DIY Concrete-Look Backdrops for Product Photography | Tabitha Park | Skillshare

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DIY Concrete-Look Backdrops for Product Photography

teacher avatar Tabitha Park, Product & Food Photographer

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

    • 1.



    • 2.

      Things You Will Need


    • 3.

      Painting: Light Grey


    • 4.

      Painting: Dark Slate


    • 5.

      Shooting: Flat Lays


    • 6.

      Shooting: Straight On


    • 7.

      Final Thoughts


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About This Class

In this class I'll show you my techniques and process for creating your own painted concrete backdrop.

As a lifestyle and product photographer, I'm constantly looking for clean, beautiful surfaces to take pictures on. I've built up a small collection of different backdrops that I can cycle through to keep my work looking fresh and varied.

Learning to make my own backdrops has saved me a ton of money and has given me the opportunity to create looks that are uniquely mine!

In this demonstration I'll be painting two double-sided backdrops so you have plenty of examples! For your class project, I wanna see how you implement these steps to create a concrete backdrop that is all your own!

After your backdrop is dry, it's time to put it to work!

I've included 4 shot demos in this class so you can see exactly how I set up and shoot with these surfaces. I'll be shooting with my DSLR and iPhone.

This class is great for any level of photographer who is looking to improve their product, food, art, or lifestyle photography.

Thanks so much for watching!

Meet Your Teacher

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Tabitha Park

Product & Food Photographer

Top Teacher

Hi! I'm Tabitha and I teach photography classes. I'm a lifestyle, product, and food photographer living in the Pacific Northwest with my husband, our 17 gorgeous chickens, and Smallcat! I love plants and coffee and naps. In my spare time I'm a reckless gardener (irl and in Stardew Valley), and unapologetic hobby starter. Currently hyperfixating on crochet, embroidery, and spoon carving!

