Replica Surfaces: Ultra-Realistic Photography Backdrops

If you are shooting a lot of products and food a recent Kickstarter project that got some attention might interest you.

There are countless products and many different methods for getting visually appealing backgrounds for food or product shots. You can use things which mimics real materials such as printed paper (which tends to get dirty and wrinkles), vinyl (which curls but you can tape it to a solid material such as wood) or you can use actual materials like wood (which is beautiful but can be heavy and might require some treatment to prevent stains) or marble (which is quite expensive and very heavy in larger sizes). There are of course countless other materials that can be used as interesting looking backgrounds – from stone to concrete and from mirror and metal – it all depends on the look that you are after.

As food and product photographers ourselves, we have dozens of different backgrounds and quite a few surfaces from different materials and they give us a lot of variety when we shoot. The problem is that they can take a lot of space, they are not always easy to find and maintain over time and not always inexpensive (but in many cases if you know what to look you can find some cool things for pretty affordable prices).

Enters the Replica Surfaces project. Created by Dallas based radiologist Mandy Gleeson. Her idea for creating realistic looking backdrops came to her after coming up with a prototype for a different prototype of a product and trying to take some interesting pictures of it.

She decided to create her own hard backdrops with realistic looking pattern. Initially, there will be 4 designs – Shiplap, Marble, Rose Marble, and Concrete. She also created a useful accessory – a plastic stand which can help you hold the solid backdrop in a vertical position.

But what is so special about the Replica Surfaces? according to Gleeson her backdrops weigh only 2 lbs, are totally stain-proof and much more affordable than many other options on the market. They are also rugged and very portable (and is only 3mm thick). The backdrops are rigid and are glare free.

Maybe the most glaring drawback at the moment is size. For Kickstarter there is only one size – 58cm x 58cm (23in x 23in) – this might be enough for some stills shooting (especially top-down) but not necessarily for video shooting (which in many situations need more “space” around the product/food – especially if there is camera movement envolved or lower angles).

While the Kickstarter project is now (seccesfully) funded you can still order the backgrounds on crowdox, starting from around $58 per surface.

If you don’t want to miss any new photography product be sure to check out our product photography section. Make sure you won’t miss any Kickstarter photography projects on our dedicated Kickstarter page here on LensVid.

Iddo Genuth
Iddo Genuth is the founder and chief editor of He has been a technology reporter working for international publications since the late 1990's and covering photography since 2009. Iddo is also a co-founder of a production company specializing in commercial food and product visual content.

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