 for 5 pieces). If your budget is higher, you can use higher-quality timber for different effects. This will still look great whatever your budget.
Paint samples are the perfect size for these boards and are cheap to pick up. TIP: The board are double-sided so you can use two different colours on a board.
Lay out your boards and squeeze the wood-adhesive into the groove on the side of the wood panel. Once this is done, slot a second panel into the groove and make sure it is even.
Once the wood glue has dried, you are ready to paint. This is where things can get messy, so be sure to change into clothes that you don’t mind getting paint on! Fill up a mug or cup 3/4 with water and open the lid from your sample pot. Paint a patch on the first panel using the paint, and then dip the paintbrush in the water and spread the paint (roughly over 1/2 a panel each time). This will ensure that the coat is even and that the grain shows through. It will also ensure that the hard-to-reach gaps in are coated. Repeat this process across each panel.
Use this method to coat every panel in paint and then allow an hour to dry. Because the paint is mixed with water, the drying time is shorter. Once the paint is dry, use a piece of coarse sandpaper and go over each panel. This will allow the grain to show through even more.
Once you’ve sanded down all the boards, shake off any excess wood and lay the board back flat. You can now add the second coat to the board. Simply repeat the same process with the paint and water. Then allow to dry.
You now have a finished backdrop ready to photograph. For a deeper grain texture, you can go over again with the sandpaper – this tends to work better with darker colours.