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1. Introduction: Hi, I'm Tabitha. In this photography class, we're going to be putting together a really simple but effective concrete look backdrop. I make a ton of backdrops. I have a couple different backdrop classes here on skill share, and this one is just really simple and clean, giving you that modern industrial field with this very popular texture and look of concrete. Because concrete's really heavy and not really practical and hard to cure sometimes, we're just going to paint a concrete look. For this class, you don't need to have any painting skills whatsoever. You're going to watch me paint clumsy but still have an effective backdrop in the end. I've got four different surfaces. I'm going to show you that I'm going to do. You can do only what you need to do, do one side, do both sides, do two boards, whatever is going to be most effective to help your work stand out. I'm doing two boards so that I can have a lighter concrete texture on one side and a darker concrete texture on the other side so that I can really work dynamically and have a lot to choose from, but this is what I do for a living. If you're just here to photograph better pictures of the art that you're making or the products that you're selling, or the food that you're excited about, this is perfect for you. We can go ahead and dive in and get painting. We're definitely learning and growing and it doesn't have to be a finished piece of art. We're not hanging this on a wall anywhere, we're just using it to improve our photos. After we make our backdrops and we let them all dry. I'm going to show you how I would put them to use, different lighting setups, where I would shoot, how I would shoot with what lighting. That way if you're really new to this and you really just want something to be like shoot like this. That's what I'm going to be for you, that way at the very end. I'm really excited to see what you create with your backdrop and how you can use it to improve your photography every day. I'm Tabitha, I'm a lifestyle photographer, which I guess just means I photograph my cat a lot and plants, and I'm a teacher here at skill share, and I also create content for brands, which is just photos of their products to help them sell them on Instagram. I'm really passionate about photography. I love that I get to take the photos that I love and I hope that I can show you ways to make your pictures better and improve the look of your Instagram feed or portfolio overall. With all that being said, let's get painting. 2. Things You Will Need: Thanks so much for joining me. For this class, we are going to be making a concrete backdrop. This is my sample project, I made this in preparation for this class, but I will be making four fresh new concrete sides so that you'll have plenty of examples to see throughout this class. What I love about a concrete backdrop is it gives you that simple but still clean, industrial sort of look. It's not overly fussy or textured or messy. It's matte and basic, and it can be as simple or textured and grungy as you like. The backdrops that I typically use for my photography are MDF boards. So this board has a chalkboard on one side and it had a plain wood texture on the other side. These boards, I can get at my hardware store. Sometimes you can get them so that they're unfinished on both sides. MDF is medium density fiber boards. So it's like this. It's made of sawdust pressed together, don't quote me. I'm not sure if this is available in all countries, this is what I can get here in America. So you're going to have to be a little bit creative and figure out what kind of material you can use if you're not able to get MDF where you are. This is another example. This is, I think called underlayment. It's just one piece of board. It's got a filler in the middle and then it has to veneers that give you that wood texture. I bought this piece to stain for a wood stain backdrop later. But this kind of thing would also work for this class. So anything that's going to be smooth and will accept paint. You would not want to be painting on foam core because that's paper, so you'll get wrinkles, it'll start to fall apart. So you just want a sturdy, smooth, flat board that you can paint your backdrops on. Sometimes when I'm sick of a backdrop, I just paint over it. So you can keep your backdrops fresh without having a million, you can just repaint them and keep going. The nice thing about this concrete backdrop is it's really smooth and so I won't have to re-texture or anything if I choose to retire it in the future. Next up you're going to need paint, I recommend black and white. The nice thing about having both, rather than a straight gray, is you can have any spectrum of gray between these two colors. I've noticed that concrete tends to have sort of a marbled look to it. There's light colors and dark colors swirled in, and so having a white and a black is really helpful. This is just a flat white interior paint. This is the paint you would put on your walls. I think it's acrylic, but I'm not a 100 percent sure. I got it at my hardware store. I picked a flat white because this is going to give you a matte look. You do not want glossy, you don't want semi glossy, you want flat white. Nice and matte, and this is just a plain bright white. This one is by Valspar, it's a black chalkboard paint. It's kind of hard to read because I've used it. It's a chalkboard paint, so it dries not only matte, but dusty and dry, if that makes sense. It's really great for this project because again, we want that sort of matte dusty field to our chalkboard backdrop, if that makes sense. But if you don't have chalkboard paint or you can't find any online, you