Easy + Affordable Photography Backdrops

one of the most common requests i receive asks me to share pullbacks of my photo set ups and share a little behind the scenes glimpse of how i create my photographs.  well today, your requests have been answered!  in addition to a pullback that will show you how i set up my photographs, i am also sharing what easy and affordable things i use as photography backdrops, and what i use as a reflector to help reduce shadows in my photos.  i am all about finding everyday things to use as backdrops and reflectors in order to save a dime because…well, i love shoes.  and the money i save on photography items goes straight to my shoe budget!  get ready to get inspired and get a little peek into my world of everyday photography!

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Easy + Affordable Photography Backdrops

Easy + Affordable Photography Backdrops | Bethadilly Photography

My Photography Backdrops

let’s talk about photography backdrops.  i spend less than $10 on backdrops and i love how small they are, making it easy to store in my office.  what you don’t know about these photography backdrops is, they are actually tables…without the legs.  IKEA is my dreamworld when it comes to buying photography backdrops.  i simply pick out little tables at IKEA, and throw away the legs.  it’s as simple as that, and they have so many colors to choose from!  i use the white tabletop for my white backgrounds and just purchased the gray one, too!  the wooden board in the middle is actually a cutting board, which was purchased from IKEA as well.

Easy + Affordable Photography Backdrops | Bethadilly Photography

How I Set Up My Photographs

when it comes to setting up my photographs, i always seek out natural light.  i don’t use any artificial light, so sometimes this means only photographing during certain times of the day.  to be honest, i am super picky about my light and will patiently wait for good natural light.  one of the most common ways i set up my photos is by setting up a barstool near the window, then placing one of my photography backdrops on the seat of the chair.  this allows me to get my subject near ideal natural light and gives me the flexibility to rotate the chair in a variety of directions to experiment with how the light interacts with my subject.

above you will find pullback photos that show you how i achieved my photograph of my baking ingredients with one of my photography backdrops.

Easy + Affordable Photography Backdrops | Bethadilly Photography

How I Use A Homemade Reflector

there are times when i don’t mind shadows in my photos, but there are also the times when i want to reduce them.  after seeing a wonderful post by trisha of “go eat your beets” that was posted on “click it up a notch,” i was inspired to head to the grocery store to buy a reflector.  yes, i did just say that my reflector comes from a grocery store, target to be exact.  i use a 36×48 elmer tri-fold display board as my reflector, just like i used for my science project in the 5th grade!  i like to use a tri-fold board because it is easy to position and can stand up by itself, without me holding it into position while i am trying to photograph.  i like that it is hands free, allowing me to just focus on clicking the buttons on my nikon d610.

in the photos above, you will see how effective a reflector can be in reducing shadows.  in the examples above, the light is coming in from the right, with the reflector placed on the left side of the frame.  again, sometimes i really like shadows in my photos.  it just depends on the type of feel or emotion i want to achieve.  when using a reflector, i find it easiest to put the backdrops on the floor near a window so i have enough room to position my reflector.

and there you have it!  a little sneak peek into my world of backdrops, reflectors, and how i set up my photos!  where do you like to purchase your backdrops?  be sure to share your backdrop finds in the comment section!

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  • Lauren / Small Town Simple - These are great ideas and so creative! Apparently I need to get to Ikea soon! Thank you for the tips.ReplyCancel

  • Diana - This is awesome! Thank you for sharing!ReplyCancel

  • Andrea Ferrard - Genius!ReplyCancel

  • Dianna Vuong Man - Thanks for sharing! I needed a black back drop to shoot a portrait but was on a budget so I used “landscaping fabrics” that was left over from my yard work. It worked! Check it out on my Instagram feed if you have time! Thx again and always looking forward to your blog!ReplyCancel

  • alina thomas - This is a really great post! Thanks for sharing, Beth!ReplyCancel

  • Patty Limaco - Great post! Thank you for sharing. I struggle with finding backdrops at home that also are near good lighting. I love the idea of a portable backdrop and affordable!ReplyCancel

  • Cathy McClary Ludwig - enjoyed reading this! Thank you for the tips! I look forward to experimenting!ReplyCancel

  • Elizabeth Emsweller Ellenbecker - Brilliant! I love Ikea as well. Never thought of this but the possibilities seem endless! Thanks for sharing!ReplyCancel

  • The Kentucky Gent - Um, I know what I’m grabbing next time I’m at Target. Thanks for sharing!

    Josh – The Kentucky Gent

  • Olga Gerik - Love all your posts. This one in particular is exactly what I needed to read! I struggle with backdrops and light. Will you do a post on how you do your self portraits too? That would be awesome! Thanks for sharing:)ReplyCancel

  • Shawna - Great idea with the tri fold, I used to work at hobby lobby so I would see people buy those all the time! Thanks for taking the time to share it’s been very helpful!ReplyCancel

  • Cristin - Love following your blog and #thebethadillychallenge. You’re an inspiration!ReplyCancel

    • {beth} a-dilly - thank you so much! so happy to have you here, reading along and participating in #thebethadillychallenge! glad you are enjoying it!ReplyCancel

  • Jon Barnes - Great tips, thanks for sharing! The white foam boards that you can buy at an office supply store work great as reflectors and backgrounds. Dirt cheap too!

    (Sorry if this is a repeat post, I tried posting with Yahoo but I’m not sure it worked)ReplyCancel

    • {beth} a-dilly - thanks so much, jon! glad you enjoyed the tips! and, no worries, your post wasn’t repeated! thanks for the comment!ReplyCancel

  • Jessica - Hi beth! This is so great…love this post. I’ve always wondered how your set up looked like. I’m actually wanting to work on this more. Thanks for sharing. 😉ReplyCancel

  • my 365 photography project | april 2015 » beth a-dilly - […] in case you missed it, i wrote a post about what backdrops i use and i am sharing some pullbacks of my photos!  check it out + […]ReplyCancel

  • Alyssa Ahern - Which cutting board did you get? Thanks!ReplyCancel

    • {beth} a-dilly - oh gosh, I can’t remember. I don’t remember there being a lot of options, I just bought the wooden one at Ikea. 🙂ReplyCancel