Picture of Easy Workbench Photo Backdrop
Say you make all kinds of things at your workbench and you have a need for taking high quality photos of everything that you do, well then you're in need of an easy workbench photo backdrop!  This backdrop costs very little money (as photo backdrops go), is industrial strength due to it's heavy duty spring clamps and cast iron pipe hanging rod, and will improve the quality of your photos immensely!  I'm really happy with how it's improved my photos, even though it's only using simple fluorescent lights fixtures as a main light source.

This project, among other things, was inspired by Randofo.
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Step 1: Tools and materials

Picture of Tools and materials
The backdrop is constructed from:
To install it you simply need a drill, screws and some cleaner to wipe the pipe down with.

The lights are technically not part of the backdrop, but they are just simple 4' x 2 bulb fluorescent fixtures.  The bulbs are 32 Watt Cool White (4100K) tubes.  I prefer the 4100k to the 5000k color temperature.  For some reason the 5000k light is very very sterile and bright white.  A little yellow actually softens things just a bit.

Step 2: The backdrop

Picture of The backdrop
The backdrop is simply a roll of paper that's being sold as a photo backdrop.  If you can find a roll of heavy bond printer paper for large format printers you might be able to save some money since the roll will be much much longer and probably sell for the same price.  But, the photography store had this stock, so I just went for it.  

Step 3: Assemble cast iron pipe

Picture of Assemble cast iron pipe
Assemble the elbows onto the long piece of pipe.  Attach the 6" nipples, and then finally, screw on the flanges.  Making things hand tight is fine.

Step 4: Wipe off oil finish with alcohol

Picture of Wipe off oil finish with alcohol
Use denatured alcohol to take the oil finish off of the pipe.  Otherwise, you'll touch the pipe, then touch the backdrop, and then ruin your nice white paper with your oily fingerprints.  
e-Killer2 years ago
I would do the same, thanks for the idea ;)
Jayefuu2 years ago
I still have massive toolshop envy. Your space was amazing.
Nice job Noah, I have a home-made backdrop setup in my shop. I'd suggest adding some white fabric or plastic (like the cheap kind you get at a party supply store to cover picnic tables) below the lights for a filter. It softens the light and makes sure your images aren't too "hot." I use soft fluorescent bulbs in aluminum can work lights with a clamp so they are easy to reposition and I added plastic shower caps over them for a filter. The fluorescents and aluminum don't get hot enough to melt the plastic.
noahw (author)  christyoates2 years ago
That's a great idea for diffusers - thanks for the tip!
TRex2 years ago
Nice! If I would have enough space for a workbench, I would totally build this.