can definitely just use a flat black as well. So those are the two paints that I'm going to be using and I'm going to be mixing them. I recommend a roller. For mine, I bought the really smooth cabinets and doors roller brushes. This is just going to give you a smoother texture overall rather than one that's really fuzzy, that might give little bumps in it basically. A roller for applying lots of paint. I recommend an assortment of brushes for fine details. Not necessary, you can use your fingers if you want. If you are going to be using your fingers, I recommend gloves. I'm going to be wearing gloves because I have to photograph my hands later. I recommend a mixing bucket and a sponge. We're going to be using a lot of water in this project to really water down our paint and give it that semi-transparent look as we do layers. So this is just an old yogurt container that I repurposed for my paint cup and a regular sponge. I am using this as my paint tray. It's just a glass baking dish with a plastic bag over it to reduce the amount of clean up that I have to do. I'm all about DIY, use what you have, use what you've already got, you don't have to buy everything exactly that I'm using, get creative and make uses for things that you might not normally think of. I also recommend a spray bottle. This one, we will just fill with water and use it to dilute anything that's a little too textured. So now that we've talked supplies, let me talk a little bit about method. I'm going to lay down a couple layers of paper to protect my table, and then for my backdrop, I'm actually going to do two. I have two MDF boards that I'm going to be working with. The reason I'm going to be doing two, is because to do a completed bright concrete background, I need two surfaces. This would be my floor and this would be my wall, and I would shoot on it like that. I'm going to do a light side on both of these and a dark side on both of these. That way I have a really dynamic surfaces. I'm going to make them a little different from each other, so I can show you a few different techniques and how it all turns out, so that you have plenty of examples to see from, so that you know what to do for yours. That's the nice thing about watching someone else do something you're about to do because you can see them make all the mistakes, and then you can not make the same mistakes, or you can replicate what you loved. So that is my plan. You definitely do not have to do two boards. You don't even have to do double-sided though I do recommend it, especially if you're short on backdrops storage. But again, if you're short on time and you just want to get one side done and painted and out of the way, that is totally welcome too. So whatever works for you, whatever is going to make your life easier and make your pictures better. I'm going to start by doing the light sides and then I'm going to do the dark sides, and then I'm going to show you how I would use these in action. Let's dive right into priming in the next section. 3. Painting: Light Grey: I have covered up my table with paper and I have both of my backdrop setup ready to prime. The reason we prime is because we don't want this brown color in our background. We are going to cover it up to give ourselves a really nice clean start. This is also going to help waterproof because the next part we put a lot of water and it gets messy. We're going to prime my roller recommended that I get it wet before I use it. Just make sure you follow the instructions with your tools and your paints. I'm going to go ahead and pour some paint into my tray and then bring you closer as I begin laying down my primary layer. The most important thing that you need to consider when you're doing your former layer is to just make sure that you have a nice even smooth coat of paint. We want to cover up all of that brown and make sure that we have a nice white base to start with. It doesn't have to be perfect. You don't have to go in any specific order. You can see I am just laying it on here, pulling off all the cat hair says I need to. Then if you're doing two boards like I am, it's best to work in tandem, paint them at the same time. It'll save you time and it'll just go a lot smoother. Now that are primary is all dry. We can start making this look like concrete, so you will need your water bucket. This is water in it and I have a sponge. This is all going to get very painting and dirty. But our main idea is I'm going to splash a little bit of black paint in the leftover white paint from my primer. I'm going to swirl it together as I roll my paint roller through it, I'm going to be throwing paint down haphazardly smearing it around, and then wedding it down with this sponge. What I want to do is get a nice even gray layer that's generally the right color are the color that I'm looking for. Then we're going to mess with it, add little speckles and paint drips and things like that. But what I want you to know is this happens in layers. If you have got to down your first layer and you're looking at it and you're like, this is not what I thought it was going to look like. Keep going. Don't worry about it. Also, once you are dry and you're looking at it, this doesn't look gray from far away. When you're looking at this, it's like, oh, there's clearly like a darker border here. I don't know if that's look good. I felt the same way when I made it, but I let it dry and I shot on it. I just set some cookies up on this. My cookie class. I loved how it photographed it photographs so well, because I'm never photographing the whole board. If I'm photographing a faraway scene, it's going to have stuff on it. It's going to cover up parts of my mistakes, but it's going to just showcase small parts of