For years, I’ve been using simple dark gray cardstock for my photo backgrounds. I like it because it’s inexpensive, convenient, requires virtually zero storage space, and most importantly, provides the truest color. Once I found the right combination of light and camera angles, I was able to get photographs that required no editing to look ‘right’, and that looked similar every time, providing a cohesive appearance to my storefronts.
I have tried using different backgrounds from time to time. White cardstock creates too many shadows, and makes colors look dull. I once experimented with natural-looking shelf paper, but it proved to be too shiny under natural light. I went running back to my reliable gray card, with the hope that someday something better would come along.
Last week I decided that it was time to try again. I want to give my first photos and thumbnails a more Egyptian - and ultimately more treasury-worthy - look, by adding a lighter background. And what better backdrop could there be for Egyptian inspired jewelry than papyrus? Perhaps you’ve seen kids craft projects that create artificial papyrus scrolls using strips of brown paper lunch sack. I decided to use this simple technique to make my own papyrus backdrop, though hopefully with a more authentic look.
First, I picked up some newsprint style sketch paper - I hoped that the pulpy look would give a more natural appearance to the finished scroll. I soaked sheets of paper in coffee to give them a more organic color, and set them out to dry. The color wasn’t quite right, so when it came time to decoupage the strips together, I used a mixture of glue, water, and a hint of yellow acrylic paint. At first I wasn’t pleased with the results, but after letting the layers of paper dry overnight, I was happy to find that the color was very similar to the real thing. All that’s missing is the gauzy, grainy look of real papyrus strips.
The true test would be whether or not the fake papyrus would provide a good background for jewelry photos. Just in case it didn’t turn out, I also picked up some additional backdrops - a packet of desert-themed scrapbook papers. While I was at it, I also tried out some new lighting angles. Here are the results:
I like how most of the pictures turned out, but I can’t quite decide if I should make a switch. Which background do you like best?
Copyright 2012 Inspirational Beading
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