Making a wooden photography shooting baseboard… an essential!

So I’ve been away for a while because I’ve been ridiculously busy doing all sorts of fun things, such as work over at Bramarpla and competing my little genius dog rAlf in the spring agility season.

It’s been CHOCKA but I’m super happy to report that I haven’t touched a speckle of meat since we last spoke, in fact, i’m pretty much 100% vegan & I’m totally adoring this journey!

This post is all about photography, because I’m actually a photographer too! All the photo’s thus far on this blog have been phone snaps, but I’m switching shooting in my homemade thrifty food studio from here on in.

I’ve already been asked a bazillion questions about how to make a photography background (base board in this case) for low key work, so, here it is!

How to make a wooden photography background:

Step 1: Get some pallets!

The pallets you get don’t need to all be identical, however, it’s a good idea to get ones in reasonably good condition. Softwood is easier to work with, and lighter, than hardwood, so think about how often (and where to) you’ll be moving this base board.

I went with hardwood because I like a chunky, solid finish. It does weigh a ton (slight exaggeration) but it looks lush.

Step 2: Break down the pallets:

For this you’ll need a crowbar and a hammer/mallet. Think carefully about which planks you want to keep. I went with all the thin, long & flat boards without breaks in them. I also salvaged 3 cross-bars for structural integrity at the bottom.

Carefully break these babies down. If you rush or go all crazy at this point, you’ll end up with broken planks and a wasted day!

Step 3: Build up your baseboard:

Lay all of the pieces out on a flat surface in their ‘end-arrangement’. If you can, glue or clamp everything at this point. If you don’t have glue or clamps handy, never fear, just go for it (like I did), but you may end up with some wonky ends!

Proceed to add 3-5 nails at each joining point in from the top down. Choose nails that are not longer than the thickness of your baseboard, but long enough to get a good hold. Make sure you sink those nails deeper than the top board, you’ll need to do that for…


Step 4: Sand your baseboard:

The easiest way to do this is with an electric sander, but if you’re feeling macho, grab a sanding block and have at it! Sand until there is a smooth surface and a good grain coming through.

Step 5: Paint your baseboard:

Make sure you brush the dust off of the baseboard, otherwise you’ll end up with a crappy paint job. For black or white boards, ensure you DO NOT choose a gloss or satin paint finish. This is uber important for me because I shoot with OFC (off camera flash) and gloss flare is awful to look at!

I went with, for this black board, some cheap black matte spray paint and ran one thick-ish coat over the whole creation, then left it to dry!


Step 6: Shoot!

As I previously said, I shoot with off camera flash, so to make a matching backdrop box on the cheap, I cut up and painted a cardboard box we had lying around. I cut the bottom and one side out, leaving the left, right, back and top panel in (did that make sense?!).

I then set up one speedlight, with a softbox camera left & shot away! These test shots were from the first attempt and I LOVE the darkness of the scene. Just perfect!

Bramarpla - Food Photography - Banangeddon (1 of 2)

Bramarpla - Food Photography - Banangeddon (2 of 2)

And that’s that, et voila!

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