A lot of people seem to think that creating content is overwhelming. This can be true depending on what the overall idea for creating the photo is, but there are some tricks to keeping your content branded and consistent! With these 10 tips you can start cranking out visually interesting and branded content (with your phone!) to help enhance your social media presence, whether you are photographing products for your company, affiliate products for your blog, or simply sharing an interesting photo of something you own.
1. POSTER BOARD
This is one of my favorite and cheapest suggestions to give when people ask about photographing flatlays/products/etc. GO TO THE DOLLAR STORE AND GET SOME POSTER BOARD! Put it on the floor somewhere by a window or in the shade outside and voila, you have a studio backdrop! This is usually very effective when you can get even lighting.
2. COLORED WALLS
I probably overuse this method, but colored walls are my favorite. I like to hold whatever product or object I want to be the focus of my image in front of something colorful, whether it be a solid wall or a mural. If you have portrait mode on your phone or you are shooting with a DSLR, you can also shoot far away for the background to have a bokeh or out of focus effect. This can work really well when you are in front of a mural or something with a busy pattern, as it will push the object more into the foreground and make the background more abstract.
Think blankets, scarves, sheets, tablecloths, textured anything! I've used all of the above for a quick photo background for Instagram. My home decor is pretty in line with my branding online, so I will pull something in front of my floral sheets or a yellow blanket whenever I'm in a pinch to get something posted. Tip: you can also check out the fabric remnants section at places like Wal Mart, Hobby Lobby, or Joann's if you want to buy a small amount of fabric for cheap!
4. THE SKY
I am a sucker for photographing top heavy compositions with the sky in it. I do it all of the time! I love when the blue of the sky is what makes up the negative space, and this also helps give some breathing room to my Instagram grid! Whenever you shoot into the sky, you may need to pull up the shadows of whatever your object is because it's most likely going to be backlit. If you crave more information about iPhone photo editing and iPhoneography, you might benefit from taking my online Mastering iPhoneography workshop!
5. THE GROUND
Just like you can look up and use the sky for a background, you can look down and use the ground to your advantage as well! This is a great tactic if you want to showcase your feet/shoes in the shot. I also want to throw in pool water as part of the "ground" because it can also be a compelling background. Start looking in parking lots for painted sections like the blue of a handicap ramp or the yellow of a parking space. Grass is great to use if you can find an even chunk of shade to shoot in! You can also keep your eyes peeled for designs and mosaics on the ground whenever you're out and about or traveling.
This is an easy one if you can get some rugs near ample light in your house! I have a white furry rug that is a go-to background for flatlays as well as some patterned rugs that I like to use when I want something more colorful. Using natural light will be best for this, but if you are in a bind or shooting at night time, pull a lamp nearby and use LED bulbs to give some even lighting to your scene.
I am a big fan of flowers. Whenever certain blooms are in season I try to utilize them in my photo backgrounds for a pop of color!
8. CUTTING BOARDS
This is really great for if you're trying to showcase food. I have a marble cheeseboard as well as a few different colored cutting boards (all cheap y'all, probably from Big Lots or Tuesday Morning or Target) that I like to use to create compositions and backgrounds with my food photos. You can use these alone on the table, or combine this tip with the other tips such as putting the cutting board on posterboard, on the ground, etc.
9. CONTACT PAPER / WRAPPING PAPER
Speaking of the marble cutting board... I've known people to buy marble contact paper and cover something flat like a poster board with it and use that as a fake marble background, because that can be much cheaper. I am also a fan of using patterned colorful wrapping paper to create content!
10. PLACEMATS / PLATES
Last but not least, whenever you are shooting food you can also get creative with how you plate your dishes! Placemats, trays, and plates are great for adding texture as well as context to how the food might be presented on a table. You can really get creative with this in terms of how you compose and plate the food!
If you liked these photo background tips, you'll probably benefit from my online Do What You Want Workshops! Learn how to consistently create branded content with your iPhone, then optimize it to leverage your social media presence for your brand or business...all at your own pace, online.