How To Make Photography Backdrops Using Sheets

Many people love photography, but not everyone can afford expensive backdrops for their portrait shots. Fortunately, you don’t necessarily need to buy them. If you’ve got bed sheets, you can make professional-looking backdrops at home!

Here’s how you can make photography backdrops using sheets:

  1. Buy some adhesive wall hooks.
  2. Apply the hooks to your wall.
  3. Hang the bedsheet onto the hooks.

Photography is one of the most fun hobbies to pick up, and it’s becoming more and more relevant with the advent of social media. If you’re new to it and don’t want to spend big bucks on professional backdrops, keep reading!

backdrop bedsheets

1. Buy Some Adhesive Wall Hooks

Adhesive hooks will do the same job as nails in your wall to hang bedsheets, but without hammering permanent holes into your wall. Get these Adhesive Wall Hooks from Amazon.com —they’re ‘Amazon’s Choice’ and sticky enough to hold your DIY backdrops! 

Adhesive Hooks Kitchen Wall Hooks- 24 Packs Heavy Duty 13.2lb(Max) Nail Free Sticky Hangers with Stainless Hooks Reusable Utility Towel Bath Ceiling Hooks
  • UTILITY HOOKS: It is widely used in bathroom, outdoor ,kitchen, decorations including ceiling hooks, coat hooks, key hooks, plant hook, bath towel hook, picture hooks. Ideal for Christmas Lights and Christmas wreath also.
  • EASY TO USE AND REUSABLE: Just clean and dry the surface, then put the hook on smooth surface. Easy to clean and re-position without surface damage. It can be reused again and again if dried with a hair dryer - much better than the suction cup hooks.
  • SUITABLE FOR VARIOUS SURFACES: Widely used on a variety of surfaces, like Bricks, Glass, Metal, Wood door, Plank, Metal, Stainless steal, especially great for hanging shower or bath accessories in a bathroom or kitchen utensils and tools on a tile backsplash.

Last update on 2022-01-27 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

2. Apply the Hooks to Your Wall

These hooks are pretty simple to apply. You only need to remove the paper at the back and stick them on to the right spots on your wall. You don’t just need two at the top, as that won’t stretch the sheets out well. Also, attach two at the bottom. 

Now, the placement depends on the size of your sheets or how big of a backdrop you need. Measure it up carefully, and apply one wall hook on all four corners. 

3. Hang the Bedsheet Onto the Hooks

You can make super tiny holes in the corners of your bedsheet (or closer together if you need a smaller backdrop) to hook them onto the adhesive wall hooks. Make sure the holes are as tiny as possible to make sure you can still use your make-do backdrop as a bedsheet. Hook all four corners onto the four hooks on your wall, and voila—you’ve got a DIY backdrop! 

Hanging backdrops or sheets on the wall has many benefits.

  • You don’t have to spend anything on a backdrop stand.
  • You save tons of space by not having towering backdrop stands in the studio. 

Moreover, your pack-up routine becomes much more manageable. Unhooking a bedsheet is a lot easier than detaching backdrops from a stand and putting away massive stands into a storeroom. 

You also won’t have any backlighting leaking through the backdrop as there’s a wall behind it. Win-win!

Do You ‘Need’ Expensive Professional Backdrops?

Backdrops can be expensive for young hobbyists wanting to shoot professional-looking portraits. 

You don’t need expensive professional backdrops, unless you’re working on a highly professional project. There are many creative ways to get a similar look as a professional backdrop without having one. For instance, you can use white walls, curtains, or create DIY backdrops using sheets. 

After all, many backdrop types are just fabric (such as muslin), and some bedsheets and wall hooks can do the job. 

Unless you care deeply about the specifics and technicalities of the background of your photos, you won’t feel much of a difference between a professional and a DIY backdrop. However, that depends on your photography skills and how much effort you put in.

For instance, using sheets that are wrinkled to the point where they look like a map won’t work. To work as a make-do professional backdrop, they need to be wrinkle-free and stretched out. 

You also need to adjust the lighting accordingly. Make sure you light up the subject and not the background to keep any background imperfections hidden.

Moreover, one thing that separates bedsheets from professional backdrops is their thinness. Since bedsheets are so thin, they’re more see-through. If you’re using backdrop stands to hang your sheet, you’ll want to add a black bedsheet (or a curtain) behind it to block out light. 

Lastly, if you’re a magician in post-editing, you’d be surprised how much you can get away with as a photographer. If you’re using a DIY backdrop, you can edit away most of your problems after the fact. 

Combining all of the above means you don’t ‘need’ a professional backdrop to take great-looking shots. As long as you make the best out of what you’ve got, you’ll be proud of your photos. 

Almost every house has white walls, and they can be your backdrops if you’ve got nothing to work with. In other words, creativity is essential for photography, not professional backdrops. 

Check out my article on how much a home recording studio can cost.

Types of Bedsheets You Can Use

The background of your photos plays an essential role in setting the mood for your shot. It’s the ‘context’ of an image and sets the tone for your subject. Different colors, patterns, and textures on a backdrop can provide completely different looks with the same subject. 

As subjects change in professional photography, so do the ideal backdrops to go with them. For example, a product shoot and a model’s portrait shots might need different backdrops for appropriate color coding and background texture. That’s why professional photographers have an extensive collection of backdrops in the studio. 

However, you don’t necessarily need that, especially if you’re just starting out as a hobbyist. 

One of the best parts about using bedsheets as your backdrop is that you’ve got plenty of them lying around the house. Unlike professional backdrops, you don’t have to invest in a new design or color every time you feel like playing around with the background of your photos. There’s always another bedsheet in the cupboard, and here are a few you can try out! 

