In today’s mini-lesson, we will be talking about Tip #2: The Importance of a Good Background.
We’ve all seen perfect Instagram pics. You know, the ones where the lighting is so bright and crisp, the image quality crystal clear, all the colors just seem to pop! The picture is just so good in every possible way. There’s no way your Insta photos could ever look that good! Well, about that…
I can’t make you and your camera phone a professional photographer overnight, but I can share with you 5 super easy tips that can bring your photography game to the next level. Best of all, every tip is for the blogger on a budget, so you can get stunning photos without breaking the bank!
If you read this tip and thought, “Yeah, okay. Lame tip. Neeext!” Don’t be so quick to dismiss this one! This is one of those smaller details that can actually make a big difference in your photography.
In the simplest terms, this tip boils down to: Keep it simple.
As a general rule of thumb, I try to use lighter backgrounds in my photography. The lighter the better. Why? Because lighter backgrounds reflect light, making for brighter pics. Meanwhile, darker backgrounds absorb light, making for darker pics.
My favorite kind of photography background is super simple: a plain, white background. The best news is that it’s super cheap to recreate this background yourself!
All you need to do is go to the dollar store and buy a piece of poster board. Ta-da! Another popular way to get the perfect white background is to buy a small whiteboard and take your flat lay styled photos on top of the white board.
I personally just use the poster board because it’s cheaper. I actually went out and bought two different types of poster board, because my dollar store carried 2 different varieties and I didn’t know which one I would like better! One of them was $1.00, and the other was $0.50. Woo-hoo!
The first type of poster board I got was a thicker foam board, less than a half-centimeter thick. This one was the matte poster board. The other poster board I got was thinner and floppier, but glossier.
Remember what I said about reflecting and absorbing light? Much like a whiteboard, the glossy poster board reflected more light than the matte poster board.
I actually used both poster boards a lot at first. I didn’t yet know which windows in my home were the best for photography, so I used to place the glossy poster board (glossy side up) on top of the thicker foam poster board, and set up my styled flat lay the way I wanted it. Then I would carry my little photography setup from window to window, trying to decide which one offered the best lighting.
This is super helpful, especially for longer photography sessions when you have to “chase” the sun or keep retreating to the shade!
You could even bring this set-up outdoors too!
But what if you don’t want to go for the minimalist look? What if you want a background that’s a little more fun? I’ve got a super cheap and easy solution for you: scrapbook paper!
If your subject is small enough, a piece of 12×12″ scrapbook paper can even act as a “frame”, to let you know what will be in your shot, since Instagram photos are square-shaped. But you don’t have to use just one piece of scrapbook paper. You could layer 2 or 3 solid colors to create simple color-blocked backgrounds.
And don’t limit yourself to just scrapbook paper! Get creative with it! You could place your subject on a large doily for a softer, feminine background. Or maybe you want to use a lush fur blanket for a super cozy, luxurious feel. You only limit is your creativity!
Another take on the scrapbook paper idea is to use patterned Con-Tact paper. You can buy the pattern that looks like white marble counter tops, carefully cover the piece of poster board, and suddenly it looks like you have marble counter tops near good lighting all the time!
Be creative, but remember to keep it simple! If your background is too busy, it may distract from the main subject of your photo. Don’t overwhelm yourself! Start with baby steps, and work your way up to more complex backgrounds when you’re ready. (:
That’s all for today, sweet friends! Next time we will be going over the importance of your camera angle in your pictures! Have any questions or comments? Share them below!
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