DIY: Studio Backdrop Stand with PVC Pipes for $20

When I was asked to put together a white background for an indoor winter photo session for my first ever and longest client, I was a bit nervous, but I was going to rise to her request!

I usually shoot newborn portraits indoors, and other portraits outdoors (aside from my own personal shoots). When it comes to backdrops, I’ve used them often with newborns, but easily draping them over furniture to set them up. This was new, and I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do. Spend hundreds on a metal kit, sandbags, etc.? I wasn’t sure how often I’d use it, so I didn’t want to go down that route just yet. I do however wish I came across this idea years ago, because it’s totally going to improve my newborn photography setup now.

DIY Backdrop Stand out of PVC Pipes for $20

I used PVC pipes because they are lightweight and easily taken apart to travel. They are also relatively inexpensive and allowed us to build to the specifications we wanted (and allow for future expansion).

The total size is 5 feet high by 5 feet wide. This is enough for children, or sitting adults.

We purchased two 10 foot pvc pipes at 1 1/2″ diameter. Larger diameters seemed a bit much, but the thinner wouldn’t have held my heavy white blanket.

For the base, we purchased 4 2ft pieces and cut them to size.

The joining pieces are elbows and T pieces, and we bought the finishing end caps for the base.

I also bought 2 heavy duty clamps ($2 each) to use to clip my blankets or any fabrics to the backdrop and they worked like a charm.

I can make this stand 5 feet wide by 5 feet high, or I can move the poles around and go with a thinner width at 3 feet and 5 feet high, etc. I also wanted the central bar to be able to make it smaller for a newborn session, as I don’t need 5 ft tall for those sessions.

It is rather sturdy. Chris used pipe sealant on the base parts to make it solid, but the rest of the pieces are able to come apart. You can always use sandbags to hold it down if you’re using heavier backdrops. I also liked that it was lightweight, as if it were to come down on someone, it would not hurt like a metal stand and need all the extra baggage to keep it in place.

The T joining pieces – all come apart.

The elbow pieces.

And when taken apart, this is how I store and travel with it. I can take apart the sides even more, but that wasn’t needed in order to fit into my car.

This project was quite fun to pick out the pieces and put together. I already have ideas for future sessions using it, with my own children, as well as with Chris and clients. Chris plans to use it as a backdrop when he does video podcasting, and I may look into other backdrop types or fabrics for something fun. I no longer need white walls in my house, as this can go anywhere the light is best!

I’m all about keeping things simple, mobile, and safe. This did just the job!

If you have any questions, please contact me and I will do my best to help you get setup.

– kate –

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