Background Stands for Fabrics- Choices
Background stands for fabrics have been around since the early days of photography, but have certainly have developed into different forms as years passed. Most have advantages and disadvantages and depending upon what your purpose may be you may choose more than one style.
- Advantage: If you have a permanent studio, this is a real time saver especially if you have a signature backdrop. You may rarely have to worry about folds or wrinkles and you may even have your signature lighting ready to go. Any fabric you can imagine can be used.
- Disadvantage: It takes up wall space and depending upon how you have it mounted, it may take significant effort to replace it with another backdrop. If you rent studio space, clients may not choose to use that style.
Traditional Tripod overhead bar (Pictured above):
- Advantage: Available in a variety of sizes and frame strengths. Mobile and can support a wide range of backdrops from simple light weight fabrics to more heavy weight canvas backdrops. Certain the most versatile of the support stands. Almost any fabric you can imagine can be used. Fairly portable when carried in its bag.
- Disadvantage: May be time consuming to erect and awkward to work with raising one side and then the other to assure that the backdrop is level. The tripod feet can take up quite a bit of space and may interfere with the base of the backdrop (Although different bases are available on some models). Folds and creases are common in fabric, and may need to be steamed out.
Pop up Support Stands:
- Advantage: Often very quick to setup and relatively easy to use. Single support leg which can be a space saver in tight quarters. Some models allow for portrait or horizontal orientation. Fairly portable when carried in its bag. Most useful for head and shoulder shots. The fabric is often wrinkle free and held taught by the extension arms.
- Disadvantage: Limited to a 5 ft x 7" in most cases. The fabric must have pockets to accept the extension rods to choice of fabrics are very limited. When photographing people, the choice of poses are limited by the size of the backdrop.
- Advantage: Often quick to set up any many are reversible so that a different color or pattern appear on either side of the backdrop. Most useful for head and shoulder or 3/4 shots. This does not necessarily need a support stand if placed against a wall. Fairly portable though less so than some other stands. Fabric is wrinkle free and held taught by spring frame.
- Disadvantage: Can be tricky to fold back into circular shape in tight quarters. Limited to 5 ft x 7 ft. Fabric is mounted to spring frame so it is not interchangeable with another fabric.
- Advantage: Often very quick to set up and a variety of light weight fabrics may be used. Very portable and travels well. Single central support so may be a space saver in tight quarters
- Disadvantage: Lacks side supports for fabrics, so choice most useful for fabrics that drape well without creases. Limited to 5 ft x 7 ft fabrics. Fabric not as stable in position as some other stand models.
None of the above stands are particularly useful outdoors since even a mild wind will topple them to the ground. Even though it may be the most time consuming to setup, the overhead bar stand is by far the most versatile. The other stands may be a good choice if you have very limited space and need to set up and take down quickly and are looking to shoot head and shoulder or 3/4 images. All styles can be found readily on Amazon.com.