Pretty In Pink: Making A Custom Surface

Last month we wanted to celebrate our first year in business by giving away one of our special custom backgrounds. We asked our Instagram followers to tell us about their dream surface, and were blown away by everyone's responses (we'll post our favorites at some point). Thank you all again for sharing and engaging!

Our randomly selected winner was Megan of Short Girl Tall Order, a great plant-based food blog based in Seattle. We loved that she settled on a beautiful light pink and cream surface (color!!!), something that will for sure complement her vibrant food and also her existing collection of neutrals. 


Photo Surfaces Inspiration, Mood Boards


Just a side note, if you're just starting your own collection of photography surfaces and backdrops, we recommend purchasing neutral colored pieces first - any range of white, gray, or black. These will be the most versatile for your food and/or product photography, as they won't detract attention from the main subject. Once you have the basics, light colored backdrops or pastel photography surfaces are next in line, unless you want to just go full on color.

Photo Surfaces, Blank Canvas

We would have loved to have shared a video relating our painting process (another project down the road), but since we don't have that ready we'll try our best to outline the steps we took to create Megan's backdrop.

Developing a subtle pink and cream surface takes at least three colors and at least three coats or washes, each layer drying before moving onto the next.  

  1. Paint the base color. In this case use white and a peachy pink, marbling the colors as you coat the entire surface. Let the surface dry completely.
  2. Paint the secondary color. Add white and a touch of raw sienna, creating a soft cream color while you randomly coat the surface. Let the surface dry slightly.
  3. Blend lightly with a soft bristle brush. This will help mellow out any strong brush strokes.
  4. Dry brush to soften the textures. For an even softer backdrop, mix a light pink and use it to dry brush any areas you want smoothed out. Let the surface dry completely.


Photo Surfaces, Progress, Process, Behind the Scenes, Painting


Another tidbit: Almost all our surfaces include a mix of brilliant white paint as well as plenty of water - added when we're applying the base and sometimes sprayed as a soft mist after each coat to help blend and run colors.

Also, instead of buying exact colors we tend to mix colors ourselves (e.g. blending white and raw sienna to create cream). This adds more depth and dimension, and also reduces paint purchasing, consumption, materials, packaging, etc.

Photo Surfaces, Progress, Process, Behind the Scenes, Painting
Final approval

Like any custom surface, we sent Megan photographs of her finished piece for approval, or to see if she wanted any adjustments to the color or texture. The most important thing for us is that all our clients are happy and excited about their one of a kind surfaces, and this step helps us get there.

Photo Surfaces, Progress, Process, Behind the Scenes

Once Megan was happy with her surface, we sealed it with a protective layer of water-based matte polyurethane. But before we let it go to its new home, we had to capture a few photographs with it. Plus we had just received a new set of props, and the pretty light was out. Who could resist?


Photo Surfaces, Progress, Process, Behind the Scenes

Creating your custom surface

We were incredibly nervous painting our first custom surface just over a year ago, yet somehow armed with a bit of (healthy) fear and intuition, we did it. After that first piece and all the custom requests that have come after it, we learned to trust ourselves more and more. And now we absolutely love these assignments. Custom work is our favorite work, which is why this giveaway and creating this pretty in pink backdrop was so fun.

If you're interested in something for your own collection feel free to peruse our select catalog, read more about our custom process, or email us at to get started.

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