When you think about your Instagram photos, you probably pay a lot of attention to the subject of your Instagram photoshoot (product, person, or whatever it might be). But what about the backdrop of your photo? While you might consider the backdrop of your photo as an afterthought, this important style element can actually have a big impact in helping you create beautiful, styled images. Backdrops can help your photos in a few ways:
- Set the tone for your image (seasons, emotions, or energy)
- Harmonize the various elements of your photo
- Create a pop of color that takes your photo from drab to fab
While I always encourage my clients to pay careful attention to their use of backdrops, there’s one really important design tip to keep in mind – consistency. You don’t want your feed to appear jumbled with wood, confetti, and colorful backdrops. Whatever your design style, you should always use the two or three backdrops that make the most sense for your brand.
For more photo shoot tips read this blog, “Planning your next Instagram Photo Shoot: 3 Key Images You Need”.
Here are 15 backdrops that you might want to try:
#1 Foam board
If you work in an industry where you constantly find yourself designing intricate flat lays, foam board is an inexpensive yet beautiful way to stylize your featured products. Even better, foam board comes in lots of colors, so you are more likely to find a backdrop that works best for your specific brand colors.
Just remember, subtly is key. As you can see in @womenandwhiskies photo, you don’t need bold patterns or neon colors, subtle backdrops can work just as well (if not better) for beautiful photos.
You don’t have to make a special trip to the craft or stationary store to find the perfect backdrop. Whether you’re using ferns, pinecones, or pebbles, any of these natural elements have the potential to help you create a naturally beautiful photo.
For an extra pop of texture, try layering your elements like @jugosboston. By carefully arranging the ferns over the wood backdrop, Jugo’s instantly creates a more complex, memorable image.
#3 Painted walls and buildings
Painted walls and buildings are my go-to backdrop when I’m traveling. Murals, colorful garage doors, these large backdrops are the perfect spot to stop, pose, and capture an awesome high-energy photo.
Colorful walls aren’t just a perfect spot for a flawless selfie! Take a look at how @sprinklescupcakes uses the contrast between a delicious ice cream cone and beautifully colored building to create playful contrast. Art is always the perfect backdrop.
Wood will always be an Instagram classic. Using the natural nooks and grains, I love seeing jewelry designers use wood elements to highlight their one-of-a-kind creations. The secret is to take the time to find interesting ways to incorporate the wood into your product shot.
Much like @charliemadisonoriginals does with her jewelry collection, try several different shots to see how the natural crevices, textures, and grains either enhance or distract from your product.
Are you out and about and unsure where to find the perfect Instagram backdrop? Look down and snap a ‘selfeet.’
Bolstered by the widely popular account @Ihavethisthingwithfloors, some of the most popular Instagram brands have found that the greatest inspiration for your next shot is often found right under your feet.
Maybe it’s the large volume of food bloggers, but marble backdrops are all the rage on Instagram. With its subtle gray and white tones, marble counters and walls look perfect as an element of a lay design or as a more prominent feature of your backdrop.
Often times, the marble itself can an important design element in your photo. Combining colorful flowers and a classic marble, as @wovenpear has done, creates an eye-pleasing, harmonious shot.
Just because the weather is warming up, doesn’t mean it’s time to put away your knitted scarves, blankets, or sweaters. Knitted elements automatically add a sense of warmth and comfort to any of your photos.
@olgaprinku does an amazing job of making sure that her beautiful handmade designs never clash with her backdrops. Whether she’s showcasing her latest creation against her sweater or against a bold, polka dot carpet, her pictures are always consistent while keeping the attention on what’s most important – her designs.
Maybe I’m a little biased with my love of all things nautical, but I can’t get enough of Instagram brands that expertly use water as their backdrop. This splash of fun is an easy (and free) way to create a bolder contrast between your product and the backdrop.
Water backdrops aren’t limited to all things nautical either. @Studiodiy expertly plays up the party-themed elements of her brand with her fun water backdrop. With a few extra editing touches, she takes an otherwise typical water backdrop and creates an unforgettable shot.
Cheap, easy, and everyone can find it – paper can be an awesome backdrop for your photos. But don’t lay it and forget it!
Take a cue from @candyminimal, think about how you can create an interesting element by ripping or arranging your paper backdrop. Just remember to remain consistent by sticking to your brand’s colors.
#10 Menu, newspapers, magazines
Do you own a restaurant, magazine, or another industry that works with paper sources? Get resourceful, and try working with the materials you already have printed. Jugos Boston (@jugosboston), a popular Boston-based health food brand, often highlights their delicious creations with the menu or recipe serving as the backdrop.
This not only provides an interesting design element, but also reinforces the brand’s commitment to sharing true, honest ingredients with their customers.
Clearly, I have a love of Jugos’ Instagram account, but how can you not? This is a brand that knows exactly what they need to do to build trust and loyalty among their health-conscious customers.
Not only do they use their menus as backdrops, but they also incorporate other natural elements, like grass, to reinforce their brand’s focus on naturally derived sources. Consider the small elements that make your brand unique, and think about how you can use these special touches to reinforce your brand’s mission to your customers.
Confetti isn’t just for special occasions. Even though she specializes in the best unique and custom confetti, @theconfettibar’s Instagram also demonstrates the diverse ways confetti can add a touch of fun to almost any photo.
Whether you toss it in the air or carefully arrange it around your product, confetti can add another textured layer of interesting contrast.
I absolutely love when brands use fun wallpapers as backdrops for their products. Damascus, stripes, the possibilities are endless. Depending on what wallpaper you find, you can create more dramatic contrast, like @nordstrom does with this amazing pair of shoes.
A fun wallpaper can also help you capture the essence of your brand. Doesn’t this @henribendel shot make you want to dash off to a tropical vacation? Even better, you can play up the elements of the wallpaper and product together with an intriguing caption and hashtags.
Tile is everywhere, from your kitchen to the airport bathroom. While this is probably one of the most common Instagram backdrops that you’ll come across, you can make it unique to your brand by making sure that the tile compliments your photo.
Much like @alfredtea’s does with this snapshot of their iced latte, you can use the tile’s color to highlight the subtle tones in your product.
Are you a foodie or just love natural cooking? Punch up your Instagram feed by taking the fruits and veggies out of your crisper drawer and make them part of your Instagram’s theme.
Just like @jugosboston does with their small pile of lemons, they immediately add interesting textures and colors to their shot, which further draws your attention to the delicious acacia bowl.
Take action with Instagram backdrops
Now that you have 15 backdrop ideas to kick start your creative brainstorm, how can you take action to make them work for your brand? Here are two things you can do right now:
- Scroll through Instagram and find the pictures that stand out to you. Save them by tapping the small ribbon icon in the bottom right corner. The next time you schedule a photo shoot, you can show your photographer these images so they’ll know the exact look and feel that you want to capture.
- Pick two or three backdrops that you feel will really enhance your brand. You can then decide which products will work best with each background, which will save you time and frustration the day of the photoshoot.
Are you still struggling to find backdrops that will work best for your Instagram? I recommend two #InstaAwesome brands: @inkandelmbackdrops and @minibackdrops. Both of these accounts are worth checking out, especially if you have a specific backdrop that you want and can’t find at your local store or in your house.