Heavy-duty crossbars can handle greater weights for thicker backdrops. Tripod stands are stable on hard and soft surfaces. Included bag is durable.
Center crossbars do not lock into each other, allowing the metal to rotate around in place.
Wide frame can accommodate large backdrops without becoming unstable. Crossbars slide into each other, locking securely to keep everything together under load.
The adjustable bar can be difficult to use without the help of other people on the support bases.
Large stand is easy to assemble and disassemble with the included crossbar segments. The kit comes with a carrying case and clamps to secure a backdrop.
The storage bag is poor quality, often missing zippers and having stray threads that unravel.
Narrow crossbars and support stands fit up against walls to keep the backdrop out of the way. Collapses into its separate components in mere minutes.
The lighter weight of the stand makes it unstable in outdoor, windy conditions.
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A backdrop stand is a common addition to most photography studios and some shooting locations. Holding a background canvas with different colors or images, the stand itself remains out of the shot. When set up correctly, a background stand makes it easy to change the scene of the picture you are creating.
Stands vary by size and materials. Depending on the canvas you choose, you will need a stand that can support the size and bulk of the backdrop. Since canvases come in many sizes and materials, it is best to find a stand that is strong and adjustable enough to hold any canvas you might want to use without buckling under the load.
Read on for our in-depth guide on backdrop stands. You will learn more about important considerations, helpful features, tips and tricks on using stands, and a few of our personal recommendations to get you started.
Backdrops are extremely popular in studio and portrait photography where a background canvas can enhance the look of the final shot. While less common in other forms of photography, a backdrop stand can still make a good addition if you want some flexibility in your shooting. As a result, it’s important to consider what kind of photography you do to see what kind of backdrop stand will work.
If you normally shoot indoors in a controlled studio environment, nearly any backdrop stand will work. Since you rarely move a large amount of equipment around in this type of photography, you can look at heavier-duty options that have greater bulk for more stability when using larger backdrops.
For location shooting, backdrop stands work well if they are lightweight and portable. In many cases, this kind of setup uses only a single stand instead of the more traditional dual-stand frame.
The main shape of the frame will determine how much weight it can handle and how stable the whole setup will be. Most stands have a strong three- or four-leg base for flat ground. Since certain backdrop materials can be difficult to mount and secure, the frame design can also affect how quickly you can get the setup ready for shooting.
Most frames come in either a single- or dual-stand setup. In some cases, a single-stand frame is used for portability, but the more common dual-stand design is a classic staple of a traditional photography studio. The two stands connect in the middle with extra tubing, so the canvas is supported along three sides for better stability.
The single-stand design is T-shaped with a horizontal bar sitting on top of the main frame. This design is quicker to set up and tear down, but balance can be an issue. Specifically, using a single-stand frame on uneven ground can be challenging unless the stand has a large base and legs to keep everything balanced on the terrain.
The type of backdrop you decide to use will influence what kind of stand you need. The size and materials of the backdrop, in particular, determine how large and hefty the stand needs to be in order to get a secure setup. Depending on your style of photography and the desired final product, certain backdrops are better suited than others.
Certain fabric backgrounds like canvas, cotton, and muslin are light enough that nearly any backdrop stand will do. The main factor will be the size of the stand or how adjustable it is. Fabric backgrounds come in common sizes such as 5 x 7 and 8 x 8 feet, all of which need to be well-supported along the top (and sides ideally) for the best results. Paper is a great backdrop material if you want the lightest weight possible.
Some thicker background materials such as vinyl backdrops will require heavier-duty stands to carry the extra bulk. Wider bases are a must since the heavier material can easily tip a stand over with enough movement. The stability of a wider base is also necessary for chroma key backgrounds (solid green or blue canvases) that need to stay in place so a computer can identify the background to replace.
Backdrop stands generally use tubing made with different materials to find a good balance between stability and portability. The materials affect how much the stand weighs. While less weight is generally desirable for portable stands, in some cases, more weight is actually a good thing.
Heavy (steel): Heavy stands made of steel offer more stability for heavier backdrops. In a studio setting, where you shouldn’t have to move the stand around that much, the bulky frame can support more canvas types. This increases your shooting options, so the final product can be closer to your photographic vision.
