A key tool of studio photography: a reliable, clean backdrop. You could invest in a full-size drop stand, which consists of a metal frame to hang your drop material, but some artists might prefer the economy and convenience of a collapsible backdrop. These are flat, flexible panels that can be hung or mounted behind a subject, then folded for storage when you’re done. While they do not offer as much space as a large muslin backdrop, they can be very efficient for individual or small-group portraiture, especially for photographers often on the move. Find the best option for your practice in our top picks below.
1. Impact Collapsible Background
Impact’s five-foot by seven-foot background offers size as well as flexibility on many levels. It’s reversible, quick to set up, and can be easily oriented for portrait or landscape images. Made of high-quality cotton, the fabric has a satisfying feel and is designed to offer a true black and a true white surface, both of which retain tight tension when open. You’ll find that three sides of this oval-shaped background each have two attached tabs, which allows you to hang it long or wide. This background is also sturdy enough to support itself when leaned against a wall, but you can also mount it on a stand. Plus, it folds down into a 28-inch disc for convenient storage.
2. Fovitec Pop-Up Collapsible Backdrop
Fovitec’s backdrop is a close runner-up and less expensive than our top pick. Just half an inch shorter than Impact’s backdrop, this one is also double-sided and folds easily into a medium-sized disc. It has just one Velcro loop, however, to mount it for portrait-oriented images, but you can always use clips to hang it horizontally. The surfaces are smooth once unfolded, but they are not completely opaque, so this backdrop is best used indoors without a light source behind it.
3. Fotocreat Pop-Up Collapsible Backdrop
If you aren’t ready to invest in a pricey backdrop, Fotocreat’s economical pick will do just fine. This reversible backdrop is opaque and features loops to hang it in both directions, and it folds up for storage and transportation. The material does wrinkle more easily than higher-grade backdrops, but you can steam the surface to eliminate them. The frame is also challenging to collapse, but with practice your hands will gradually learn the right steps.
4. Kate Collapsible Backdrop
If you’re looking for a backdrop that has a design, we like the models produced by Kate, which are beautifully printed in a variety of patterns. The high-resolution designs appear natural and sophisticated on microfiber fabric that resists wrinkling, and you can also order a custom pattern. The springy metal frame is very durable, quick and easy to fold, and finished with two tabs to hang the backdrop vertically or horizontally.
5. Savage Collapsible Backdrop
Lightweight, clean, and satisfyingly springy, Savage’s backdrops are worth every penny. Made of 100% cotton, the surfaces provide firm, totally flat, and shine-free backgrounds. Yet, the frame requires little pressure to bend into a third of its size for storage in the included bag. And it pops open when you’re ready to use it, unfolding wrinkle-free every time. Each is finished with strong fasteners to hang it for use horizontally, vertically, or on a frame.