DIY Food Photography Backgrounds – with Two No Fuss Painting Techniques

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If you have been following my work on this blog you will have seen that I have tended to stick to the ‘light and airy’ look with my work. Mainly because I am a little scared of the darker side! After being inspired by Katie Quinn Davies’ work, her use of shadows and a rustic feel to tell her stories, I am embarking on a new series in the darker tones. So I decided that it was time for me to switch up the background that I had from white to dark. I hit up the local hardware store, bought some paint and a few other materials and painted these babies on my living room table.

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I choose two colours. I wanted a dark slate colour, that was not too black but not too grey, and I wanted a blue grey that was going to be a lighter side. As you can’t tell what the colours look like very well from the sample pots, I included a colour panel – real steal and black orbit. Both of these paints are from British Paints. I bought a sample pot of each which was about $6 each for 500ml.

The boards that I used are interconnecting flooring that I found in a wood scrap heap. Best find ever. I wish I had more of it. The best thing about these boards is that they can be taken apart and stacked neatly away when you don’t have a lot of space to keep your props. You can buy these floor boards easily from your local hardware and they should be able to cut to measure for you. I use 5 boards by 700mm (27.5″).

I searched for a while on ways to do this and in the end I just went with two easy painting techniques and hoped for the best. I didn’t want to do too many steps of buy numerous materials. I wanted it done and with no fuss. Turned out marvelously.

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Look 1: real steal
Materials

Your desired wooden background, painted white
Sample pot paint – real steal (dark teal-grey)
Medium sized paint brush
Old rag

Directions

Painting each board individually, apply a thin layer of paint from one end to the other, making sure you reach the edges and grooves. The thin layer should dry quite quickly. If it is a cool day, you may want to wait a minute or so. Immediately wiped down the board with a clean rag using a continuous stroke from one end of the board to the other and a medium pressure. Making sure that your pressure is the same throughout the continuous stroke ensure an even look, whilst allowing the texture and detail of the wood to show through.

Wait until dry and apply a second think layer if you desire a darker look. You can adjust the pressure to change the amount of white the shows through.

two-loves-studio-diy-food-photography-backgorunds4Here you can see the difference between the board that has the thin coat and the boards that have been wiped down with a rag to reveal the white underneath.

Ta-da. The end result.

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Look 2: black orbit

Materials

Your desired wooden background
Sample pot paint – black orbit (dark slate grey)
Medium sized brush
Old rag
Course sandpaper

Directions

Painting each board individually, apply a thin coat of paint to the entire board, from one end to the other in continuous strokes and making sure you reach the edges and grooves. Once that layer is dry, use an old rag to apply a second medium coat in a circular motion along each board. Repeat both steps if you want a darker board. Allow to dry.

Using the sandpaper, run over the board lightly from one end to the other to reveal the details of the of the texture of the wood. Always apply the sandpaper in a light fashion, adjusting the pressure to get the desired look.

The end result.

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Happy painting everyone. Shout out if you have any questions!
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30 thoughts on “DIY Food Photography Backgrounds – with Two No Fuss Painting Techniques

    • I love that colour too. I was really pleased with it. I have been meaning to get that colour for months now…should have done it earlier! I can’t wait to use it.

      Thanks 🙂 I have some great stuff coming up – I am excited to share it!

  1. These colors are wonderful! I also like the idea of using floorboards so you can take them apart when not in use. I don’t have enough space in my house to keep a photography studio set up at all times. Thanks so much for the inspiration! ~M.

    • Thanks. They worked a treat. I know – the floor boards are such a nifty idea. I can have a few boards hidden under the lounge and no one is the wiser!! Glad you found some inspiration here at TLS. Love to see what you come up with.

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    • Yes it would seem that way, when in actual fact it is table tops they found in a trash can! I got these from an old wood heap my parents have. I would love to see what you come up with!

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  5. A friend of mine put me onto your blog as we are going to try a photography challenge for our blogs. This is a really great idea! I’d love to get into food styling more but its SO hard! 🙂

    • Oh fun! What sort of photography challenge? I am glad I could be of some inspiration 🙂 It certainly can be tough. The frozen varieties will really test you!

      • We’ve picked 10 subjects to photograph for our blogs and food styling is one of them. I have NEVER done anything like this before so it’s pretty daunting. I had a go the other day with some strawberries. It was hard but good fun playing around. Your images are of great inspiration 🙂

      • Thats sounds like an awesome way to have a bit of fun and learn along the way. Can’t wait to see what you come up with for food styling. Strawberries are a great place to start. I love photographing them.

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    • I usually buy sample tins so you only get about a cup or so of paint. Depending on how large your surface is and how many times in the future you will repaint it, you probably won’t be left with much.

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