Jan 27, 2014

How to Choose a Background for Photographing Your Cards


Hi, Sweet Things!  It's Melissa and I'm back to take a look at backgrounds for those photos of yours for this part of the Picture Perfect series!

Before we get started, I want to say that dressing up your photos doesn't have to take a lot out of your crafting budget!  You'll need to decide whether you want your photos to be one of two types:

1.  Hero Shot - This type of photo keeps your card the sole focus.

2.  Styled Shot - This type adds props to complement your card.

Also, let's take a look at my favorite backgrounds when photographing cards these days:

12 x 12 Decorative Paper

Rubber Door Mat (with a wood panel look)

2x2 Backdrop Panels (from My Backdrop Shop)

(Note:  I use these for taking photos of my small children also!)
As you can see, there are many options and I recommend you choose one or two that work for you and the look you're trying to achieve.  All store quite easily and are pretty compact.

Let's go ahead and look at hero shots first as this is the simplest of the two to put together!  Here is one extremely simple example of a hero shot using two pieces of white cardstock as the background and base:

To me, the plain white base and background cause the already white card to get lost.  Not a terrible photo, but it's not my favorite.

Here is an example of adding some simple patterned paper as a background to decrease the amount of white in the photograph:

See how much richer the photo is beginning to look just by adding a little color?

Here is another example, but this time I added a colored base instead of a background:

This did help a bit, but I'm still of the opinion that the white background isn't the best.

Now let's take a look at what happens when I simply use a faux wooden floor backdrop and take the photo from slightly above the card!

How's that for rich color?!  We're getting somewhere!

This is where you can decide to keep your photo simple or take it up yet another notch.  Are you wondering what you could possibly use for props without making a special trip to your local department store?  Guess what?!  You probably have more props setting around your house right now than you think you do!  Here's a list of some possibilities:
  • cookie sprinkles
  • a lamp base
  • kids' toys
  • gift bows
  • party supplies
  • office supplies (paper clips, etc.)
  • school supplies (pencils, erasers, etc.)
  • art supplies (crayons, etc.)
  • baskets
  • ceramic dishes
  • little buckets
  • Christmas decorations (ornaments, etc.)
  • other holiday decor
That's just the beginning!  Depending on what kind of theme your card has, you can usually find something around the house to go along with it!  I keep a little basket of things I've found over time stored away for times when I feel like dressing up a photo.  It's beginning to get quite full and I love it!

So what did I do for my final photo this time around?  Take a look!

I used the adorable Yummy Love set by Alyssa Lea for the apple and sentiment:

...and the cute glasses from the Monogram It set to give the apple a scholarly look:

For the photograph, I used a patterned paper in the background with a number theme as this card is going to go to a teacher this Valentine's Day.  I used a decorative paper base that looks like wood.  I brainstormed for appropriate props and grabbed an apple out of the kitchen as well as a couple pieces of broken chalk from my children's chalk board.  See?!  It doesn't take fancy props to take your photos up to the next level!

I hope this gives you a few ideas to get you started!  It's so much fun to play with backgrounds and props!  Take some time the next couple weeks to brainstorm for your own ideas!  You'll be surprised how many things you'll find around the house for props and that decorative paper stash you're hoarding is going to love seeing some daylight!  I know mine sure does!

I'll be back in a couple weeks to talk about photo editing!  In the meantime, bop on over to my blog for more Sweet Stamp Shop Sweetness and don't forget to Like Sweet Stamp Shop on Facebook so you don't miss out on upcoming news and specials!

Enjoy your Monday!
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  1. Amazing! This I my favorite series ever!! You're so incredible and I love the comparison shots and different examples of the photos!! And your card is just sweet as can be!! LOVE those glasses on the apple too!! Just adorable and so informative!!

  2. Melissa, your series is one of my favorites...I am learning so much AND loving your sweet cards! I purchased a variety of patterned 12x12 scrapbook papers to use as backgrounds (e.g., woodgrain, grey/white diamonds, etc.). I have to be careful with my background papers because my point-and-shoot does not have the ability to "blur" the background the way your camera does. I love learning the terms "hero shot" and "styled shot" as they were new to me. Thanks for yet another great post!

  3. So many great ideas!! I am definitely going to try these to make my cards pop!!

  4. Wonderful and helpfu photography tips.

  5. Fabulous tutorial! Thanks so much for sharing :)