My Favorite Inexpensive Photo Backgrounds - Erin's Inside Job

My Favorite Inexpensive Photo Backgrounds

I really only started caring about my photography last October. Since then, my Instagram following has increased from the 600s to almost 5000 followers. I’ve been able to present more professional images on this blog which in turn has increased the amount of interest I’ve gotten from readers and brands. I wanted to give you a look behind the scenes at some of my staples.

Today’s post is about all of the props I use as backgrounds in my photos. Many backgrounds are actually free or extremely inexpensive if you just keep your eyes open and think outside the box!

A look at the props and backgrounds I use to make my photos look professional. All SUPER cheap and SUPER accessible!

From least to most expensive, here are my favorite inexpensive photo backgrounds.

1. Sheets – free! (assuming you have sheets on your bed 🙂 )

Many time when I take pictures of clothes, I like the soft look of my comforter as a background. You can also use sheets in different colors to help achieve varying shots.

sheet background

2. Walls – (free!)

So many of my food pictures use the surroundings as a background. Look for a unique or brightly colored wall to use in your shot. If you like a clean, bright picture, see if they have any white tables. Sometimes if the lighting is too dark or there isn’t a good setting inside, I’ll walk my food outside and take a picture of it in better lighting!

wall background

3. Pizza Box – (free ~ $20)

This is by far one of my favorite backgrounds. Depending on how expensive your pizza is, this background can be super cheap to work with. You could even stop into a local shop and simply ask for a box, which many places won’t have a problem with.

I use my pizza box for larger overhead shots such as the one below.

Pizza Box

pizza box background

4. Vinyl Tiles – (less than $1)

Stop by your local hardware store (I got these at Home Depot and Menards) and pick up some vinyl floor tiles. These cost me less than $1 a piece and the white one was only $0.49!

Plastic Tiles

tile  background

5. Stone Sample – ($4-$10)

Depending on which style you choose, you can get a stone sample at Home Depot or other hardware store for anywhere from $4-$10. This marble square cost me $4.86 and has been the backdrop of a lot of my photos recently. It’s definitely heavier than the other options, but the photos come out looking great!


marble background

6. Vinyl Backdrops 3×2 ft. – ($19.99 + S&H)

If you are looking for high quality, portable backdrops, vinyl is the way to go. I got these two from Ink and Elm and you can easily roll them up to store or transport!

Vinyl Ink and Elm

ink and elm

Remember – backgrounds are great, but if you really want to make your photos pop and look professional, you need to edit them. I take all of my pictures on my phone and use VSCO Cam to edit them before posting them on the blog or social media.

For more info on editing your photos with VSCO, check out this super helpful tutorial by BGB Community that I wish I had when trying to figure out the app!


  • What do you use as your backgrounds?
  • Do you edit your pictures? What software do you use?

26 comments on “My Favorite Inexpensive Photo Backgrounds

  1. I am going to take note on all of these..what great ideas! I’ve always loved your photos. What program do you use to create the photos with the font on them? I love the faded out square with the words over it on your main photo to this post!
    Sara @ Oats & Rows recently posted…Friday FavoritesMy Profile

    1. Thanks Sara! I use canva for everything it’s such a lifesaver! I have a presentation coming up next month and I think I’m going to use it for that too instead of power point

    1. Awesome! Yeah it just takes a little outside of the box thinking and you’d be surprised how many options you find!

  2. Hi!! My website is a soon to come affair but meanwhile I’m trying to learn as much as possible. Your ideas, for example, are epic. Love them! My own favorite is contact paper over goal core board. There are so many styles of contact paper. For a couple of dollars you can have a background to match whatever your need is! And for editing, I like Aviary. It’s free and has lots of options for editing. I’m going to check out your suggestion. I can’t say I have an eye for photography, but I sure have fun in the editing process. Thank you!

  3. Would like to say that I recently got some backdrops from Ink and Elm and they were total garbage. The printer that prints on the vinyl had run out of ink towards the end of the roll and it was showing all dots instead of the texture they were supposed to print. Also, when I ordered some larger backdrops recently the image they had used to print was not high resolution enough and the pattern was all blurry. Total waste of $350.

    1. Oh man I’m so sorry. I haven’t gotten anything from them in several years – hope their quality hasn’t gone downhill!

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