Building a Photoshoot set on a Budget

Combining props and creating a unique backdrop for each shoot can become costly and cause a lot of unnecessary waste. This article will help you in building a photoshoot set on a budget. 

Photography can get expensive if you are changing your photoshoot set for each different shoot. Combining props and creating a unique backdrop for each shoot can become costly and cause a lot of unnecessary waste. This article will help you in building a set on a budget. 

Creating a background photoshoot set

Your backdrop is essentially the framing for your model or product. You’ll want to compliment your product with your color and patterns. However, you can create a colorful backdrop for essentially nothing. If you shoot your product on a white background, it gives you a broad scope of versatility. A neutral and consistent white background shot will therefore allow you to cut out the product and then superimpose a new backdrop. There are plenty of royalty-free stock images on sites like Envato Elements, Pixabay and Pexels. 

Honey product photoshoot using herbs and flowers and a piece of burlap sack to create an environment for photography warm lighting

Whilst editing in your background is a great inexpensive fix, it can be difficult if you aren’t well-versed in editing programmes like Adobe Photoshop. Therefore, we have another option. Card stock is the trick to having various colour options without causing waste. Craft stores sell large pieces of card for a couple of pounds, and they will last 2-3 shoots or more if you can store them safely and they don’t get damaged. Also, most card stock is easily recycled at the end of its lifespan, making this a sustainable way to backdrop your photoshoot. 

Textured backdrops are great for flat lays to add depth to a shoot. If you require something more sturdy, with texture and patterns, you can also create some efficient sets using tile and flooring samples. Tester pieces often cost a couple of pounds or can even be free. 

Another great, sustainable option is paint testers. A small tester pot for under £5 can cover a substantial area for smaller product shoots, therefore, you can repeatedly repurpose your flooring samples or backdrops. Again with wallpaper samples, which are often free! (Research your rights to use wallpaper patterns if your photos are for commercial use, as this may lead to copyright concerns.)

Charity shop props 

Charity shops are a great place to source props for your photoshoot. Inexpensive and, also, an excellent way to be sustainable and give back to a charity. They are also great for inspiration before you start planning your shoot. 

Fake that Fresh look with your photoshoot set

Hand soap product photography set up with marble podium and eucalyptus branch

Sometimes the props required are perishable, which, consequently, can be a big problem for shoots that take longer than the item’s last. This could be food or flowers, but the best way to avoid this and have a reusable prop in the future is to use plastic or silk recreations. But how can you make them look believable? The trick is manipulating your setting using the focus on your camera. If the silk flowers in the backdrop are slightly blurred, it can disguise the fact they aren’t real and allow you to reuse them in the future without fearing them wilting. 

Platforms and Podiums 

photoshoot set with books props flowers and macaroons

Platforms are a great way to add depth to images with multiple focus points. A plain block color platform or podium can create more visual interest within an image without distracting from the focus. You can also create platforms using props too. Books are a great way to add adjustable height and also impact aesthetics. 

Upcycle existing props 

Your existing props and backdrops can become repetitive when reused for multiple shoots. But they can be upcycled and transformed to create a brand new arsenal of potential sets. There are many ways you can transform your existing props, here are just a few:

Jane Austen classic novels with alternative dust covers for a photoshoot set
  • Books: Print out new dust jackets online to change the theme of the books, or change a color scheme
  • Backdrops: Wallpaper or repaint your tiles or wooden backgrounds. 
  • Vases or Podiums: Change the color of any item with paint tester pots. 

Fix it in post-production

editing setup for a photoshoot

Photoshop is your friend when creating a perfect backdrop that compliments the subject. Your background may not look excellent in camera due to marks on second-hand props or the colors not entirely fitting cohesively. Editing programs will allow you to remove imperfections with ease. Editing is also useful to extend your photographs and create more negative space, which is especially useful when shooting in a small studio or shooting a larger item. 

You can also produce the illusion of a shiny backdrop if you shoot using paper backdrops but want the set to appear glossy. You can create this effect easily by creating a reflection of the item. 

Creating a perfect set should not break the bank or impact your eco-footprint. It is simple to create a brilliant environment to photograph your subject using this list of tips and tricks to get your desired results. Have you ever upcycled props? Or perhaps you have a favorite prop you purchased in a charity shop? Let us know in the comments below. 

Struggling to decide on your theme? Check out our helpful blog here.

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