I typically like to put together what I need on-the-fly, so for a seamless background for small objects, I usually throw down a poster board on a couch and adjust as needed. But I’ve decided that I need some more consistency (and something you can use on a table), so here is how I created a small, collapsible seamless background using two poster boards (and some binder clips and 2 pieces of white copy paper).
It’s super simple. For this method:
- Fold the 2 pieces of copy paper over and over again until it is small enough to fit in the binder clips to protect the poster board for later use.
- Take the ends of one poster board and clip them together. Don’t fold the poster board. It should be a tear shape.
- Clip the other poster board to the other poster board taking care that the shiny side is down. It should look like this.
The setup tends to want to roll back, but most times you either:
- Have an object heavy enough to keep it from rolling back.
- Or you can lean the pieces into more of an A-frame to keep it from rolling back.
Just take apart to put away. I store the two poster boards clipped together so they are earmarked for this use, but they are still available for last-minute posterboard needs.
(Large) Copy paper seamless background
I tried creating the same seamless background using two sheets of tabloid-sized copy paper and tiny, tiny binder clips (paper clips would probably work, too, but bigger binder clips might be too heavy).
Because the paper was less rigid, it didn’t work with the tear shape and the support paper had to be folded into a triangular tube, but it’s super cheap copy paper, so not a big deal.
Don’t forget that wide angle is great for capturing more of the background, but you can use telephoto focal lengths to compress the background, and, in this case, avoid the upper corners of the seamless background. Using medium telephoto focal lengths also makes your subject less distorted.
Why would I do this over getting a collapsible light tent?
These can be found online for about $20 for a 24″ tent.
- The 20/80 rule
- Easy DIY repair and replacement
Yes, a light tent will give you a perfect seamless background all around, so if you are going for high resolution, perfect product photography, etc, etc, then this is one way to go.
But it requires more lighting than just an overhead light or a flash bounced on the ceiling. And, if it is damaged, it is hard to repair. With two posterboards, I could repair or replace it in a snap.
Why not a DIY light tent?
I’ve seen them online done with PVC, a cardboard frame, etc, etc, (or just a large piece of paper rolled up into a tube with a cutout for the lens which is too small for my needs).
Not only does this still have the light tent’s lighting demands, unlike the collapsible light tent, these DIY projects are large (I don’t want to create more clutter), and seem easily damaged.
So why a seamless background?
Cheap. Easy. Just good enough. Easy storage. Reusable. And, generally, I also find DIY solutions more adaptable.