Design Your Own Wedding Photo Backdrops
If life were like a cartoon, when sweethearts kissed, everyone would know how much they loved each other by watching the little winged hearts flap around their heads. In real life, however, if you want a few extra artistic touches for your love story, you have to add them in yourself. While you wouldn’t be caught dead Photoshopping doodles on your own wedding photos after the fact, real-life photo adornments give your wedding album unexpected flair.
Commission an artist to design the perfect photo background for your engagement or wedding photos, or try your own hand at DIY–just make sure you come up with something that perfectly represents your love!
Painted Photo Backdrop – Fine Art
You may be holding your wedding reception at the local banquet hall, but that doesn’t mean your wedding photos all have to take place in front of the same staircase that’s seen a million other brides and grooms pose in the same positions with their families. Make sure your wedding photos stand out by creating a custom “photo booth” that’s painted in just the right way to bring your wedding theme to life.
Let’s say you and your fiancé anticipate a honeymoon in Paris–or maybe you just have bucket-list plans to, someday, kiss on top of the Eiffel Tower. Bring your wedding guests into the fun by painting your photo background to look like you’re standing on Paris’s most famous monument. You can often find affordable fine artists by scouring local art schools. Or, if you’re confident in your own painting skills, you can create any photo background you like for the cost of paint, a large canvas, hanging fabric, or any other materials you choose.
The one thing to keep in mind when painting custom photography backgrounds is the effect you’re aiming to achieve. Since even a perfectly painted, photo-realistic painting isn’t likely to fool anyone into thinking you’re actually standing in front of world landmarks, artistic stylization is your friend.
Let’s say you’re planning a “pop art” themed wedding; draw a variety of cartoon speech bubbles on wooden cutouts and screw hooks into the photo backdrop to hang them. Then your guests can choose the exclamations they like the best (like “ka-pow!” or “true love!”) and pose next to them for the photos. Don’t forget to paint colorful cartoon explosions on the wall behind them! Since realistic painting styles tend to fall short of visual believability, aiming for cartoonish, colorful, or even abstract representations of your wedding theme is likely to produce the best photography in the end.
The perfect finishing touch for an offbeat or punk wedding is, of course, a bit of romantic graffiti. For the real (albeit illegal) thing, you’ll need to sneak out to your wedding venue the night before your wedding and tag whatever surfaces you plan to stand in front of for photos. If the idea of being arrested the day before your wedding (not to mention losing your venue deposit and having to cancel your reception) doesn’t appeal to you, however, you can use the same graffiti technique to adorn and bring your own materials.
All you need is a portable surface that’s large enough to stand in front of while you’re getting your posed wedding photos taken. Large pieces of plywood make great, rough-looking backdrops for photos with a punk rock flair. Lean them against a wall to prop them up or, if you’re good with a screw gun, put together a few triangles of wood to make the plywood freestanding. For something more portable, just hang fabric from a window curtain rod or rafter. Let your venue know ahead of time that you’re planning to bring in your own “photo booth” so the management can help you arrange it in the most convenient way. Since many venues have strict rules about bringing in outside decorations, you’ll need to remain flexible about how and where you stage the backdrops–and get the agreement in writing before spending too much time creating your artistic masterpiece.
Creatively-painted Photo Backdrop
If you’re using spray paint to create the graffiti, prepare it at least a week ahead of time and keep the backdrop in a well-ventilated area. Your guests won’t want to stand close to it if it smells like harsh chemicals at the wedding reception.
The best part about designing your own photo backgrounds is you can take your wedding photography in any direction you like. Try painting top hats and tiaras at head level so your guests can look especially formal for the photos (this can create an amusing effect for especially tall or short guests, as well). Painted bouquets of roses, dapper walking sticks, or oversized wedding rings all make handy “props” alongside which to pose outstretched hands.
Remember, like any photo booth, your painted photo backdrop is just a chance for you and your guests to have a bit of fun; it shouldn’t take the place of usual wedding photography. (In fact, you probably want to assign a second photographer to cover the rest of the event.) The advantage of a creatively-painted photo backdrop is the way it encourages guests to have fun with the wedding theme. Most couples find that, at the end of the day, the wedding photos they value most are the ones where people were having the most fun.