Food photography surfaces were something I didn’t have great choices of when I was living in an apartment. I also didn’t have a great spot for indoor natural light, making my window for shooting decent food photos indoors very small. I took a lot of pictures outside on my porch, but didn’t have an variance in what I could use for a surface or background.
Of course, the apartment has a concrete floor which I loved for a surface if I was photographing just one dish. I’ve already used our concrete sidewalk outside at the house for some food photos since we’ve moved.
In any case, I wanted more options for snapping pictures of food. I don’t even have a decent wood table to take pictures on. But, I do have a fabulous sun room with lots of natural light!
The plan? To make a two sided food photography surface. I set out to Lowe’s to see what I could find.
My original idea was to make a planked wooden surface which I could paint. After browsing the options available to me, I realized it wasn’t the most affordable option. Sure, a planked surface would might have a good textured look, but I’m still a small little blog and can make those upgrades as I can. The wood planks were about $3.25 a piece. I’d need about 14 of them to get the 2 by 2 foot size I wanted that would act as a reversible surface, which was more than I wanted to spend.
Instead, I found a 2 x 2 foot oak board that I felt would do the job just fine! These were only $4.65 each.
These were 1/4 inch thick, so they’re lightweight and easy to move where I want them. Since I wanted to paint and use both sides, I wanted it to be easy to handle. I sorted through the pieces to find two surfaces I liked best.
After finding the oak pieces, I looked around for paint colors. Lowe’s sells many different paint samples for $2.98 each. They can make a sample size in any color that they sell. They also have a returns area where you can find select colors that were returned by customers for $1.99.
I knew I wanted a white surface, and looked for some other color options. I was going to purchase a brown, but I remembered I had a brown spray paint at home and wanted to try that out first opposed to buying something new. These were the colors I settled on!
Once I got home, I spray painted one board. I laid plastic out in the driveway, and put on two coats. The end result is a little shinier than I’d like, so I’m going to try a couple things. Possibly sanding it a little bit, or adding a different color on top of it for a more textured look. I’ll keep you updated on how it turns out!
I took a two inch paint brush and lightly brushed white paint onto the other oak board. I only did one coat, and didn’t put the paint on too thick. I wanted the wood texture to show through. The paint samples you get at Lowe’s only come in the satin sheen. By applying a thinner coat of paint, you don’t get the shiny look from it like you would painting it on a wall.
I was happy with how this one turned out! The photo below was a quick snap of my dinner last night. The dish is a little distracting, but I think you get the idea of what the surface will look like in a photo.
I haven’t painted the other side of this board yet, but I think I’ll do the gray color with it. This is the most affordable option I was able to find, doing a reversible food photography surface.
Purchasing the $4.65 oak board, and two $2.98 samples of paint, you can get two surfaces for only $12!
Looking for more tips like this?
Check out this round-up of tips and tricks for food photography!