Tired of nailing the background or gluing it with glue — maybe already buy a normal mount? Jokes are jokes, but, especially before purchasing a new background, it is logical to think about how and on what you will hang it.
How to choose a mount for a photophone
When choosing a holder for a background, you should first of all proceed from where you are going to shoot with it. For a small home studio, location shooting and a professional photo studio, completely different holders and types of mounts are suitable. The size of the room, the portability of the equipment, and the shooting format itself are taken into account.
For small home studios
If you are limited in space and can only allocate a small part of the room for work, the choice of available options is significantly reduced. In such a situation, the best solution would be to buy a T‑stand. It takes its name from its ‘T’ shape: the holder’s design consists of a lightweight stand with a bar that mounts on top. The backdrop is attached to the top rail with clips.
The T‑stand will fit in the smallest room, weighs little and, if necessary, folds quickly enough. This is a portable option — you can easily move it around the room or take it with you on location. The main disadvantage is the low payload. Such holders usually withstand a background of no more than a kilogram — sheets of paper, light muslin and plastic backgrounds are suitable.
However, T‑stands are bought not only because of space constraints. If you only shoot waist-length portraits or have a “sit-down” video blog, that is, you simply don’t need large-format photophones, a T‑stand will be a very convenient option.
For example, on the Raylab BT2 T‑stand, you can attach a background 140 cm wide and 200 cm high — this is quite enough for a passport photo or selfie vlog. Lightweight aluminum stand with 1 kg load capacity, consisting of a tripod, an extendable central column and a two-part crossbar. Thanks to its affordable price, the stand can be a great start for your home studio.
For large home and professional photo studios
If you are not so limited in space (there is at least 3–4 meters of free space in width), then you can install a classic gate. They are mainly used for fabric backgrounds, but it is also possible to hang rolls with a paper background on the gate, although this is not very convenient. Different gates differ in size (width and height) and load capacity.
Lighter designs are well suited for home studios — such a stand is easy to move. They can withstand 3–4 kg, which is just enough for a regular muslin background. The most popular width (measured along the vertical bar) is 3 meters, the height may vary, but usually it is around 2.5 meters.
Before buying, it is important to measure the width of the room: the width of the rack is indicated only along the crossbar, but the folding legs also take up some space, so, for example, for a 3‑meter rack, you should have at least 330 cm of free space. The horizontal crossbar in light racks is collapsible and consists of several sections. In some models, not all sections can be used, resulting in a narrower rack.
Raylab B2530B gates can be adjusted in height (up to 2.5 meters), and their 3‑meter horizontal bar consists of three sections, but using only 2 sections will not work due to the fastening features. The model is lightweight and comes in a carrying bag, so you can take it with you on location if you wish.
In doors with a telescopic bar, you can freely adjust the width of the horizontal bar to suit your space and background — this is a more convenient and versatile solution, but the cost of such models is higher. The Raylab BS002 system with a telescopic bar can already support up to 7 kg, while remaining very light. The height of the racks in it is adjustable from 1.1 m to 2.6 m, and the width of the crossbar is from 1.3 to 3 m.
In professional photo studios, you can find even heavier stationary gates that can withstand up to 20 kg. Sometimes two si-stands with horizontal booms are used: in general, si-stands are usually used for lighting fixtures, but a two-post setup is also suitable for heavy backgrounds.
However, the gate is not very convenient when working with paper backgrounds. Usually the diameter of the tube is larger than the diameter of the crossbar, so the paper background will scroll. This problem is solved with the help of an end mount — it is installed on the gate, and a tube with a paper background is put on it. Make sure that the weight of the tube and the end holder does not exceed the maximum load capacity of the gate, otherwise they may fall or bend.
The Manfrotto 046MC Expan holder will fit backdrops with a tube ID of 46–78mm, a range that covers most standard sizes. A chain is used to adjust the background length. There are also gate models with an already installed end mount for paper backgrounds.
Only one background can be attached to the listed options (except for heavy gates) — it will not be possible to quickly replace it during shooting. There is a solution to this problem that will work for both home and professional studios. With the help of wall and ceiling mounts, you can use several backgrounds at once, choosing the right one right during the photo shoot.
These are stationary systems, so before installation, you need to think through all the nuances of the location in advance. However, after installation, this will be the most convenient and reliable option — you can easily adjust the required background length, while the design can withstand serious loads.
The Raylab BS-S3 lifting system is wall mounted and can be used with 3 paper backgrounds in parallel. The paper does not twist or wrinkle when lifted, and no special skills are needed to assemble and install such a system. Even more backgrounds are attached to the FST ST-B6 wall-ceiling system — six in total.
For outdoor photo shoots
If you plan to take your background with you, the best option is a spring backdrop that can be attached to a reflector holder on a tripod or leaned against some kind of support. Such a system is compact and easy to transport and install, but, unfortunately, you won’t be able to change the background color at your own discretion — it is usually built into the design. This background, by the way, is quite suitable for a small home studio.
For outdoor shooting, you can take light gates with you, especially if there is a bag for transportation in the kit. The disadvantage of this option is not too fast installation.
What else might be useful
In addition to the stand itself and the background, you may need additional accessories that will make your life much easier. Special clips are convenient for temporarily fixing the background, stretching the surface of the fabric background in width, and for paper, they can be used as a weight so that the roll does not curl.
Another useful accessory is teip (adhesive tape). It can be used to quickly repair a torn backdrop, glue the rolled edge of a paper backdrop to the floor, or attach a gel filter to a background light. The advantage of tape over ordinary tape is that it practically does not leave marks on the surface and does not spoil the background material.
- When choosing mounts for a photophone, you must first of all focus on the room in which you will be shooting, and then on the background material.
- If you are very limited in space, a T‑stand with a plastic background or a background on a spring is best.
- In larger home or professional studios, gates can be installed. They are good for fabric backdrops, and for use with a paper background in a tube, it is better to install an additional end mount (check that the gate can support the total weight of the system).
- If you want to use several backgrounds at once, then a ceiling or wall mounting system, on which you can hang several paper tubes at once, would be a logical option.
- For outdoor sessions, backdrops on a spring (complete with a holder for a reflector on a tripod) and lightweight collapsible gates are suitable.
A beautiful and at the same time functional backdrop, as well as a secure mount for it, is an important investment in your photography future!