DIY Photography Backdrop




About: My name is Randy and I am a Community Manager in these here parts. In a previous life I had founded and run the Instructables Design Studio (RIP) @ Autodesk's Pier 9 Technology Center. I'm also the author ...

This is an easy removable table-mounted photography backdrop that can be built in roughly five minutes. This came about when it was suggested that my previous ceiling mounted backdrop rig was an eyesore and an impediment to office productivity. To comply with new office-wide zoning standards, I had to create a new rig that was not ceiling mounted, contained within my workspace, and that rose no more than three feet above the surface of my workbench. My own personal guidelines was that it had to attach firmly to my workbench and that it had to be removable.  This solution not only meets everyone's needs, but was quick and painless. I am also particularly fond of the pipe clamp supports, which when not in use as supports for the backdrop can double as - you guessed it - pipe clamps.

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Step 1: Go Get Stuff

You will need:

(x2) 1/2" x 30" pipes
(x2) Pipe clamp assemblies
(x4) 2" x 2" cork pads
(x2) 1" inner diameter copper L-brackets
(x1) 1" diameter shower curtain rod cut to width of desk
(x1) Roll of photo backdrop paper

Step 2: Pipe Clamps

Put together your two pipe clamps as instructed on their packaging.

Step 3: Clamp

Place a piece of cork on the top and bottom of the back corner of the desktop as padding. Clamp the pipe clamp to the back corner of the desk (pipe sticking upwards) where the cork is. Repeat on the opposite corner.

Step 4: Trim (optional)

If your roll of photo paper is longer than the length of your worktable, trim it to length using a chop saw.

Step 5: Put It All Together

Place an L-bracket onto one end of the shower curtain rod. Pass the other end of the rod through the center of the roll of paper. Attach the other L bracket to the other end of the shower rod.

Place the open ends of the L-brackets onto the ends of each of the pipes. Your photography background setup is now complete. You can disassemble and reassemble this at your leisure.



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    13 Discussions


    4 years ago on Introduction

    I made one similar but instead of upright pipes I hung my background roll from my drop ceiling with two hooks. Also, I used curtain blackout liner that I got cheap from a fabric store. It works well! Thanks for the post!!


    7 years ago on Introduction

    I hope to build a similar one soon! Thanks for the instructable!

    iApple guy

    7 years ago on Introduction

    Is this what you use to make the photos in your instructables?


    8 years ago on Introduction

    Excellent. I've been waiting for someone like you or Angryredhead to do an Instructable like this about how you get your great shots. Got anything to add about light other than "lots"?

    1 reply

    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    If you were to stand directly in front of this setup and look up, there is a very big skylight. Depending on the time of year, depends on optimal hours for photography. Summer gives me the most working time, but it's usually later in the afternoon. Winters hours are very short and best in early morning. The table is on wheels, so I can rotate the whole thing (now that it is not ceiling mounted) to account for the angle of the light.

    None of that is probably particularly helpful to you.

    We have some photo lights, but they are currently using tungsten bulbs. One of these days I need to figure out a "natural" lighting setup. San Francisco isn't exactly known for sunny days.


    8 years ago on Introduction

    Awesome! I love photography, and this will be something that I need to make!


    8 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks for sharing! I love your work space. I need a craft room this big!