Pretty Fabrics, Papers and other Backgrounds!
August 22, 2018 8:18 AM   Subscribe

I've been in social media forever, but I have my first gig where I'm doing a lot of product photography. I've been cleared to buy some colored paper and fabric backgrounds to photograph products against. What are some fun shops to browse for inexpensive backgrounds?

-My employer has a pure white lightbox for product photography, so not looking for that look; specifically looking for colored and patterned backgrounds for less informal, more playful tableux and compositions.

-Company is a medical marijuana dispensary, products include things like vapes and jars of topical lotions in addition to traditional flower. My personal IG is linked in my Metafilter profile, my work IG is linked in my personal IG profile bio.

-I know about fabric remnants; any other ideas like this for discount backgrounds?
posted by Juliet Banana to Media & Arts (12 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
Origami paper on AliExpress, my personal favourite website for spending all of my money on cheap pretty stationery.
posted by ITheCosmos at 8:33 AM on August 22, 2018 [2 favorites]

What kind of patterns are you looking for in a background?
posted by stannate at 8:35 AM on August 22, 2018

Paper Source and Papyrus both have lots of flat wrapping paper sheets in fun/pretty designs that could be used as photo backgrounds as well as other wrapping paper rolls that could be cut down.
posted by blacktshirtandjeans at 8:46 AM on August 22, 2018 [1 favorite]

It was literally 15 years ago so I can't be like, 100% certain, but I'm pretty dang confident I bought batik fabric from this exact website to get something colorful to hang up in my college dorm room. They sell pieces and also have a clearance section with some fun, very reasonably priced small cuts.
posted by phunniemee at 8:48 AM on August 22, 2018 [1 favorite]

Depending on how big a piece you need, you could use scrapbook paper which is 12" X 12". Michael's or Joann's has lots of patterns and each sheet runs you about a buck.
posted by jraz at 9:04 AM on August 22, 2018 [1 favorite]

I hear you on trying to economize, but you should at least go see Oak Fabrics in Lincoln Park, if you're still in Chicago.

Also, I just picked up some art paper at Blick, partly to use as photo backgrounds. Again, not the cheapest, but it's good stuff.

Since your time is valuable, maybe you don't need a ton of backgrounds, just 2-3 really good ones?
posted by amtho at 9:08 AM on August 22, 2018

I painted canvas boards to make “walls” for my photo setup. (18x24 size works for my products) not the stretched canvas though I have one of those too. If your products are small then putting whatever it is on a surface like a canvas board means it’s easy to store and there’sno wrinkles or paper ripping. I’ve also made a glitter one and a pastel stripe one.
posted by Crystalinne at 9:24 AM on August 22, 2018 [2 favorites]

Similar to batik but more sophisticated, marbled paper might be a good way to go. Also good to know: craft paper is 12x12 so much roomier for shooting and comes in an infinite variety of colours and patterns.
posted by DarlingBri at 11:59 AM on August 22, 2018 [1 favorite]

Wrapping paper!
posted by aniola at 7:12 PM on August 22, 2018

most thrift stores will have a box somewhere that is filled with cheap silk scarves
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 7:24 PM on August 22, 2018 [1 favorite]

Paper Mojo has a well-curated selection of all kinds of beautiful papers.

And if you want real, amaaaaazing marbled paper (rather than printed designs), check out Jemma Lewis (UK) or Chena River Marblers (US) (these are my marbling teachers and their papers are gorgeous).

In the handmade realm, Kelsey Pike makes beautiful paper that could provide interesting texture in photos. And Helen Heibert, considered one of the best papermakers and instructors, is having her annual sale this week.

(all of these options are probably more spendy than you want, but I just had to share ... I heart paper)
posted by Sweetie Darling at 4:41 AM on August 23, 2018 [1 favorite]

Hit up thrift stores; look for clothing with colors or patterns that will work for your products. You might even find extra props to use in the photography - a nice teacup or vase; couple of books; a pair of gloves to set next to a bottle of lotion, and so on.
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 5:53 PM on August 23, 2018 [1 favorite]

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