DIY Flatlay Photography Backgrounds With SUPER CHEAP SUPPLIES! | Trupti Karjinni | Skillshare

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DIY Flatlay Photography Backgrounds With SUPER CHEAP SUPPLIES!

teacher avatar Trupti Karjinni, Artist, Paintmaker, Entrepreneur

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

6 Lessons (22m)
    • 1. What's this class about?

    • 2. Why Have A Good Surface For Flatlays?

    • 3. Super cheap materials!

    • 4. Classic White Textured Surface

    • 5. Moody, Sophisticated Grey Surface

    • 6. Class Project and Final Thoughts

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About This Class


If you click any sort of flat lay photos for your social media, website, etc., this class is for you! Ever wanted to click beautiful flatlays, food/product photos but you've felt frustrated with bad backgrounds? Worry not, my friend! Today we are going to create professional looking, sophisticated surfaces for flat lay photography using extremely affordable materials. Nay, INSANELY INEXPENSIVE materials!

Having a great background for your flatlays is extremely important to keep consistency in your Instagram feed. I'll be teaching you how to make two fantastic backdrops - a classic white textured surface for clean photographs and a grey-white textured surface for a more moody look. Best of both worlds!

I click pictures of my artworks and product photos for my brand Blue Pine Arts, where we make handmade watercolors and sketchbooks. I needed beautiful backgrounds to make my pictures look professional. I'm surprised I didn't know it was so easy to have fantastic backdrops for my photos for two years but now I do and I'm sharing all the secrets with you! I guarantee that you will be blown away by the class results! :)



Meet Your Teacher

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Trupti Karjinni

Artist, Paintmaker, Entrepreneur

Top Teacher


Hey there! I'm Trupti Karjinni, an artist and creative entrepreneur based in India. I wear the hats of a Painter, Paintmaker and Educator.

I am the creator of Thrive With Trupti, a reimagined online membership where I teach watercolor enthusiasts like you the skills and mindset you need to create confidently.

I'm also the Founder of Blue Pine Arts where we make our world-renowned handmade watercolors, sketchbooks and other art supplies.

I live in the idyllic town of Belgaum with my husband, Nahush and my cat master, Satsuki.

