Whether you’re a photographer or a party host you will find these DIY photo shoot backgrounds easy to make and for a reasonable price. With an interesting background at your party, you’re sure to end up with some fun and awesome pictures! By changing the color, material, or combining multiple ideas you can adjust any of these backgrounds to fit your needs perfectly.
Background Placement and Installation
First let’s talk about where you plan on setting up this background. If it’s going to be inside, chances are you will set up your background against a wall.
-Try to choose a room with plenty of space and light.
-Large windows or sliding doors will provide a beautiful soft light for your subject.
-Use push pins or 3M Command strips/hooks
-Use a long thin piece of wood (like a dowel) to attach your garland or streamers to. You can also drape fabric or table covers over it. If the dowel is small enough it can rest right on a 3M Command hook. Another option is to put a screw eye on each end of the stick and then attach it to the hooks.
If you’re setting up your background outside there are a few problems you might come across.
-A fence, tree, clothes line, or second story deck can be useful to hang your background from.
-Don’t see anything outside that might be useful? Summon your inner MacGyver and search your garage or tool shed for shovels or any other tall pieces of wood that you can stick in the ground and then tie a string in between the two “posts”.
-If you can’t come up with anything, Dandelions on the Wall has a great tutorial for creating a backdrop stand out of PVC pipe. Be aware that the stand in the tutorial is only 5 feet tall so consider making it a little taller if you want adults to stand in front of it. (Photo and tutorial by Dandelions on the Wall)
Hand Crafted Backgrounds
If you’re really in an artsy mood, check out these crafty background ideas. Some of these DIY crafts can be hung, some can be pinned to a wall, but in the end it’s up to you to decide what to create! Incorporate your surroundings by decorating a fence, bush, or area of your house that you like.
- Pinwheel fans made with construction paper. (Tutorial by A Pretty Cool Life)
- Garland made from a pool noodle. (Tutorial by Sugar & Cloth)
- Clouds made with foam spheres and cotton stuffing. Buy a few Styrofoam spheres from the craft store and a package of cotton stuffing. Use hot glue to attach the stuffing to the spheres. Try smushing the Styrofoam to create abnormal shapes.
- Classic paper chain garland.
- Irregular paper chain garland. This looks super awesome but also very time consuming to make. (Tutorial by Oh Happy Day)
- Crepe paper streamers. (Tutorial by Glorious Treats)
- Ripped fabric strips. (Tutorial by The Blissful Bee)
- Ribbon and lace.
- Strands of small clear balloons, so they look like bubbles.
- Jellyfish and bubbles made out of Styrofoam balls and tissue paper. (Tutorial by Lia Griffith)
- String together flowers, either real or handmade, to create flower garlands. Click here to see our tutorial on DIY Tissue Paper Flowers.
(Photo credit EA Photo)
- Fill up your whole background or just parts of it with balloons.
- Try mixing balloons and streamers. Place them randomly, or try placing all the balloons at the bottom and all the streamers hanging from the top or vice versa.
- String together marshmallows on fishing line and hang from the ceiling for a cute winter snow theme.
- Create your own garland out of circles. Heck, why not make some squares and triangles too!? (Tutorial by Popcosmo)
Using Plastic Table Covers
With a few bucks and some imagination you can turn those cheap plastic table covers into a fun photo shoot background.
- Hang up a solid color table cloth and decorate with balloons. Place the balloons randomly or tie them to a sting to create balloon garlands. (Photo from hallballoons.com)
- Use 3 different colored tablecloths, cut them into strips, layer them on top of each other, and braid each streamer for about 6 inches. (Photo and tutorial from Rain on a Tin Roof)
- For an ombre backdrop you’ll need 3 or 4 different shades of one color. You can even use white as your lightest shade. Cut each table cover into strips about 1 foot wide and the entire length of the table cover. Now turn your strips into fringe. You want to keep the fringe attached like a phone-number you can rip off the bottom of an ad. When hanging the fringe on a wall, start from the bottom and make sure the next strip overlaps the first one. (Photo and tutorial from For the Love Of)
- Turn your table cover into awesome fringe! This is just like example #3 but less time consuming and you probably only need 1 or 2 table covers to pull this off. Add some pop to an already existing background such as a bush or wooden fence. (Photo and tutorial from And Then We Saved)
- LEGOS!! Use green, yellow, blue and red table covers and plates to create these larger than life legos. Cut or fold each table cloth into rectangles and squares then piece together on the wall. Add 2, 4 or 6 matching colored plates to each tablecloth. (Photo from unknown source)
- Scrunched up wavy table covers make a great ocean. Switch the colors if you like this idea but don’t need an ocean theme. (Photo and tutorial from Meaningful Mama)
- This rainbow is adorable and super easy to set up. Use white balloons as the cloud or get crafty and make your own. You can make a cloud like this out of foam core poster board and cotton stuffing or cotton balls. (Photo from Sopha & Co.)
- Create a Powerpuff Girls backdrop using a blue, red and green table cloth. There are many more themes you can create just by pinning tablecloths to a wall.
Using Bed Sheets and Blankets
Ever since I graduated from school I haven’t had access to large and expensive backdrops. A luxury that I will always miss, but nothing that I can’t work around. If I don’t like the color of the wall where I’m taking pictures my go to fix is to hang a Queen sized flat sheet. I’m reckless with push pins but you can always drape the sheet over a long pole and use command hooks to hold the pole on the wall.
- Hang a sheet or blanket flat on the wall. Beware of wrinkles! I highly recommend using an iron and/or steamer otherwise the attention will be on your wrinkly sheet and not the person.
- Don’t have time for ironing? Hang a sheet by overlapping it onto itself about 2 inches every foot. This gives the sheet texture and imperfections so the wrinkles are less noticeable.
- First drape Christmas lights on the wall and then hang a white or light-colored sheet on top. Have your subject stand about 10-15’ in front of the wall to create a twinkling background.
- First hang a sheet or blanket then hang Christmas bulbs in front. You can also try this with any of the other hand crafted background ideas.
Using a Wall
These ideas are meant to be implemented on a wall but that doesn’t mean that you can’t make some changes so that these ideas work perfectly for you.
- Place clear push pins randomly on a wall. Make sure you cover an area around 6’x6’. Pick a string or yarn of your choice and start wrapping it around the push pins. Have fun creating triangles and odd shapes. Be irregular with your movements and you’ll end up with a trendy geometric background.
- Use square plates to create blocky 8-bit characters or patterns (aka what ancient video games look like). Or you can cut your own squares from construction paper.