DIY How to Custom Paint Photography Backdrop with Pictures | Z Photog Studio Bartlett, TN

December 01, 2014  •  1 Comment

Hi All,

I have a variety of options in terms of backdrops to shoot on, but I also like to experiment with new things. Photographer friends of mine have been posting images of their own DIY backdrops, so I decided to get adventurous over the holiday weekend and see what I could come up with. I also had a chair that I wanted to redo though, so I asked my hubby who has an art degree in painting if he'd mind steering the ship on painting the canvas and spend some time with me in the studio.  He agreed! (I'll post about the chair another day, it's not done yet!)

So here's what we did.  I had this canvas painters backdrop in the studio. I had purchased it previously from Home Depot for an outdoor shoot, I have just been using it as a cushion when someone needed to kneel on the floor.  I think it is 9 ft. x 12 ft., I left the measurements at the studio but I'll update this later with the correct sizing. You can obviously figure out what size will work for your own space.

You can see above that this one has a big seam in the middle, it is actually two pieces that have been sewn together.  So I commenced to separating them as I didn't want to worry about removing the seam from images later on and I thought one half would be plenty big.  (Don't make fun of our old painting clothes, lol!)

It was also very wrinkly since I had just been folding and reusing it over and over as something to sit on. I tried my steamer on it.

That worked a little bit but I soon abandoned it. I would recommend an iron if you've got some heavy folds like you see on the bottom of mine. But I didn't have mine in the studio so we just left it the way it was.  While I was working on this my hubby (Jeff) started mixing paint. I had two gallons with colors I used on accent walls at home that were about half full, so we utilized them. 

The first one as you can see if a dark gray/black color. He mixed it with enough water to make it not so think and easier to spread. Then he used a sea sponge that I had from home also. He just worked his way from the top down.  He did spray the canvas area he was about to paint with a water bottle to make sure it would take the paint, he said he thought that might have been unnecessary but he did it anyway since I had read others recommended it. 

Once done with this, he went right back in with a bronzey/brown color. Here is a shot of it while wet.

He worked it in where he thought it looked good and would occasionally ask me for my opinion as to where to add or blend in more. He mostly just dabbed it on and smoothed it in where he wanted. He left a little bit of canvas color poking through, after shooting it I think I would have had him remove/blend them out. But I'm pretty happy for our first go round. This project cost me nothing since I had all the materials already on hand. 

Here is the final. This is shot with daylight from the window behind me, but it was a rainy day so pretty low light.  Obviously it can be hung from either end, he made one end lighter so I could switch it up if I liked. Image with subject to follow. 

One more a little closer....

And here's a selfie with the actual color. Note though for photographers, even though it was daytime, it was very dark outside. My settings were ISO 1250 and f/2.2 which obviously caused both blurring and added grain to the final look. But that's okay! 

And since I generally take my processing another step beyond, here's the final with a bit of adjustment to the color and texture of the original.

Thanks for reading, hope you enjoyed! Happy to answer questions, leave me a comment below if you wish. 


Looks great! Thanks for the detailed tutorial! I may just be brave enough to give this a shot soon.
No comments posted.

January February March April May June July August (3) September October November (1) December
January February March (1) April May June July August September October November December (1)
January February March April May June July August September October November December