it. It actually worked out really well. This is not something that I think would go on a wall, but it makes a wonderful backdrops. If you're not sure if you love how its going, let it dry, practice shooting on it, and then decide if you want to keep painting or keep adding to it. I'm going to bring the camera in a little closer so you can watch over my shoulder how this is going. As you can see, it is not a perfect job getting this first layer of gray down. When I'm using this roller, it tends to do what patterning where like if I have one blob of black on one side of the brush, it'll like repeat that over and over as I roll. I like to do a lot of short quick strokes just to help, get it down more organically and look more natural. But it's not a perfect science. You just throw paint down until it looks good. Next step, I want to add a little bit of moisture, so I am just dripping water straight onto this board and then dabbing it around just to give it a little bit of that washed overlook. I want to thin out the paint a little bit just so that it looks more see-through and free form in droopy you can see as I go I add more pain, add more water, do a little spritz of of water here and there, just until I get to the point where I can look at it and think. I really like how this is coming out. The spray bottle technique is really nice because if you have any really high contrast spots of light paint stripes, the water will help soften that out just a little bit. Then here I am working on my second board. I'm making this one very similar, but also a little different that way I've got some variety within my similar looking textures, so I'm rolling on my main gray paint. Then once I get through with that, I'm going in with this dry brush. It's very important that it's dry if you want to get the little brushstroke textures. I take the dry brush and then I just gently go over any wet spots of paint and it will help drag them and make them look more wispy and paint textured, if that makes sense, you can see I'm adding a little more paint and then dragging my dry brush through it just to give it that crosshatching effect. I really like the overall look of this technique. Then at the very end, I sprinkle on just a light coating of this wet, slightly painter paint bucket mixture. It's just going to add just a tiny bit of droplets on here. I feel like fresh concrete tends to have these little droplets and so I like including them. Here are my two boards. This one's still got a few little patches of wet. But I'm really liking how it's drying up. I feel like with my three light-colored boards combined, I've hit all the sweet spots. This one has a lot of harsher and lines and smearing and over an overall like a cloudy greatness. This one has a lot of fun drips and speckles, which I really like. There's a few places where my second layer of paint has come up from all the water and you can see the original white layer. That is another reason why priming is so important, because if I didn't have that white layer, it would show the brown would throw in that would not work for me. I've got a little bit of a pain drip right here which I might touch up with a brush or just leave it because it gives it that artistic feel. But overall really happy with this one. This one has a lot more of a full coverage look to it. There isn't any spots where I can see my primer layer and it's really soft and subtle because I use this dry brush, I was able to really soften up any specks in darkness. Then as I did, the water drip at the end, it just gave us a little tiny bit of texture there. I really feel like any combination of these three light-colored concrete boards will be effective for my work. I'm going to let these complete drying keep in mind that if you want to use like something wet on these for your pictures, you're going to want to seal it with a matte seal. I am not seeing any of mine. If I have to wipe them down in some paint comes up, I'm just going to call that part of the wear and tear. This board has some chocolate stains on it. That's my life. But for the most part, it is pretty washable and usable. Most of the time I just pour the crumbs into the scene, can just do that and any other left the bits, just add a little more personality realism, Yeah, really pretty easy to care for. You don't want to start shooting on these until they are totally dry and set. I would give them 24 hours before you start shooting on them because you won't want to accidentally dent or nick, you're paying jobs. In the next section, we are going to flip these over, get them primed and make a darker, grungy or slate look on the other side. 4. Painting: Dark Slate: All right. I went ahead and let these dry totally overnight. The paint dried lighter than it looked yesterday, which I'm actually happy about because I love having this bright and airy scene that's not pure white because pure white tends to get overexposed sometimes, and so I think this is going to be a really good backdrop for bright and airy photos. Now, I'm going to flip these over and do the backside. What I'm hoping for is to get a mock slate look. This is a slate tile. It's very heavy and it's not quite wide enough to do a lot of pictures on, and so mostly I just use it as a cheese board. But anyway, if it was big enough it would be incredibly heavy. I want to get this look, this stony, dark, matte texture but with paints. That is what we will be attempting. I will start out by flipping these over and getting our layer of primer, which will be in the black paint instead of the white paints. In similar fashion, we are going to prime this board with the black paint instead of the white paint. If we did white, it would be a lot harder to cover it