Although I work with many mediums, ... See full profile

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1. What's this class about?: Do you want to click the perfect flatly photo for your Instagram or your website, but you felt frustrated because you didn't have the beautiful professional-looking surfaces or backdrop to do so? Well, I've been there as well, and today, it's time to take things into our own hands. Hey, guys. I'm Trupti Karjinni, an artist, instructor, and owner of Blue Pine Arts, a company that makes handmade, undescribed watercolors and other art supplies. You can find more about me and all the classes I teach on my Skillshare profile. In today's class, I'm going to teach you how to create not just one, but two beautiful professional-looking surfaces to up your photography game, and we're going to do all of that using extremely affordable supplies. The class today is going to be all about fun and the results are extremely satisfying. So without further ado, let's dive into the class and take a look at all the supplies we'll be needing. 2. Why Have A Good Surface For Flatlays?: There are a lot of elements that come into play when you're taking good Flatly picture. But one of the most important things that you want to think about is the surface that you're taking the picture on. The background is a big part of composition of the picture. And you want to make sure that it is beautiful and that it ties everything in the Flatly together. You want to background to have a little bit of a texture, a little bit of a character of its own, but also not distract from the message you're trying to express through your photo. For my side, I personally go for a white textured surface or a neutral surface, and not for bright and bold colors and bold patterns because I feel that they're going to distract the viewer and they won't showcase the object that I'm trying to photograph. So some photography surfaces sold online for food photographers and profession travel photographers to be really expensive. And we will able to make equally professional-looking surfaces using extremely affordable materials and all from your home. So let's get started. 3. Super cheap materials!: The materials that you're going to need in today's class are not hard to find. You can find them easily in any hardware store or a paint store. As I said, they are extremely affordable and I'm going to show you just how affordable. The first thing you're going to need is a plywood board, like this one. It looks like this, and once I'm done making the surface, this is how it looks like. The great thing about using a plywood board like this, is that it's really lightweight. It's thin and you can have a one white surface on this side and another darker surface on this side. You can have two surfaces in one board, which is pretty neat. I don't know if you can see it in the screen, but this is a 2 feet by 2 feet board. Having a large board really helps, because then you have a lot of area to include a lot of elements in your flat lay and then you can also have some negative space around your objects at you place. I always prefer going for a big board. If you have a small board, it can limit the space you have in your photograph. The next material I'm going to need is called an acrylic wall putty. In other countries, it's also called a joint compound. It's a really thick, white paste. It's already premixed, you don't have to do anything. All you need to do is scoop it out of the box, dump it onto the board and start making the surface like I'm going to show you in the next video. The incredible thing about this is, it's one kg in weight and it's only 71 rupees. That's insane. That's a little over $1, so extremely cheap. A wall putty is a thick, matte white paste and it has a lot of body to it so it's great for texture invokes when you lay down on the plywood board. If you can't find acrylic wall putty or a joint compound, you can also go for something called a sparkling paste, which can perform the same function for the first surface that we're going to make. The second board that I'm going to make is going to be a gray and white, like a dark neutral colored board. I'm going to use water-based acrylic primer. This is a white primer. It's a really big box because we needed it a lot for other projects as well. You can see that the cost is just 147 rupees. This is one liter of white acrylic paint and it's just 147 rupees. The brand I'm using is Asian Paints, for all of my materials. The next thing that you're going to need are little paint pots. When you go to hardware store, or a paint store, you can get little paint pots which are sample size paints, which you can swatch on your wall and see if you like the color. They're perfect for this project. I am choosing acrylic paints and not oil paints because once these paints dry, they become completely matte, and you won't be catching any glare on your surface with this paints. With oil paints, you might get a light layer and it's going to defeat the entire purpose of having a good surface. Anything matte will work. If you don't have an acrylic wall paint like this, you can also go for chalk paints, which are also great for making surfaces, because they go matte as well when they dry. I got this gray paint pot for a 136 rupees and it's 200 ml and it's more than enough for the project that we need today. It's really good that you can go and pick up colors and you can choose whatever colors you want in these little boxes. I'm going to be using a gray paint and a white paint for my second surface because both are really good neutral colors. When you choose colors for the second surface that I'm going to show you, make sure that you choose colors that are in the same color family and that you don't choose complementary colors because when you mix clashing colors, two or three of them, they might end up making mark on your surface and it might look undesirable in your photographs. So choose colors that are going to go well with each other. The next thing I'm going to need are palette knives. This is like a cake icing knife, and this is another standard palette knife. It really helps if you have a wider palette knife, the kind you get which are really short and have a wide edge. That is really useful but since I didn't have that on me, I just use the ones that I had. This one was really useful. A smaller palette knife to create the texture that you want. These two palette knives are the ones that I've used, but use whichever ones that you have. Another important thing that you want is an ordinary sponge because we're going to use this to spread the paint on the second surface. This is also going to give us a beautiful surface and help us blend the two or three colors together. So, an ordinary sponge, not expensive again. Another thing that you want is an apron so that you don't get paint all over your beautiful clothes. If you're icky about getting paint on your hands, please use gloves. I almost forgot, another thing that you might need is a cloth rag to wipe the paint off the palette knife or the warm putty off the palette knife. One important thing you definitely need to keep in mind for today's class is that you make the surfaces in a well ventilated area, and if you're allergic to paint fumes, definitely wear a mask. That's all the supplies that we're going to need today. 