Home Depot Week: More Backgrounds

Ever wish your commanding officer significant other would let you have a section of the wall to paint as a backdrop in any style you choose whenever you want?

You can, if you are willing to spend seven bucks. That's what a sheet of 4x8', 1/2" drywall goes for these days. If you are doing the home studio thing, or shooting in your garage, it's a no brainer. And at $7 plus the cost of paint, you can do one any time you want a visual theme to tie together a series of portraits or product shots.

(More after the jump.)

For the portraits, you would just lean the painted sheet against a wall very carefully. ("I promise won't mess it up, honey!") Then pull out your speedlights and you are in business.

FWIW, I am lobbying for a permanent section of the basement as "paintable backdrop space" in our next house. (It's not looking great at this point, but I am very early in the process. I'll keep you posted.)

Granted, drywall looks like crap until you paint it. But no worries, as HD can help you there, too. They have people in the paint section just dying to tell you how to sponge, rag, roll, splatter, exfoliate -- whatever you want.

There are brochures in the color palette areas of the paint display that will get you thinking. Or you can go with a solid color if you want.

Wanna get one of those cool specular background shots, for instance? Just paint with a semi-gloss and choose a dark color. Bingo.

One particularly good book that they offer is "Decorative Painting: Expert Advice from Home Depot" ($14.95.) It contains more ideas for painted backdrops than you can shake a stirring stick at.

The drywall thing is not just for portraits, either. You can cut the stuff easily and make a corner out of two 4x4 pieces. Presto, instant alcove for still-life shots.

Here's a trick: To cut the drywall, you score one side with a utility knife (using a straight edge as a guide) and gently snap it. Do this carefully, and you can preserve the paper on the opposite side to make a nice, joined temporary corner for a shoot.

As for location, if you have no place inside that is suitable for shooting just lean your custom drywall backdrop against the side of a building on the shade side (or in the evening) and shoot away.


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