Bedsheets With Stripes

Professional backdrops with designs or textures are generally more expensive than plain ones, but not bedsheets. Striped bedsheets are pretty common in every household, and they can add an interesting texture to the background of your shots. 

However, striped backdrops have their own challenges, especially when you’re working with sheets. Any pattern on the backdrop needs to be perfectly symmetrical to look appealing. If the stripes aren’t straight (vertically or horizontally), it’ll make the entire shot look unprofessional. Wrinkles will also be more noticeable on striped sheets.

A quick workaround is to distance the subject and the sheets, with some background blur to conceal any imperfections. I’ll talk more about it later on in this article.

Plain Black Bedsheet As Background

If you’re a beginner, black backgrounds should be your closest friends. That’s because you don’t have to worry about wrinkles, imperfections, or casting dark shadows on the backdrop, as it’ll all stay hidden for the most part. 

Black also brings a lot of attention toward a well-lit subject, as there’s nothing in the picture to distract you. Going with a plain bedsheet in black color also means there’s no distracting texture or pattern on the backdrop, and that’s great for subjects that demand attention (like product photography).  

Patterned Bedsheet As Background

Patterns and prints are fun to play around with within the background of your pictures. If you’ve got some bedsheets with an interesting print or pattern on them, hook them onto your wall hooks and see how they look with a couple of different subjects.

The patterns might not be as easily visible on camera at first. You can address that by simply pointing some light at the center of the backdrop. It’ll add a glow effect around your subject which can look great in certain shots. However, be prepared to try this one out several times before getting it right.

Experimenting with this idea involves changing up the bedsheets, subjects, lighting, and maybe throwing on a gel or two to see how it changes the overall look. 

5 Tips for Using Sheets As Backdrops

So far, we’ve covered a step-by-step tutorial on making a DIY backdrop out of a bedsheet and the types of sheets you can use for different effects. However, many other factors can affect the overall quality of shots taken with bedsheet backdrops. 

Let’s wind this up with some specific photography tips for using sheets as backdrops. 

Keep Subject Away From the Background

Bedsheets aren’t professional backdrops—they just look close enough. That means certain imperfections are inevitable, such as a wrinkle or two, not having it stretched out properly, and so on. 

To address that problem, make sure you keep your subject sufficiently away from the backdrop. That way, the tiny imperfect details on your sheet-cum-backdrop will be easier to hide with background blur. 

If the subject is right next to it, it’ll be pretty evident that there’s a DIY backdrop behind it. If there are typical sheet patterns on it, some people might even guess that it’s a bedsheet. However, throw some blur into the mix, and suddenly those patterns make an interesting background. 

Choose the Right Bedsheet Color

As mentioned above, the backdrop’s color plays a huge role in setting the mood for the entire image. If you’re a photography student, you’d know about color theory and how it affects the tonality of your shot. With bedsheets as your backdrops, you always have plenty of color choices to work with. 

Depending on the type of subject, lighting, and setting you’re working with, you might want to experiment with high-contrast or bright, or dark colors. You probably also have multi-color bedsheets lying around the house, which can work well in specific setups.  

You should select your colors depending on the color or skin tone of your subject. The backdrop’s shade should complement it and highlight its prominence. Some color pairs work well together, such as white and gold or red and black.

On the other hand, a black bedsheet backdrop for a model in a black dress would wash out the subject instead of bringing attention to it—and that’s the last thing you want to do with your bedsheet color choice. 

Avoid Bedsheets With Images

Some images might provide an interesting pattern in your background, but you should steer away from loud and distracting imagery in your backdrop. The same rule applies here; everything in your shot should make the subject shine, and a distracting background wouldn’t help. 

You can still play around with textured bedsheets, but it should be minimal. Feel free to try out risky backdrops, but switch up the sheet with a simpler one if anything feels like it’s cluttering up the shot. 

Use Lighting Effectively

Lighting the subject is only a tiny part of what light can do for your shots. You can use clever lighting tactics on your background as well for exciting effects. For instance, bedsheets that are thin and pretty see-through, so if something is visible behind them in the shot (such as backlighting equipment), you can manage that by pointing some light at the bedsheet from the front. 

Backlighting can also be highly effective with bedsheet backdrops. You can add a light source behind them to create a glow effect at the center, which you can further enhance with a bokeh effect using background blur.

Use all of these technicalities to your advantage to get the best-looking shot with your DIY backdrops.

Use Movie Magic

Editing is one of the most powerful tools in modern photography, and it comes especially handy when you’re short on equipment like professional backdrops. In post-processing, all of the bedsheet’s blemishes can be smudged away with one stroke of a blender tool. Trust the process and don’t get disappointed with how things look in real-time during the shoot. 

However, that doesn’t mean you can skimp out on ironing and steaming your bedsheets. Wrinkles are a huge turnoff if you’re going for a polished look in your photos, and the less you need to rely on post-processing, the better it is. 

Conclusion

The best thing about photography is you can keep trying new creative ideas and enjoy the process. It’s especially worth trying out if there’s no significant cost associated with it. Luckily, all you need for some DIY bedsheet backdrops are some adhesive wall hooks from Amazon and sheets.

The benefits include significant savings, more choice of backdrops without spending more, and a much more manageable studio space. So, what’s stopping you from giving it a ‘shot’—sorry about that one. 

Here’s a review on if you should put a rug in your studio.

Sources

Vinnie

I'm Vinnie, and I'm here to support you to create your own studio at home, whether it’s for photography, recording audio, podcasts, or videos!

Recent Posts