Light (aluminum, PVC, composite tubes): Mobile backdrop stands require less weight in order to have a convenient set-up process. If a stand is too heavy, it may be difficult to get the stand set up each time you move to a new location or have to tear it down after the end of a shoot. Aluminum stands are the most common lightweight setup, but some companies offer PVC or composite tubes instead.
Since backdrop canvases come in different sizes, it is important to find a backdrop stand that can adjust. Otherwise, you will need to keep a few different stands around or limit yourself to a single canvas size.
A stand’s adjustability comes from its design: sliding tubes you can expand in and out to get different heights and widths. The length of the tubes will determine how wide you can make the stand. Most stands can handle canvases up to eight or ten feet in length, but you will likely need something with longer tubes to handle extra large backdrops.
Similar to width, the maximum height of the stand is determined by the vertical support tubing. These stands will have a minimum and maximum distance of adjustment. Here, the maximum height should be equal to or beyond the height of the largest canvas you want to use. For example, a stand with a maximum height of ten feet will be able to accommodate canvases around five to ten feet in height.
The backdrop stand itself is only the support structure of a photographic setup. In order to actually secure the canvas to the stand, you will need extra equipment like clamps that clip onto the tubing and the canvas’ surface. If you buy a stand as a kit, you will likely have a few clamps that are large enough to fit around the tubing to start.
Other common accessories include extra tubing and protective gear. If the stand is modular in design, extra tubing will allow you to expand the size of the stand’s height and width ranges without maxing out on adjustability.
Protective gear includes carrying/travel bags to keep the stand secure, dry, and clean when not in use. Soft travel bags are usually made of nylon and include heavy-duty padding and zippers to enclose the stand. Some bags also include extra accessory pockets, so you can keep clamps and camera gear together in a single location.
Compared to other photographic equipment, most backdrop stands are inexpensive accessories that can expand your shooting possibilities. Best of all, many stand kits that include clamps are on the budget side of the pricing spectrum. Typically, the price increases with the size of the stand. A good majority of stands are at or under $100, except for a few professional stands that can cost a couple thousand dollars.
Under $50, you will find plenty of light-duty backdrop stands with thinner tubing and smaller bases. These are great for location shooting or smaller backgrounds that don’t have a lot of bulk. Heavier stands and backdrop kits are in the $50 to $100 range, given the larger tubing and greater amount of accessories.
You can use backdrop stands at an angle instead of straight on for different photographic effects.
The size of the backdrop stand and background canvas need to be proportional to your photo subjects. For example, if you have a single person in the picture, the background can be small. For larger groups, you will need a larger canvas/stand.
Professional studio stands can hold multiple backgrounds you can simply roll up when not in use, saving space and time.
A backdrop needs to be well-lit for the best results. The background can’t be too light or dark or else the contrast will be off. A multi-light setup will help you get a more uniform result.
Since backdrops can seem bland alone, use some extra props or furniture in a shot to add some depth to the photo.
While an entire backdrop stand kit is great for getting started with portrait or studio photography, a backdrop stand without the extra accessories can save you a lot of money. A single stand is also a good purchase to expand your studio setup as you grow. The Neewer Telescopic Background Stand, for example, is a barebones frame with a wide surface area of 10 x 8 feet. This size is large enough to accommodate most photographic backdrops without taking up the whole studio. For a portable setup, LimoStudio’s Photo/Video Backdrop is a light-duty stand that offers a solid, stable base and a carrying bag for travel.
Q. How large should the stand be?
A. That depends on the size of the canvas itself. Most beginning photographers start with a 3 x 5 canvas that is large enough for single portraits. Since canvases go up to 20 feet in width, you will need something larger to cover the max.
Q. How much assembly is required to use a backdrop stand?
A. Most stands come together in a few different pieces. The actual vertical support stands will unfold at the base so you can position them. The horizontal bar will either extend out or come together as different sections. Once you attach the bar to the supports, you will be ready to attach a background canvas.
Q. Can I use any backdrop on a stand?
A. Nearly any canvas will do as long as the stand can support the size and weight. Some canvas materials like paper can tear easily, so you might need extra clamps to keep everything balanced on the frame.