How to Create Custom Photography Backgrounds Using a Monitor

When shooting at home or in the studio, you may find that the backgrounds you have are insufficient to bring your vision to life. For example, if you want to have a starry night background for your still life subject, you’ll have to wait until it’s dark and light before you can shoot outdoors. But we have a solution (and it’s not a green screen).

Did you know you can create any background you want just by using a TV or computer monitor? Read on to find out what you need and how you can achieve the desired effect.

The bigger the better

Giant TV in the living room showing fireworks

Whatever you’re planning to shoot, it’s always ideal to have a large, curved, high-resolution screen. This is because high resolution screens look more natural in the background and allow you to work with larger subjects. Curved screens are also a plus, as they are better at bringing immersion to your composition.

If you’re working with small subjects, such as small knick-knacks, a 24-inch screen would be more than enough. But if you’re shooting larger subjects, such as dioramas, you’ll need a screen that’s 43 inches or larger.

Display type and surface subjects

Flat screen on the wall

We strongly recommend that you use a screen with a matte surface for your photographic backgrounds. If your monitor has a glossy screen, it may reflect off subjects and lights, making it look unnatural.


OLED screens will be better than LED panels. Indeed, OLED screens can deliver rich contrast and deep blacks, allowing you to recreate the night as it appears outside. A screen like Sony’s latest QD-OLED TV will give you vibrant colors when shooting.

Related: What is QD-OLED and why is it better than OLED or LCD TVs?

Be smart with lighting

photo studio with lighting

When using a custom image on a monitor as a background, make sure your subject’s lighting complements it. For example, it wouldn’t make sense for the subject you’re photographing to have soft low light falling on it indicating sunset, while your background looks like noon. Keep it consistent if you want to avoid your image looking unnatural and photoshopped.

Additionally, you can use the screen as a light source. Suppose you want to photograph a guitar in a campfire setting at dusk. You can put an image of a burning campfire in the background and use its warm, golden glow to set the mood for your photo.

Try to match the lighting you apply to the subject with what is happening behind it. Do not use harsh, bright, white LED lights to illuminate the guitar. Instead, use soft, warm, low-power light. This way your main light and ambient light complement each other.

Create artificial depth of field

photo of a light bulb with a shallow depth of field

A distant background is usually displayed as blurry and soft. This is due to a shallow depth of field, which allows the main subject of the image to stand out. If you are shooting in a studio or enclosed space, you can change the background image to recreate this effect.

Using photo editing software, you can apply a blur effect to your background image. Then display it on your monitor and place the subject in front of it. When you take the photo, the background image appears further away than it is — you’ve just created an artificial depth of field.

Related: What Is Depth Of Field And How Does It Occur?

Include real life elements

flat rocks and plants on white background

To make the scene you create look as real as possible, feel free to add physical foreground, middle, and background elements. You can add sand, rocks, or even plant life to make your image look natural if you’re shooting it against an outdoor background image.

Alternatively, if you’re shooting an indoor scene, like breakfast cereal, you can set up your composition with napkins, spoons, forks, and other breakfast items, and then use a photo of it. a kitchen as a background. A quick internet search for a kitchen stock image will provide you with the perfect breakfast setting.

It’s all in the corner

creative display and self-portrait angles

When shooting with a screen in the background, you don’t have to limit yourself to just one camera angle, such as holding the camera level with your subject and then shooting straight ahead. Get creative with your camera placement.

For example, you can display a vivid blue sky background on the screen, then shoot your subject from a low angle to make them look like they’re standing in the hot summer sun.

Alternatively, you can emulate the reflection of the sky on the screen, place the monitor under a transparent water tank and fill it with water. Next, place your subjects above the (closed) water tank and shoot it from a high angle, making your subjects appear to be floating in the sky.

Your own creativity is the limit here – just make sure you have a secure way to hold your monitor in place if you need to move it, especially if it’s large and heavy, so you don’t drop it and damage it.

Create any background with a monitor

If you want a custom background for your photo shoots, there’s no need to spend hours setting it up or spend a lot of money renting a place. You can create an elaborate scene with just one screen. There’s also no need to spend a lot of time and effort changing the background of a composition after the fact, just display an image on the screen and you’re good to go.

With high resolution monitors being more affordable than ever and found in all of our homes, they are completely viable alternatives for photographic backgrounds. They’re even easier to set up than a real photography backdrop, and the light they emit on their own will add ambiance to your end result.

If you’re considering using your TV or computer monitor as a background for your next shoot, refer to this article and keep these tips in mind.

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