up. Because we are going for a dark board, the black paint just makes sense. Go ahead and just do the same thing like we did for the white side, where you just cover the entire thing. You don't have to be perfect about it, just cover it up so that you have a nice primed layer to start with. This process takes a bit of time, but I recommend putting on some music and just enjoying the process of this simple painting task. Now that our primer layer is dry, we can start texturing. Very similar to the white side, we are going to implement a lot of water and mixing our paints together to get a selection of deeper grays and blacks to give us that stone look. I have my water bucket. It has a sponge and some water in it, and I have yesterday's paint. I saved yesterday's paint in the grocery sack. That's another good reason to use grocery sacks. I'm going to cut a hole and squeeze yesterday's paint into the top of today's just to be a little less wasteful, and then I also have, aside from using my sponge and dabbing around and my dry brush, I've also cut out a piece of groceries sac that I will lay on some wet paint and let set and then peel off. I'm not exactly sure how this is going to turn out, but I'm hoping for a fractured experimental look with this. We'll be hopeful, but if it doesn't turn out, again, we can always cover it up. I am going to get you a little closer so that you can see as I go. Next step we want to do our first layer of gray. You can see I've mixed my white and black paints together and I am throwing it down on this board. You can see pretty quickly that this has dramatically changed the color to a lighter mid-tone gray, and I don't love that. You can see I slowly add more gray, trying to darken it up, and then I get to the point where I'm like, let's just add a whole bunch more black chalkboard paint to this and get it as dark as I want it. I don't follow any specific painting rules or guidelines when I do this thing. You don't have to be a professional painter to be able to create a backdrop that you're proud of. Next up I come in with the spray bottle. This is just going to soften up all of the sharp edges. Here is my plastic bag idea. You can see I just gently place it down onto this wet area of paint and then press it down so that we have a lot of contact between the plastic and the paint, and then I take my a damp sponge and just squeeze a little bit of this super light washed paint which just has mostly water. It's just got a little bit of paint in it but it gives you a nice soft see-through white trip look, and then I just go over the whole thing with my wet fingers. Onto our second board while we let the first one dry, very similar, but this one I wanted to have a more painterly effect overall, less drippy and smeary and more brush strokes and just a very artistic look to it. You can see I'm putting water on here and then I go in with my dry brush, just giving it that smudgy look. I'm creating these subtle lines with the edge of my brush just barely touching it, blending in the areas where the paint is a lot more contrasted, and so I just go ahead and apply this texture overall to the whole board, let it dry a little bit, and then I do pretty much the same thing, but with this wet sponge just dabbing and smearing, and swiping until I get a surface that I like. Here is how it turned out. I'm really pleased with all these different looks that I was able to achieve across these two boards. Here's your gratuitous peel shot. Sorry, my audio was short so I couldn't include that. This is not an ASMR video, but it could have been. Both of these are completely dry now. When I peeled off the plastic, you can see that it left a really interesting crinkly texture and it also peeled off some of the Walmart logo. You can see there's a little bit of blue in there that's really unintended fun. I noticed that when I peeled half of the plastic before it was dry, it gave me a subtle crinkled texture and then when I peeled the rest after the paint was completely dry, it gave me a much more dramatic texture there. The nice thing about having a section that's slightly different is, as you use the backdrop and work around it, you'll have a few different looks that you can tailor to. If you end up hating this spot, you can either cover it or that's where you can put your plate, kind of a thing. But I really like how these turned out. They came out pretty different from each other. This one being much darker, smoother, simpler. This one has a lot of really interesting smear textures that I got with the sponge and the brush, which I think helped give it that sidewalk looks. Sidewalk tends to have a gentle brushstroke to it. I think that's really cool. It also has a weird overcast cloudy look altogether. If I wanted to give it a little more contrast, at this point I could add another layer. I could dip this into a diluted white paint mix, and then just flick it on here for more of that speckled spatter look. But I already have some ghostly spatters. They were like, when I dripped the sponge across, it left this milky murky looking puddles that dried up really nicely. I really don't want to mess with it. Sometimes I really like something and then I'm, I'll keep going, and when I keep going it makes it worse, and so if you like the way it is, let it dry, shoot on it, see if it photographs well, and if at that point you're not happy with it, then go ahead, roll out the paper, bring out the paint and try another layer. That is the fun thing. Another thing I wanted to show you was, that I was a little messy on my corners. I got some black paint on a few of the corners when I was grabbing the edge of my board, and so I'm going to go ahead and go in and touch up those edges just to make