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Bamboo backdrop stand

November 19th, 2008 · 10 Comments

The other day I saw this nice post at about a simple backdrop stand, and it made me think how I do this with bamboo.  Nothing bamboo specific about it I think, and in fact really not much to it at all.

Basically I leverage chairs , specifically any chair with straight legs (so no sofas or lazyboys or office spinners).  Why?  Because chairs are everywhere, and they tend to stay put — they are easy to weight down with a few books or you can even have someone sit on it.  So you it isn’t anything extra, it’s just using what you have.


  • Three bamboo poles — at least 6 foot long, dirt cheap where I am
  • A roll of 3M scotch bundling wrap — this is GREAT stuff, strong yet soft enough it doesn’t damage fabric it rubs against.
  • Couple of pieces of elastic cord tied in long loops — I carry some of these everywhere

And then the backdrop, I have a few meters of sheet material from a fabric shop which is almost completely white — and once it is blasted with enough light it is white.  For colour backdrops I just ad gels (to the flash).

Then I need to find two chairs — dining chairs are great though I also use some rattan arm chairs  — then put a bamboo pole upright next to leg of the chair and bind it top and bottom of the chair-leg with bits of velcro.  If the chair back has exposed poles you can bind to all the better for stability.   That gives me two uprights.

Now I take the third pole, stand on the chair to reach, and bind the horizontal pole to the upright with elastic cord giving me an “H” shape of poles.  It takes longer to write it down than to do it and it’s lightweight yet sturdy and all I have to carry about is three poles and the rest goes in my pocket.

I guess this is one up on the “clamp the sheet to a bookcase” in terms of flexibility of where you can put it, but is similarly basic.  But then that’s all you need really isn’t it?

Having said all that — I’ve lost interest in the idea of white backgrounds and really want to find more interesting textures out in the real world to be the backgrounds in my portraits.  But that’s another story.

Tags: Hardware       

10 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Sandi MacLeod // Nov 23, 2008 at 8:48 pm

    what a brilliant and cheap idea!!!!
    I love it.
    I too just use muslin I bought from the market, and then dye it colours. Like you said. White backdrops are starting to get boring. I am going to go for more groovey colours.
    Start a new trend.
    Well done!
    Thanks for saving me so much dosh!

  • 2 raymond // Nov 24, 2008 at 4:02 am

    Thanks Sandi! Actually I’m wondering about projecting patterns onto a backdrop by using coloured materials in front of the light that illuminates the backdrop. It would make exposure all the more difficult but still an interesting challenge!

  • 3 Adam Parker // Dec 9, 2008 at 3:30 am

    I followed that diyphotography post and got good results using PVC pipe, but the elastic cords and bamboo is a neat idea, thanks for sharing.

    Here are my PVC version stories:

  • 4 photography backdrop stand // Apr 4, 2012 at 12:38 pm

    what a great idea you shared . I think so nothing can be cheaper then bamboo for backdrop stand but you can consider photography backdrop stand

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