Behind the Scenes: Making It Work on A Budget

By Brittni • Updated on 02/14/2024

Behind the Scenes: Make It Work

From the outside, it may seem like DIY bloggers have an endless supply of craft supplies, props, backdrops, etc. But that’s not always the case.

And even if it is, all of those things can really start to add up after a while. So, as a cost effective and easy solution to a handful of super common problems that you may come across when photographing your work, I have some tips for you.

Here are three tips / tricks for ‘making it work’ on a budget…

Behind the Scenes: Make It Work

Fake it. Wishing you had a fancy kitchen? Me too. Contrary to what it may look like,  I do not have a marble slab countertop at my disposal for food photography and recipes. What I do have, however, is 2 ft long marble pastry slab (which you can get at Crate and Barrel) that I bought for $50 a year or two ago that I use ALL the time.

If you don’t have something similar to this at your house already, no worries. You can try a wood cutting board or even an old baking sheet, for a totally different look.

Cost to you for reusing your own kitchen supplies? Zero.

Behind the Scenes: Make It Work

Remember, white means bright. Need a reflector? Use something white…This can be anything from a large piece of foam core to a white towel wrapped around a large picture frame. It really just depends on what you already have laying around your house. You can also use a white box, a piece of stretched canvas, etc. Pretty much anything white, that can be propped up, will work.

Behind the Scenes: Make It Work

Dealing with imperfections. Are short ceilings, strange walls, or awkwardly placed electrical outlets getting in the way of your photographs? No worries! All it takes is a little creative cropping, while editing, and no one will ever know. Photoshop and Lightroom are both great for these types of fixes.

*If you’re wondering why I stacked a chair on top of a bench and took a photo, it’s because the ‘A’ was conveniently covering an ugly electrical hole in the wall, which was a little high. So I had to stack the chair on a bench to get it to the right height. It made sense at the time, I promise.

Okay, those are my three tips for making it work on a budget.

Have your own tips, tricks, and hacks to share? Leave a comment below.

20 comments | Click here to reply

Hey! Love the idea of the faux marble countertop – you fooled me!

… I also would love some tips on lighting. I just moved into a studio with no natural light! EEK! Do you have any tips for faking that? :-p

Thanks! Rock on,



Any tips of photography lighting??? What set-up of lights do you use? Natural light or bulbs? I would love to read an article on this – if anyone has any good links to blogs discussing this please let me know 🙂
Em (Syd, Aus)


LOVE these tips and love the fact you’re not portraying every day “perfection.” You rock and I’m so thankful to read your blog! xo


I LOVE behind the scenes posts. I love the real ness

xo Ashley


[…] these tips for making it work on a budget and how to work from […]

Sarah Hearts - Links to Love

These are such great tips!! I love seeing the reality behind your pictures (which always look so good!). The marble board is a great idea too
Thanks for sharing, Hannah x


I always love your behind the scenes posts. Stacking that chair on a bench was a pretty genius solution!

Kelly @ Studio DIY

These are great tips!! Will definitely keep them in mind for future posts!


Great tips, especially the marble. Now if only IKEA sold that and it was light enough for me to lift. 😛 Something else I like to do is use scrapbook paper as backgrounds when shooting down.

Curious Charlie

Thank you so much for sharing! I love that the photos I admire so much are actually achievable with just a little ingenuity.

Sara Beth

I really loved this post and it is so helpful! I forget that we all fake it sometimes.. A good reminder.

x Vicky


Great insight! Thanks for sharing!


I like how you shared a little insight into how you make it work with small and limited spaces! ALL of my pictures are taken in the same small, awkwardly shaped corner of my kitchen – it’s not fancy at all but I think I do a pretty good job of faking it. Right now I’m on the lookout for some different flooring samples that I can use as backgrounds for my food photography.

x Kathryn
Through the Thicket


niiiice! these are some great tips.


These are great tips and I couldn’t agree more! I use white foam board for reflectors and have a huge roll of paper that looks like wood paneling! My friends and family are constantly complimenting me on my table because they think it’s real haha!

Carolyn Selheim-Miller

I love that chair on a coffee table, I have needed that before! Also, so thankful for photoshop, I have an electrical outlet that is in an inconvenient spot but you would never know!

Laurel (@abubblylife)

These tips are really useful! Thank you for sharing 🙂


I love this! I think more people need to see these kind of posts too 🙂

Brooke T

These are really great tips! I love your idea on using cute cutting boards as backdrops.

jenna @ dearest love

HA! Love to see this. I have a similar process…sometimes I’m tempting to show the larger picture. Thanks for being brave and letting us take a peek!

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