How to Create a Custom Photography Backdrop for your Portraits

So, you’ve got a couple of thousand dollars to spend and you’re looking for a custom backdrop to spice up your portraits?

Well, keep looking because in today’s video I’m going to show you how to create a custom photography backdrop right in Photoshop.


That’s right, I’m going to save you tons of money plus I’m going to show you how to create a custom backdrop that looks as good as any thousand dollar backdrop you can buy.

Using a Plain Backdrop for your Portraits

The key to being able to create a custom backdrop in Photoshop is to photograph your subject on a plain flat background.

Something like a V-Flat will work great.

original v-flat backdrop for kathy ruff portrait

As you can see with the photos I did of Kathy here, I used a V-Flat for my background, which gives me a nice plain color to work with.

Of course, you’ll probably have to do some initial cleaning up of your background before you add your overlays and painting.

Creating a Custom Backdrop: Step-by-Step

Now that you have the portrait of your subject on a nice flat background, it’s time to take it into Photoshop and clean it up.

Step #1: Using your “Clone Stamp Tool”, clean up any defects or seams within your flat background.

use photoshop clone stamp to clean up the backdrop

Step #2: Using your background overlay of choice, add a blend mode of “Color Dodge” and drop the opacity down until the desired effect.

add photoshop backdrop overlay to your portrait image

Step #3: Next, add a “Color Fill” layer, select the color you desire, change the blend mode to “color”, and drop the opacity to what looks best.

add photoshop color and exposure layers to finish up custom photography backdrop

Step #4: Lastly, add an “Exposure” layer and raise or drop the exposure to your desired effect.

Expensive Photography Backdrops for Free

I’m sure buying expensive backdrops has its advantages but I honestly love the way these custom Photoshop backdrops look with my contemporary portraits, not to mention saving all that money.

editorial portrait of kathy ruff
magazine style portrait of jill titus
editorial style portrait of ritz mill

As you can see in the portraits above, I use this technique on every portrait I create and I bet you couldn’t tell.

Create Your Own Photo Backdrop

Now that you know all my secrets for creating custom backdrops in Photoshop, give it a whack for yourself.

I’d love to try and I’d love to see what you come up with.

Tag me on my Instagram so I can see what you’re working on.

Also, leave a comment below and share your thoughts on saving so much freaking money by creating your own custom backdrop in Photoshop.

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