How to Make a Graduated Photo Backdrop

Written by elizabeth valentine
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How to Make a Graduated Photo Backdrop
You can create your own graduated photo backdrop on your computer. (blue image by Empath from

If you want to feature a graduated backdrop behind your photographic subjects, you can likely make the backdrop yourself. Even without having graphic design expertise, practically anyone can download an editor and use the given tools to create a graduated or gradient-filled image. Making your own digital backdrop can give you complete control over the colours used and the size of the end result, which you can simply print out at home or order from your local photo centre.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Computer
  • Graphics design program
  • Printing access

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  1. 1

    Open your favourite graphics editor and create a new file according to the size backdrop you want. If you do not have a design program already on your computer, you can download the free, public domain piece of software titled GIMP. For optimal results, select X and Y resolutions of at least 100 pixels per inch.

  2. 2

    Locate the gradient tool or effect, commonly known as a "Blend Tool" which fills a selected area with a colour gradient. Click on the relevant tool and open the settings options if needed.

  3. 3

    Select the type of gradient you wish to insert. If you are simply trying to create a black to white gradient, for example, opt for a "FG to BG" setting with white your foreground selection and black your background.

  4. 4

    Double-click at the top of your workbook and drag your cursor to the bottom, letting go of the mouse as the graduated effect becomes apparent. If your editor has different program-specific directions, follow the prompts you are given.

  5. 5

    Save the file and print it out on photo-quality paper at home or upload the file, sending it to your local photo centre for a professional print.

Tips and warnings

  • When printing a photo backdrop at home, be sure to select the highest-quality settings on your printer to enhance the look of the backdrop in your photos.
  • Remember, colours may look different on your computer monitor than they look when printed. Consider printing a test section before printing the actual backdrop to determine if your colour selections suit your goals.

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