macro seashell
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Using what you have on hand as backgrounds

Many times I hear people say they can’t take certain images because they don’t have the tools, equipment or gear they think they need. My reply to them? Be creative, be like MacGyver! Use what you have, and there are almost always ways to figure out how to do something without spending money on equipment and gear.

I don’t have backdrops/backgrounds to use

What? I don’t even understand that statement. Anything and everything can be used as a backdrop. Look around your office, your kitchen, your garage … pretty much anything is fair game.

Here are a few examples, hopefully, they will jump-start your creativity and get you searching for some backdrops of your own.

Cloth and clothing

I was shooting shells for a friend and knew the color palette I wanted to use, just so happens I have shirts in my closet that are in that palette, yes, shirts.

Aluminum foil

Aluminum foil is great for creating some shiny bokeh and crinkly, silvery texture.

green pepper on aluminum foil


Any material — try whatever you have. I happened to have a bunch of quilting material around so grabbed a few of the pieces to see how they looked.

Glitter paper

You may have to go to the craft store to pick this up but it’s very inexpensive and fun to use.

glitter paper with mesh ribbon

A compact disc (CD)

CDs are really fun to play with. They create all sorts of rainbow colors and reflections on their own, but then add water and you get magical floating drops and even more colorful reflections.

macro photography feather water drops

I hope that these few ideas give you the creative push you need. Get creative, have fun with it, play and see what you can come up with. Here is another article on the making it work with what you have, this one has to do with lighting and still life set up.

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