sure that my backdrop looks good corner to corner. So yes, before I shoot on these, I want to show you where I store all my backdrops so that you can get an idea of what that looks like for me because I do a lot of product and food photography, and so I have acquired quite a few backdrops, adding two more to the groups. I'm going to bring you over to my prop closet. It's a little bit messy in here. We're going to build a shelf in the middle that will help separate a lot of this clutter on the top. But I've got this tote right here that holds a lot of my textures or my rolled papers, and then I keep all of my tall backdrops stored along this edge. I've got my big marble backdrops. I've got my painted backdrops. When I want to use one, I just slide it out, take it on over, and starts shooting. I just keep these all tucked in here. In the very back, I have my would slap backdrops, those ones get tucked behind the box, they just fit back there best, and then I keep all of my foam core and poster boards, black and white, tucked on the very top shelf, up and out of the way. I usually clamp the brackets to this little coat bar up here. That keeps them straight, and then I have installed a couple of command hooks to the back of the wall for my textures and towels. It's a disaster in here, but this is functional for me. We don't really hang coats in here, so it made more sense as backdrops storage than it did as a coat closet. So yes, like I said, ideally I would have a shelf here and that would help elevate some of these items that get stacked on this box. Whenever I need anything in this box, I either open it up and have to reach in and grab stuff or end up taking all of this stuff off of here and moving it. But yes, this is what I've got. It's not perfect, but it works. In the next section, I will show you how I would set up and shoot with these boards. 5. Shooting: Flat Lays: For photographing on these backdrops, I'm going to run through four relatively quick demos. I'm going to show you two flat lays, one on light, one on dark, and then two straight on 45-degree angle shots using both the boards that I made just so you can see the length of versatility that you will have with these backdrops. So for the first shot, I'm going to bring you a little closer. I have set up on the floor, because I'm going to do a flat lay and I want to make sure I'm not climbing on tables. So I have set up on the floor next to this big diffused window. I actually had to do a double diffusion because the sun, it's wintertime here in North America and the sun is shining directly through these blinds and it's creating a mottled pattern. So I've stuck tracing paper right on the window so that would give me a nice solid even diffusion. This shot is going to be yellow inspired. It's a desk shot. I'm going to put all these elements that I've collected throughout my house that are all yellow because I've been incorporating the color yellow a lot more in my life lately, so this is sort of my love letter to yellow. So we'll bring you a little closer so you can watch me set up and shoot. So I am making a Nolan's style flat lay. This is where you very intentionally set out all of the items in the photo to fit just right. We're basically playing Tetris here with all these pieces. I don't want any of my objects to touch each other, so I want make sure we give everything a little bit of space and take time to put things in where they fit just right. Once I'm happy with my layout, we can go ahead and start shooting it. This lighting that I'm getting isn't really side lighting because of how high my light source is, so it's really pouring right over the top of my shot. If I shoot straight down, I'm not blocking my light in any way. If you've ever shot with a light directly above you and your camera creates a shadow in your scene, that is not very fun to work with. With this, I'm getting the benefits of having an over the top light, like a light that's shining evenly over my scene, but I don't have to deal with those shadows. So this lighting setup is super effective. I'm using a 24 to 120 zoom lens. I'm going to try and stay between 35 and 70 millimeters because I don't want any distortion around the edges. So I'm going to go to 50 millimeters, take a shot and see how it goes. I'm focusing on a tall photo because I want to post this on Instagram. Just adjusting things ever-so-slightly. Let's try that. I'm going to make sure I get a good variety of close ups and far away in case I need to tinker with the crop a little and post, Photoshop anything. This stuff seems a little random maybe, but it's all stuff in my life. I really like flowers and I've been sending a lot of postcards to my friends, and so I've included some flora postcards. I have my in Stacks Polaroid photos of my sister and my niece, got some watercolors, some chocolate love, this little box of Crayola Crayons I picked up and it's just like this fun little tin. I don't use the crayons, but I think they're cute. I like the way crayons smell, so that's just a thing that I have gathered. I think I got the shot. Again, I'm going to get a couple more compositions just so I have a little bit of variety when I go to post, slightly different stories within one main story. Then I'm going to get one from an angle because I already have this set up, I may as well take as much advantage of this shot as I can. Sometimes with this angled lighting, you'll get a little bit of back-lit sparkle, which is super fun. So I'm really happy with how this one came out. I'm going to clean all this up and flip my board over and work on my dark flat lay next. For this next setup, I'm going to be using this dark, almost slate looking black concrete backdrop that we made. I baked