artist studio

How to Make a Photography Background

Here is a DIY tutorial for a photography background that is easy to make and beautiful to use. I have spent a lot of time hunting down backgrounds and know all too well the feeling of staring at textured concrete walls in public— wishing I could bring a piece of wall home with me.

This tutorial is inspired by Bea Lubas (whose photography workshop I am excited to attend in London this September). Some of my favourite surfaces makers are Erickson Surfaces, I also use Capture by Lucy for food photography backgrounds.

And now, pull out your paint brushes from the closet,  head to your nearest hardware store and let’s create something beautiful.

You will need

  • A plywood board (found in the wood section of home depot, my board was 4×8, 1/2 inch thick). Find a board that is not bended or warped.
  • Several tester pots of matte paint (I used 3–5 colours each board) 
  • A cleaning sponge, old paintbrushes


Select your colours from tester pots. Gradient colours work very well.

Using a sponge, gently swirl the colours. Do not over mix as you want to the individual colours to stand out. Dip your sponge into the mixture and lightly apply brush stokes to cover the board.

Let dry in open air for up to an hour. I am planning on applying a layer of matte lacquer for wet foods, produce and drinks, of course.

And there you have it. Your very own photography background.

I used both sides of my board for different colours and found it helpful to have reference colours on hand. Will experiment with different brushes for textures as well.

Here is last night’s pasta. Photographed on grey.

Video clips can be found on my Instagram story highlights. Have fun, and share your backgrounds.

All images taken on my iPhone 6s.


Postcards from New York II

A quiet moment from Washington Square Park, NYC

Hello from Taipei, Taiwan!

I have this funny feeling that I have to be in a new city before I can process and write about the previous one. It is wonderful being back in Taipei. There is much inspiration in revisiting old places and some days it feels like I never left. Although it is interesting living in the grey area between a local and a foreigner — I have never felt more clarity that I am in the right city at this time of my life.

This season will be spent working on a personal projects (hint: hedgehog book) while taking on freelance photo shoots. Between jet lag, stuffing my face with Taiwanese eats, waking up super early and navigating this familiar and unfamiliar city — I am slowly discovering a handful of local and international creatives. Excited for the next season and trying not to book a flight to Japan anytime soon.

Sunset with Lady Liberty from Brooklyn Bridge Park
Now, back to New York City — the city of creativity, art, thunderstorms, scorching metro systems, and galleries you can spend a lifetime exploring with crowds as dense as any major Asian city.sophia_hsin_new_york_yoko_kato_long_island_city-8sophia_hsin_new_york_yoko_kato_yokocca-9Studio visits with @yokocca
I love a social media friendship turned into an afternoon of conversation with homemade jam and chiffon cake. It was a delight being able to visit Yoko’s studio tucked away across the water in the quiet of Long Island City. yoko_kato_japan_new_york_city_family_portrait-1Akari and Kaisei are the most adorable active kids. I could have spent a long time taking photos of them.della_orrey_c3_brooklyn_new_york_portraits_photography-1Portraits with Della
Della Orrey — my boo, talented musician friend and sister in Christ. It was inspiring getting to see her work at C3 Brooklyn. Getting to experience New York from a local’s perspective was also an eye opening experience though I got reprimanded a couple of times for being too much of a tourist 🙂Hanging with the talented Mark Leubbers at Le Labo in Williamsburgsophia_hsin_new_york_queens_-6Chasing light on the streets of New York. The light and shadow on fire escapes get me every. single. timesophia_hsin_new_york_ineriors_guggenheim-1Interiors from the Guggenheim. I love you Frank Lloyd.sophia_hsin_new_york_nalata_nalata_photographer-7
Shop visits with Natala Nalata
It was wonderful meeting the shop owner and fellow Canadian in the city. The ceramic exhibition from husband and wife — Momoko and Tetsuya Otani was also a pleasure to experience.sophia_hsin_new_york_matcha_shop-10ichiyos_matcha_vancouver_bc_styling_photography-1Matcha Matcha
I am really getting into matcha these days and New York had so many matcha shops to offer. My favourites — Cha Cha Matcha and Ippudo New York. Here is a set of new photos I shot for Ichiyo Matcha in Vancouver too.

Next week I will be heading down South to tropical Kenting for a creative retreat. I look forward to spending time by the ocean, getting my feet in some white sand and unwind from the last season of work and travel.

Till next time x