Best Budget Backgrounds & Backdrops for Photography in 2022

Photography 25/09/2022 5 min read

Every image has a background of some description: from a wall of flowers in a garden to an artificial studio backdrop. For any serious photographer, ensuring that they have at least one suitable backdrop for their photography is essential. But why? And which backdrops should you look to use if you’re starting out? Whatever your style of photography, here’s just why you might need a backdrop (or 2) and which are the best photography backdrops available right now.

Why Do You Need Backdrops for Photography?

Backdrops for your photography will transform your work. It doesn’t matter what type of commercial photography you engage in or if you just take casual photos of the cakes you bake and share them via Instagram. Apart from making your images look highly professional, they also offer you enormous versatility.

 The yellow is the perfect complement to the beautiful colored tights.
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If you have a clean, uncluttered backdrop, it ensures that the focus is on your subject and not on the crack in the wall behind it or the way it clashes with your tablecloth. This is, of course, especially important for product photography and food photography, but it really does bring an enormous sense of professionalism to any photos you take.

With a few different backdrops stashed away in your studio, it’s easy to give every shoot a different look or feel with a board change. For example, your studio can go from a plush and fancy bathroom for luxurious skincare products to a plainer background suitable for showing off jewelry in a headshot. Likewise, different backdrops can help you go from high-key to low-key in a flash or bring a different mood or tone to fashion shoots. 

The pink backdrop is in keeping with the tone of the shoot.
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Black vs. White Backdrops – Which to Choose?

Should you only have the resources or storage space to invest in 1 backdrop, you might wonder if it’s best to choose a black or a white backdrop. Both have advantages, but a black backdrop generally has more disadvantages. White is versatile; you can use it for almost any product or situation. A photoshoot with a white environment is easy to edit. And if you want to flood your white background with colored light, you can easily change it from white to, for example, red with just some gels over your lights.

photoshoot white backdrop
White backdrops are classic. 
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photoshoot white backdrop
A white backdrop can easily change color with the help of your lighting.
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White backdrops help your subjects stand out, but a black backdrop can really make your subject pop, especially if it’s richly colored. If you like to shoot low-key images, black backgrounds are also essential.

black backdrop is the best photoshoot background
The black makes the pineapple stand out.
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For someone who practices headshot photography, black or white backdrops can be equally preferable, but so can colored backdrops. For example, you might find that grey or a mottled blue is flattering for your subjects.

grey backgrounds are best backdrops for photography
Grey backdrops work well for headshots.
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Best Budget Backgrounds and Backdrops for Photography

Before you go out and select a backdrop, it helps to know that backdrops come in different forms. Some are boards, some are known as “sweep” backgrounds, you can choose from more permanent backdrops or pick up portable ones, and then there are plain and patterned backgrounds. 

V-Flats & V-Flat Duos 

Board backdrops, such as foldable v-flats or v-flat duos (both available from V-Flat World), are very versatile and often much more convenient to store than you think. Foldable v-flats form large backgrounds suitable for fashion shoots but double-up as bounce boards on their white side and work as negative fill on their black side. V-flat duos tend to be smaller, so they are better suited for product shots and, as the name implies, are double-sided. They can be colored or patterned on one side and plain on the other. All of these are durable, wipe-clean and anti-glare. Foldable v-flats start at around $210, and Duo boards begin at $75.

v flats are the best photography backdrops
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Sweep backdrops

Sweep backdrops will give you a seamless background as they swoop from above your subject to beneath it. Large sweep backgrounds used for fashion, full-length portraits and group shots tend to be made from fabric and are suspended from a stand. You can usually purchase background fabrics that are washable, easy to iron and anti-glare in different colors and sizes. If you can fit a 10 by 20 feet backdrop in your studio, it will serve you very well. You can find these, together with their supporting stands and smaller sweeps, from manufacturers such as Neewer, Julius and GFCC. Fabric backdrops vary in price depending on the quality of the material and how large it is. Don’t forget to factor in that you’ll also need a stand on which to secure it.

sweep backdrops for photography
Notice how the backdrop is smooth and seamless?
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There are portable backdrops if storage is tight or if you need to use one when you’re on location. You can pick up portable backdrops from Neewer, Impact, Julius and Lastolite and plenty of other manufacturers. In addition, there are collapsible versions, which resemble reflectors and the rollable pull-up type. These can range in price from around $75 to $220, depending on size and type.


If you’d prefer a patterned backdrop, the place to look is Kate. Here, you’ll find abstract patterns, walls, wood effects, floral-look backdrops, as well as beautiful interior designs. There are also seasonal and holiday backdrops. The small backdrops start at around $24.

DIY Alternatives

There are many options available for anyone who would prefer to go down the DIY backdrop route.

  • Painting your walls matte white–the paint should not have any reflective qualities–makes for a versatile background. 
  • You can hang any sheets or blankets that you might have available to work as backdrops. It’s easy to change the color or texture here, going from sleek black to cozy and fluffy with a few clips. 
  • Large or small sheets of craft paper and card (again, non-reflective) serve as cheap, versatile and effective backdrops. You pick them up for very little outlay in various colors. 
  • Head to your nearest DIY or home improvement store. You might be able to pick up off-cuts or even sheets of timber or wood relatively cheaply. Or you can find end-of-run tiles and flooring that will easily double as backdrops. 

Whatever type of photography you practice, investing in some backdrop options is a good idea. They do not have to cost the earth, and they provide you with enormous versatility. You can choose ready-made options or try a DIY alternative. Whichever you choose, you’ll notice a jump in the professional appearance of your videos, so don’t hang around.