Paint Your Own Photography Studio Portrait Canvas Backdrop | Kathy Weigand

Over the years of being a professional photographer, I’ve spent thousands on painted canvas and muslin studio backdrops.  I use them for a couple seasons, and before you know it, we’re ready to change them out for some fresh colors… & that adds up!

For a long time, I’ve been wanting to paint my own canvas backdrop, and I FINALLY decided to give it a try!

The very talented local watercolor artist, Annette Bennett, contacted me for new portraits of herself for her website and advertising.   I was very excited to work with her, as I really admire her art.

Before her photo session, we talked about clothing colors, style, etc, so I knew that she would be bringing a black blouse.

I wanted a blueish-greenish traditional (business) style background.  So, I went to my local craft store and bought:

– 1 roll of canvas 4ft x 20ft … $30
– 1 each of black, blue, green, and white,  water-based craft paint … $15
– 1 large house paint brush … $5
– 1 natural sponge … $5

Total Spent = $55 + tax.

-First I hung the 4′ x 4′ section of canvas on my background stand, and stapled all edges to my workshop’s wall, trying to keep it fairly tight, or at least snug.
-Next I brushed on a thin layer of water & let it sit a while
-I started with just the black paint & painted the outer edges using the large brush.
– Then I added both the blue & green, blending and working the paint towards the middle.
– For the center, I also added some white to help create a lighter hotspot area
– Blend blend blend
– Last, I used the natural sponge dabbing on some textures, but keeping it subtle for a more traditional look.

It took me a couple hours to paint a 4′ x 4′ section, and I let it dry for 2 days. But I can see an experienced artist painting it much quicker!

And I only used 4 feet out of the roll, which is fine for an individual portrait. For a larger group or family portrait you would need to paint a much larger canvas surface.

I thought it looked well, and my client likes it. Her eyes look great against this custom made backdrop! Its a one-of-a-kind. 🙂


Thank you Annette for letting me try this new backgound idea on you!


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