There are always occasions when you need to position a subject against a desired background, whether that be a simple muslin cloth or a green screen. To ensure that your backdrop looks clean, uniform, and genuine, you should hang it up using a drop stand, which generally consists of a crossbar and two anchor legs. These frames are typically adjustable, so you can set them up to the proper dimensions, but not every model is built equally. Some frames can be quite flimsy and require additional support (sandbags are commonly used), but a top-quality one will stand on its own. Our picks will help you find the best one for your studio or location.
1. Savage Port-A-Stand Background Support
Savage’s aluminum stand checks off all the boxes for a top-quality stand: It’s strong, easy to assemble, adjustable, and will hold up for years. Designed to support up to 25 pounds, it can be extended to a height of nine feet, seven inches, and the crossbar can stretch any length up to ten feet, seven inches wide. Twist-and-lock mechanisms add reinforcements, and the tripod legs have a large footprint for added stability. You won’t have to add extra anchors, unless you’re using it at the tallest height and draping heavy materials. Plus, it’s easy to travel with, as all the parts disassemble to fit into a carry bag.
2. Emart Backdrop Support System Kit
Although less customizable and hard-wearing than Savage’s stand, Emart’s product presents a more economical option. It comes with a few accessories to help you set up the most secure backdrop possible, including spring clamps, a travel bag, and two sandbags, if you need extra support. The stand itself is made of an aluminum alloy and features two crossbar pieces that allow you to choose from sixth widths between five feet and ten feet. You can also adjust the height between 2.6 feet and seven feet—just the right size for full-length portraits.
3. Kshioe Adjustable Backdrop Support System
Kshioe’s stand is not the sturdiest stand you can buy, but for its price, it offers pretty good support and versatility. You can adjust the aluminum alloy frame to a height between 2.7 feet and 6.5 feet, but the width is a bit more limiting, as you reduce or add length—with a range of 4.5 feet and 9.8 feet—by taking away or adding sections. The components are very light, which is convenient for packing up and carrying, but once assembled, they will be able to support only lighter materials, like paper and canvas.
4. Westcott X-Drop Backdrop Kit
If you primarily shoot individual portraits, we recommend Westcott’s model, which allows you to set up a compact photo studio in less than a minute. Made of a heavy-duty aluminum, the telescopic beams open to form an X-shaped frame, which has grommets for attaching a backdrop up to five feet by seven feet large. We also like that this is an incredibly lightweight accessory, weighing less than three pounds, and it can be folded to fit into a carry bag. It does feel a little flimsy, but as long as you set it up properly, it should serve you well.
5. Impact Pro Backdrop Support Kit
Impact’s model offers a winning combination of stability, ease of use, build quality, and adaptability. It is pricey, but it can take heavy use and support heavy materials without sagging or the need for sandbags. It can go tall and wide smoothly and quickly, featuring a telescopic crossbar that can hold close to a 13-foot-wide backdrop and side stands that can extend up to 13.5 feet tall—offering the greatest height out of all our picks. The legs also have extra-wide bases to further anchor the frame. Adjusting it to your ideal size is also frustration-free, thanks to easy-to-turn knobs that loosen and tighten each part.