4. Classic White Textured Surface: I have the palette knives with me, I have my sanded plywood board. I'm going to open up the box of the wall putty and I'm going to scoop out this thick paste directly onto the plywood board, it's really as simple as that. When I first found out how to make this board I was so surprised at how simple and how easy it is to make this surface that looks so cool and so professional by the end of it. I'm going to scoop out some more of this thick paste and dump it onto different corners of my board so that it's easy to spread and I'm going to use my palette knife and just start spreading it around. Now, it helps to have a wider palette knife when you're doing this project, but since I don't have it on me today, I'm going to use whichever palette knives I have on me. Imagine that you're icing a cake, except that this paste is a lot thicker than it looks so it does require quite a bit of elbow piece to spread it around, so be prepared for a good arm workout on the day that you are making this project. Scoop out as much paste as you think you need onto the board and keep spreading it around. Don't worry about perfection, don't worry about the texture at this point all you need to do is just spread the paste and get more or less of an even coverage onto the board, because in the next few stages we are going to deliberately introduce the texture onto a surface. If at this stage you are happy with the texture that you have, you can go ahead with it, but I wanted more of a subtle texture so I'm first going to smoothen this whole surface and once the surface is nice and even I'm going to use my palette knife to introduce the texture I'm looking for onto this board. Again, at this stage, I'm not chasing perfection, I'm just trying to get an even surface as best as I can. The great thing about working with this wall putty is that it is so easy to introduce texture into it. At this point when you're trying to make the surface even, even if you leave a little imperfections, it's still going to blend in with the texture that we are going to deliberately introduce after we finish making the surface even. Once I'm done making the surface even, I'm going to grab my smaller palette knife and start introducing the texture onto my surface by lightly applying pressure on the side of my palette knife and moving in this cross hatched pattern. Now, take care not to put too much pressure onto your palette knife or you're going to scrape the paste right off of the board. Apply very light texture and move in a random pattern so the texture looks organic and keep working onto the board and introducing the texture in the way that you like. Now, different palette knives produce different textures, so feel free to experiment you don't need to have the exact same supplies I have. Instead of palette knives, you can also use expired credit cards or library cards or any flat surface. You can see how I start working from one corner of the board and then move in a cross hatched pattern towards the other corner of the board. One more thing I am careful off at this point is that I don't want my texture to be too raised, so I'm being very careful about how much pressure I'm applying on my palette knife, because I don't want the texture to be so pronounced that it takes away the tension from whatever object that I'm going to place on top of this board when I'm using it in my photography. It's also very easy to have so much fun in this project that you're going to get carried away and introduce too much texture or ruin the texture that you already have. So know when to stop and when you're happy with the texture that you have move away from it and stop dabbling with the joint compound because it's very easy to get caught up in this whole process. You can see from this angle how the texture is not too pronounced. I'm going to finish this up by grabbing some more wall putty on my palette knife and give the edges a finishing touch. Once you're happy with the texture on the board, set it aside to dry for about 24 hours and if you want your board to be spill proof, especially for food photography, spray it with two coats of a matte varnish. I don't prefer to spray my board with any varnish because I want it to be completely glare free. Now that the board has dried, you can see the texture of this wall putty. Since it's acrylic based and it's water based, it's a 100 percent matt, so there's no glare on this at all and I'm so happy with how this has turned out because the texture looks very organic, it looks natural and all the pictures that I've taken on it look really great. Here's another closer look at the surface and you can see how it looks so professional, it's a classic white textured surface that goes well with almost anything that you put on it. It's elevating any object that I'm putting on top of it and it looks great and all of my flat lays and all of my videos and makes them look more professional and more legit and it was a tonne of fun to make and it did not burn a hole in my pocket. 5. Moody, Sophisticated Grey Surface: The next surface that we're going to make is going to be a gray and white textured board for more moodier tone in our photographs. I'm going to drop the gray paint directly onto my sanded plywood board. Using this sponge, I'm going to dab the paint and spread it around. This dabbing motion with the sponge is going to create the texture that we're looking for in this board. Next, I'm going to drop in the white paint next to the gray color, and again with the sponge, I'm going to dab it and blend the two colors together. What we don't want here is to over-blend both the colors so that we get just one shade of gray on the entire board. What you're looking for at the end of this project is a dynamic blend between both of the colors, so that you get multiple shades of gray. This is going to add an extra layer of visual interest to your photographs. Continue adding the gray paint and the white paint on the rest of the board. Put some music on and get your dab on, and patiently cover the entire board by blending both the colors together. I keep adding white paint and gray paint in different areas to get the look that I want for my board, and I keep blending both the colors together. One important thing to keep in mind for the surface where you're going to be blending two or more colors together is that you don't pick colors that clash with each other, like complementary colors. Because they're going to blend and make a muddy color which might end up looking unpleasant in your pictures. Once I blended the gray and white together, I had this spot of mosque green color on me, and I decided to throw it in the mixture as well. I added a light coat of the mosque green with my sponge and added a little bit of white and gray. I blended all three colors together in the same dabbing motion with the sponge. Once you're happy with the blends and the look of your board, just set it aside to dry for a few hours. Once my board dried, you can see how beautiful the texture looks and you can see the lovely blends that we have got between the white and the gray. It all look so organic and it looks so beautiful. Once I zoom out, you can see the actual color of this board, and I love how this has turned out. Here's a closer look at the surface when I'm assembling a flat lay on it and you can see how it lends a beautiful moodier tone to the composition. We were able to create this professional, classy surface using extremely affordable materials and I think that is fantastic. 6. Class Project and Final Thoughts: Let's do something fun for the class project. Once you are done creating the surface, how about you click a beautiful Flatlay picture of any object. It could be food or a plant, your artwork or any object. Click a lovely flat picture for it on the profession surface that you created in your home and upload it in the class project section. I can't wait to see all the beautiful pictures and it's going to be really inspiring. Thank you for joining me in today's class. I hope you had a ton of fun. I certainly had a lot of fun making these surfaces in my studio and they're quite addictive aren't they? Anyway, if you think this class brought you one step closer to your photography goals, if it improved your pictures on Instagram or your website in any way, please do consider leaving a review, it always means a lot to me. If you like my class, I hope you check out the rest of my classes on Skillshare and I hope you like them and make sure you hit that follow button on my Skillshare profile, because I've got a ton of amazing education content in the pipeline for you. Until the next class, happy painting