Sometimes, the simplest ideas can create some really cool images. Here’s how I created a fun and colorful DIY photoshoot backdrop for less than $25.
With summer approaching its final days, I found myself wanting to do a photoshoot to capture the essence of summer in a vibrant and playful photoshoot. Inspiration struck me unexpectedly one night as I lounged on the couch, watching a movie. You never know when inspiration will hit, but when it does, it is pretty exciting.
Why not create a colorful photoshoot backdrop using one of my favorite childhood summer treats, the colorful ice pops that came in long, plastic tubes?
The first step was to track down the nostalgic ice pops. My husband, David, and I first headed to Walmart and our local grocery store, but we didn’t have any luck. The popsicles available were individually cut, which wouldn't serve our purpose of creating a backdrop. So, we turned to the ever-reliable Amazon, and, of course, they had exactly what we needed. We should have started there in the first place. We discovered the exact brand we were seeking—Fla-Vor-Ice! We ordered two 100-count boxes at a total cost of around $7 each.
Creating the backdrop required minimal supplies: packing tape, Fla-Vor-Ice popsicles, and a reflector stand. David, the mastermind behind the construction, taped the popsicle strips together to form panels. The edges of the popsicles had serrated edges, which made them easily detachable, demanding careful taping to ensure their stability. Once the panels were ready, David connected them to create the backdrop. To secure the finished backdrop, we used copious amounts of packing tape to attach it to the reflector stand.
For this photoshoot, I wanted to keep things accessible and affordable, making it a DIY project that anyone could do. We kept the gear and setup for the shoot as minimal as possible. So, for the location, we opted for a park instead of a studio. Transporting the ice pop backdrop was super easy, and within minutes, we had everything set up and ready to go. We had some extra popsicles left over, so we wrapped them around our model, Ceili, creating an ice pop tube top that perfectly matched the backdrop and added to the fun, whimsical vibe of the shoot.
I photographed the shoot using my Canon 5D Mark IV. For the lighting, I primarily relied on natural light. I also used a flash with a Gary Fong Lightsphere to add a touch of fill light. As with any photoshoot, unexpected elements can arise, and in this case, the grass was reflecting a green hue on our model. In hindsight, I wish I had chosen to photograph the shoot on a sidewalk or laid a reflector in the grass to prevent that from happening, but you live and learn. Luckily, I was able to remove that green hue in post.
While I originally envisioned a high-energy, lively shoot, I found myself gravitating towards more introspective, moodier portraits. I think the more angsty poses and emotions added a layer of depth and contrasted nicely with the colorful backdrop to make the shoot more interesting as a whole.
The total cost for this shoot was about $22. The backdrop was super easy to create and produced some pretty cool results. If anyone else attempts to recreate this backdrop, please tag @jadaanddavid on Instagram, because I would love to see what you create!
Let me know what you think of this DIY photoshoot backdrop in the comments below!