Continuing on with my photography series – this post is about one of my tricks that I used to use frequently while shooting products for my shop – using fabric as a backdrop. I adore fabric because it adds a warmth you can’t get in other ways. However it is tricky to work with. To give you an idea of how it is done well, the folks over at BHLDN utilize fabric throughout their website.
Fabric won’t be for everyone – but it’s a great think to consider if you’re looking for some creativity in your photography. Below are some photos that were in my shop. The backdrop below is actually my bulletin board from my office. I used to take it off the wall, bring it upstairs to where there was great sunlight and shoot product. Then, I would lug it back down.. The fabric? Painters tarp from Home Depot. It worked well because the fabric was stapled tight to the board and had little creasing. The fabric doesn’t stand out as fabric at first glance (you don’t want people looking at the fabric, but instead, your product) but adds a warmth that I wasn’t getting with a painted board.
In an effort to show some alternative looks to what I normally do, I hit up Fabricland for some of these burlap fabrics in gorgeous jewel tones (shown below).
As you can see below, the fabric creases, and you can see imperfections like pulls in the fabric or, other inconsistencies. Granted, this is how it looked straight out of the bag when I got home from buying the fabric and little to no prep work was done.
Again, one way to combat the messy look is to staple the fabric to a board. You can pull the fabric taut and it will stretch out those wrinkles. You could also potentially steam the wrinkles them out. Last but not least you could photoshop out some inconsistencies
Just another idea to consider when you’re shooting products for your shop or, blog posts! Enjoy!
So far I’ve written two other posts on some of my photography tricks – Part 1 | Learning from Successful Retailers and Part 2 | Custom backdrops for under $10. Seriously folks, this is what I go bananas for. On to this posts topic – it’s a little shorter, but still pretty fun. Wrapping paper. Wheeee! Wrapping paper is a great backdrop for photos. It’s inexpensive and doesn’t take up a lot of room or storage.I picked up this roll from Party City for a few dollars but you can find great patterns on Etsy. If you see a colour or, pattern on sale in your travels, grab a roll. It’s great to have a bunch on hand. You never know when you may come to need a certain colour.
In terms of creativity, consider colour pallets that work well together. Getting nerdy for a moment. Remember your intro to art in school and where they talked about the colour wheel and, complimentary colours? Where the opposite colours on the wheel is naturally the complimentary colour? It actually goes further than that –
There is some science to why colours work well together. Which is why pink and yellow, as I’ve shown above – really look pretty spectacular. Not that you need to pull out your colour wheel every time you want to create a photoshoot, but it’s just interesting that certain colours just work really well together.
If you want patterns, I would think that the smaller the pattern the better if you’re shooting something straight on, so not to distract from the product you’re shooting. I shoot primarily small things, but if you were
Take this gorgeous pink striped paper that I picked up – and I put my favourite pink teacup with it. I’m showing this because I don’t think it’s actually working. The stripes are competing with the cup.
if I layered more in the photo – a napkin, a cookie, and maybe some tea in the cup then it could work. But overall it’s truthfully not my favourite look. I much prefer the solid colour paper. You also have to be a little weary of the sheen of paper, because really you don’t want it to l
ook like you’re using wrapping paper.
The key is to create a nice backdrop for what you want to showcase. Which again is why the solid colours likely are better.
Hopefully some of these posts will give even the most newbie photographer some confidence in trying out some new things. And grab that roll of wrapping paper when it’s on sale, because it may be the ticket to a great shot down the road.