8 ideas for budget friendly Food Photography Backdrops.

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Props in Everyday Items

Now that my camera and I have been hovering in awkward positions over plates of food balanced on the windowsill on a regular basis for well over a year - I have started to "up my repertoire" of props to use as photography backgrounds. These I have found in everyday items  from around the house; in anything from parchment paper to garden chairs. In today's post I thought I would share some of these ideas with you.

These are the 7 items that I use regularly, sometimes combined:


Distressed oven tray

In my last Aberdeen apartment I had plentiful of these gems. This is probably my favourite one to use. I would say, the more stained and rusty - the better! A nice way to add some texture and character to your photos. Actual clean, mint-condition ones of course also do the trick for a plain dark backdrop!

Brown Paper Bags

One of the food scrap bags or perhaps the one you used to pick up mushrooms from the store? Paper bags are queen because of the warm natural colour that can be very complementful to a lot of ingredients and the fact that they are disposable (so you can make it real messy!). If you want some extra texture, crumble it before flattening it out again.

Plywood and furniture paint

After painting my kitchen and some of its chairs, I had some left over blues and pink that I used on a scrappy plywood shelf. So basically free! However you can purchase a small tub of furniture paint for under a tenner that should suffice if you want to make your own. These make great flat lays and as an extra bonus, they are easy to just hide behind the sofa or similar between uses.

Kitchen Towels

Kitchen towlels! You probably already have a few. These can either be flattened out as the entire background or just an element of "liveliness"; like wrapping it and making it go diagonally across the frame.

Parchment Paper

A nice, neutral background. Same rules apply to this as with the brown paper bags really; can be used flat or crumbled and is easily wiped off to use again!

Coloured craft paper

This is an easy and inexpensive way of adding vibrant colours. Of course, due to its limited size this will work mainly for close-ups and you must be careful not to spill as that will ruin the paper.

Wooden (Cutting) Boards

Wooden boards, in particular cutting ones, add a very earthy authentic feel to the photos. The scratch marks etc can also add some nice texture to a photo.

Bonus: look around!

I took this photo using the back of a painting for surface, then a foldable garden chair for background as I thought it had a nice mahogany colour. If you look around your living space, I am sure you will find plenty of imaginative items to be used as food photography backdrops!


Now, what is your go-to background for photographing still life/food? Let me know in the comments below!