up these pistachio moraines. I was thinking I might use this pan, but now that I'm seeing them together, they're both really textured. This has little gold speckles and then this is obviously the one that we made. So I'm going to go without the tray, but I will stick with some parchment. This is the parchment that the Marines were actually baked on, so I'm just going to set these up and we can sprinkle some bits around. These are pistachio and chocolate chip flavored Meringues. So I've got a lot of little pistachio bits that I want to sprinkle around. Go on for a little bit messy. I might even, I don't want those in the picture. We see enough sponsored posts every day. We don't need more Logos. I'm going to make some room on this for the chocolate chip sprinkles because the pistachios will contrast from the dark but the chocolate chips won't, because they're basically the same tone. So I want to make sure we can see those really well. Now, I have a very simple, basic scene here. I'm going to throw a whisk in the edge, and I might turn this so that we have a little bit more of an organic looking scene. Sometimes I love things, sometimes I don't. This is how it goes. Let's see what that looks like through the lens of my camera. I should've set up closer to the center because now I need to be wary of these edges. Actually, you know what? We'll just move. It's actually surprisingly not bad looking through the lens of my camera, might include this. Yeah, just like a little corner of a bag so this doesn't look like I'm a disaster. It looks like the bag tipped over. Let's get a tall pick. This moraine is a little bit too close to the edge here. I'm just going to scoot him in just so that the tracing paper, the parchment hugs him a little bit better. See if that helps fix it a little.I want to do one more thing. I'm just going to hold this pan up just like this.That'll help block some of the extra light because I want this scene to be really dark. Then now I'm going to get a couple close ups of just the Meringues telling a slightly different story, while we have this scene set up. I'm just putting these crumbs in the foreground to give my scene a little more texture kind of went overkill on that. I think I'm happy with how this turned out, so I'm going to go ahead and clean up all these crumbs and then move this backdrop to the table for our overhead demos next. 6. Shooting: Straight On: For this next shot, I'm going to set up my back board to be just like this, and I have my window here. I'm using two metal brackets. They're pretty heavy. You can do one on the front, and one on the back with a single clamp, now it will keep your backdrop steady. Or you can do one on the front, on one end and one on the back on the other end. This is typically what I do, because it feels a little more rigid. But we're going to do them both on the same side because it's quicker. Again, I'm just clamping both of these brackets, so that they sit nice and black. Then I will just make sure I'm actually going to come up on the board because this board has a little bit of a curve to it. When I set it right up against this, there's a gap right here and I don't want the gap, so I'm just going to set this board on top, adjust my clamp so that my brackets are flush with the board, and that feels sturdy. For this shot, I'm going to photograph my plant. This is a pilea, actually just ripped off one of its leaves earlier when I was watering it and it broke my heart a little bit, but he's fine. I'm just turning my board just a little, there we go. I'm getting a little bit of weird shadows from my tracing paper, and the windows. I'm just scooting the tracing paper over, because the sun has moved since I put this up, better kind of worse mostly. Let's get this back, I think I'm going to work with that. I don't know if you can see, but I have a beam of light that stronger here, and a beam of light that stronger there. But we're going to lean into it and try and get an atmospheric look. Sorry, I'm the worst, I couldn't have that stem without a leaf, so I just ripped it off. I feel like this is the most handsome angle of this plant. I'm going to go for a straight on shot and I picked this really white scene because I want it to be really ere. So I'm going to put it right in the center, and then start shooting. This shot is really, really, really simple, so I want to make sure I do it really well. I'm going to go with a low aperture, so I'm shooting with a four, that's the lowest that the zoom lens will go. I'm doing this because I feel like plants have a fun artistic look to them when you work with a really shallow depth of field. I'm hoping that the background will be out of focus, awesome. This looks super, super clean. I'm trying to decide if I need to use a reflector. It's slightly brighter on this side, closer to the window than it is on this side, but I feel like it adds depth. If I had a really dramatic darker side over here, I would consider adding a white foam core board that would bounce light back into the scene and help even it out. But at this point, I feel like it will flat at my plant, I like that the leaf, so angling it where half of the curved leaf gets, light hitting it and the other half of is in the shadow is going to show off the texture of the leaf surface. I'm shooting at a low angle to give the plant more personality. I feel like if I was higher up, it'd be like I was looking down on the plant, and being at the soil level, It feels a little more humble. This is how you photograph children. You want to shoot at their level. Because if you're shooting from above, you're going to get a shier look, you should look at kids straight on, it's more respectful. I know plants are not the same as