Create Custom Photo Backdrop Backers for Easy Hanging

Nov 20, 2013

Create Custom Photo Backdrop Backers for Easy Hanging

For the past year, Joy and I have been putting together a small collection of photo backdrops for indoor portrait work. While backdrops are extremely convenient for changing the scene of a photo while indoors, unless you have a proper setup they can be difficult to work with. Over the weekend, I put together a small lifehack to make handling backdrops easier.

This is how we used to hang our backdrops:

Taping and clipping a backdrop to bar.

It would require two people to lift the backdrop, tape it, clip it, and ideally a third person to make sure it was level while doing all of that. While not terrible, it was definitely not the ideal experience to get a drop ready; and it was even worse if you had to do a switch half-way through a shoot.

Over the weekend, I got an idea to make it easier. By taking an old shower curtain, specifically the eyelets at the top meant for shower hooks, and attaching them to the back of a backdrop, we could essentially hang our drops like a curtain!

Shower Curtain

Cut out the eyelets from the shower curtain, giving about an inch on each side and approximately one inch underneath. You can then tape these directly to the back of your backdrop, leaving a flap exposed to the front. I use Gaffers Tape for all of my photography needs (if you don't have a roll, get a few!).

Shower eyelet from the back, taped in place.

To keep things consistent, I recommend lining the lip of your curtain to rest on top of the backdrop. From the front, you should have something like this:

Shower eyelet from the front, not taped yet.

For extra support, and to ensure that the new tab doesn't rip off the back, cover the front with a piece of tape and wrap it over the tab. You can then punch a hole to re-expose the eyelet.

Shower eyelet from the front, taped over for support.

If you have a large backdrop (e.g. a 5' x 7' drop), you may want to consider making some extra tabs in the middle. I made mine without the eyelets to let me tape directly to my bar:

Large backdrop tab before taping to bar

Here's the drop hanging with our new hangers:

Single backdrop mounted in place using our new method.

A few things to note about our hanging style:

  • We still place a clip through the shower curtain loops to keep the backdrop taught and prevent waving.
  • As this is a large drop, you can see I have a middle tab taped to the bar for extra stability and to also prevent waving.
  • While not required, having the bottom support helps stabilize this drop.

Our new hanging style also gives us the ability to layer our drops; very beneficial when we have a shoot that will use multiple:

Multiple backdrop friendly; just put over each other.

And of course, these are still roll-up friendly when you want to store the drops:

Still roll friendly!

Some samples taken with our new setup:

[smugmug-gallery albumId="33587844" albumKey="KjLKt3" width="646" height="646" /]

I hope you find this as useful as we did!