children. I'm going to try some like real pretty close up shots. Traditionally, I would whip out my macro lens for these kind of shots, but it's good to get a backup, not all the way zoomed in shot sometimes probably, I don't know. I think I've really got a shot that I love here. This setup is super simple, but I want to be able to show you that you can do really beautiful photos with your handmade backdrops, especially if you're selling a product. If I was selling this plant pot, I would want to photograph a plant that didn't cover it up so much, but I would be able to showcase my product, using a really simple clean backdrop, but it's not plain white. It has a little bit of texture and personality, which is really fun and really effective. I hope that this is something that you can see yourself using in your day to day. That's really the point of these classes. It's not so that you're photographing the exact same thing I am all the time, but you're taking these setups as tools that you can take into your workflow and to the photos and art that you create. Next step I want to do a really quickly a shot on black. I'm going to go ahead and flip these around, and then I want to incorporate my hand in this photo, and my phone. So I have rigged up my phone to a tripod using rubber bands. I'm going to utilize the self timer feature. I want to hold up a pomegranate, and have it be really dramatic with the dark. Let me get that setup and then I will show you what I mean. The way I set up my tripod with rubber bands to hold up my phone is this is just my regular camera me photo tripod. I went ahead and set my phone right on one of the knobs. This is obviously good enough, but I just didn't want to worry about my phone falling off and so I wanted to secure it with some rubber bands. I scrounged these rubber bands from some produce. They were wrapped around asparagus. So I'm going to go ahead and just take one, wrap it around the front of the phone, attaching it to the head of the tripod and then bringing it back around, and that is solid. Shake it and it's not going to fall off. Toggle into the camera mode and you are ready to roll. I am all about DIY makeshift solutions using what you have, rather than investing in needless equipment. Obviously, if you're doing this all the time, you probably should just get a phone tripod. But for now this is great. To put your iPhone into self timer mode, I'm using the iPhone 10. You just hit this little clock up here and it says your options are off three seconds or 10 seconds. So if you hit three seconds, then when you go to shoot, it counts down 3, 2,1, and does a burst of 10 photos. I don't normally use these kinds of setups, but I wanted to do a shot with my hand, holding up a pomegranate. I really love pomegranates, they're one of my favorite seasonal fruits because they're so gorgeous. I remember when I was a little kid, I used to call them jewels because they just look so jeweled. I wanted to showcase my love for pomegranates because they are in season. I'm just dropping some of the extra arrows on the ground here. I don't know if they'll show up in the shot but can't hurt. My goal is to have my hand just holding this pomegranate here. I'm going to take the photo with my phone. So I have set up a 10 second delay. I'm going to go ahead and hit the Button and it's going to take a bunch of photos. I'll have to crop this because it's not close enough to do without, but let's just do this, it's going to count down. I'm just going to move my hand ever so slightly. Ten seconds is a long time. I don't know if I love that. I'm going to get a little closer. Just to fix the crop on my phone. Things we do for art, you guys, I'm going to change it to three seconds because 10 seemed really long. Let me get a little closer, at this point, the background is just a supporting element. I want to do one where I drip pomegranate juice down my hand, yeah there we go. Should we see if any of those turned out? This actually looks really cool, here on the table. I'm going to untie my phone, and get a shot of this with all the juice, and there we go. That is it for my shot demo. I'm going to go ahead and clean up. 7. Final Thoughts: We did it. Thanks so much for watching my class today. I hope that it was helpful to see me putting paint onto these boards and using the backdrops in my work. I hope that you can find ways to apply this to your daily life and to improve your photography, to help sell products or show off your work, or any thing fun that you might be working on. With all that being said, if you have any questions or you need any help, please ask in the discussion section, the community section, I want this to be a place where we can help each other and work through things, so as always with any of my classes, please reach out if you need anything. If you decide to post a class project, which I hope that you do because I'm super excited to see what backdrops that you can come up with and how you're going to use it to make your work better, please post a before and after, show me what you were working with and how the concrete backdrop has helped your photos really stand out and if you love this class on backdrops, I have two other backdrop classes back at my profile, that go through a whole different variety of things that you can think about. I'm hoping that these classes will help you look at textures and surfaces and really any flat, uniform object as a backdrop for your photography to improve your work. I'm all about DIY solutions here and making things that we already have work well for what we need. Rambled a little bit, but I'm really excited that you decided to take this class and I can't wait to see what you create. Thanks so much for watching.