DIY Portable Background Stand & Portrait Photography Background Material for studio or location
DIY Portable Background Stand & Portrait Photography Background Material for studio or location

in this video I want to show you a simple easy to find an inexpensive material that makes a great portrait background and it’s available in loads of different colors stay tuned until the end and I’ll even show you how you can use it as a full length background in a pinch and also how to build a very inexpensive and portable background stand stay tuned hey gang everybody loves a bargain especially when you don’t have to sacrifice quality in the process I frequently visit my local fabric store looking for interesting fabrics or vinyls that I can wrap around a model to create something that looks like a cool outfit or even a hat I also get one of my favorite backgrounds at the local fabric store and this material is inexpensive enough that I can afford to own it in a bunch of different colors the material it’s called velour it only comes in 60-inch widths in other words a 5 foot or one and a half meter wide background you can buy it by the yard so generally when I purchase a new color I get three yards that’s 9 feet or just under 3 meters but if you want to be able to squeeze out the occasional full-length shot be sure to get 4 yards that’s 12 feet or just over three and a half meters it’s important to know that there are several different types of velour and often the names are different depending on the manufacturer so instead of telling you all the different names let me just explain that some velour is really smooth and has very little texture and other the war has a subtle texture to it that you can brush with your hand and see the tones change like you see here both of these options are okay depending on how you intend to use them if you’re able to separate your subject from the background and use depth of field to your advantage it doesn’t matter at all if the velour has a little texture if you’re in a very tight space and need to have your subjects sit right in front of the background you’ll see a hint of the texture some people will like this others will find it objectionable there is no right or wrong depending on the brand and the amount of texture velour routinely costs between $5 and $12 a yard I always look for sales so that I’m getting it between 5 and 6 bucks a yard that way my portrait background is costing less than $20 for a really nice and really versatile background I’ve included links in the description below to stores at where you can find great prices on the different types of the lure most of the stores have very accurate images to give you a sense of how much texture their version the material has and before I forget one of the best features about this material you can fold it up and it doesn’t wrinkle I keep mine folded like this and when I open it up it’s ready to go I don’t need to iron or steam it and if you get it a little dirty it’s machine washable in cold water in my home studio I have bars permanently mounted so that I can hang the velour quickly remember stay tuned and I’ll show you how you can make an inexpensive and very portable background stand for using the velour and even short paper background rolls I hang the material in three steps first using spring clamps I stretch it on the top bar with one clamp on each side then I have a piece of half-inch electrical conduit that weighs about five pounds that I clip at the bottom now you can see that the background still isn’t smooth the trick here is not to try and stretch it tighter you actually want to make it looser so the third step is simply go back to the top and I release one of the clamps to let the background slide down just a little until it’s smooth and then I wreak lamp it and it’s good to go if I’m going to do a full-length shot obviously I don’t want to see the pipe so I’ll go ahead and clamp the pipe behind the material like you see here and then just smooth out the rest of the velour on the floor in front since the material will slip and slide when somebody walks on it I usually tape it down with some gaffers tape or if you can’t afford gaffers tape duct tape will work just fine just don’t leave the tape on the material for days at a time because it will leave adhesive residue that won’t come off easily now in this series of photos I have my subject placed about 4 feet in front of the material and you can see how the different colors make great portrait backgrounds you can get this material in the standard white or black and gray and just about other color you want the lighting setup here is the DIY LED lighting kit that I built in this video now here’s where you can start to have some fun with this material if we place a stroke behind the material and then we aim it towards the subject we can get effects like these by varying the height and the power of the flash remember there is no right or wrong so experiment and practice to find the combination that you like the most but I’m not done there if you want to go a little old-school with your background you can hang the valeurs sideways and let it droop in the middle then if you add a strobe on the floor between the model and the background and then aim it up you get this type of effect again you should experiment you can light the material from the bottom the side the top the possibilities are almost endless now I did mention that you can use the floor for full-length shots in a pinch the challenge here is that since the material is only 5 feet wide you have to keep your subject fairly close to the background here’s an example of a 3/4 length shot also with those LED lights and here’s a full length shot on dark red velour if we add a strobe behind the material like I showed you with the portraits we can get looks like these ok I promised you an inexpensive and portable background holder that works great with this velour material I made this one from one-inch PVC piping for a total cost of about 25 dollars and less than one hour of build time I strongly recommend not using anything smaller than one-inch as your stand will become extremely flimsy and probably won’t stay upright with the weight of the material now if you don’t intend to take your stand on location moving up to one and a half inch pipe will make an extremely sturdy stand I got all of my parts at the local Home Depot and I’ve included a parts list in the description below if you’re nice to the employees at Home Depot they’ll do the cuts for you the PVC pipe comes in 10 foot lengths the key to this build is to make sure that none of the parts are longer than 38 inches or 1 meter so that the stand can easily be stored and carried in a duffel bag so I have 4 pieces that are 38 inches long to make the uprights of the stand six pieces of 36 inches to make the three cross bars of the stand two pieces at six inches to lift the bottom crossbar and four pieces at 18 inches to make the legs of the stand I also needed four caps for the legs three couplers for the cross bars two elbows for the top crossbar and six tees that’s the entire parts list for this stand I also bought six spring clamps while I was at Home Depot that I’ll keep in the bag and use for attaching the background material here I’ve highlighted the sections that I glued together so that I don’t have 31 separate pieces to assemble every time I want to use this this way there are only fourteen pieces that come out of the bag and they go together easily now I sped up the video but you can see the unit goes together with very little effort I assemble it laying down flat and then stand it up less than two minutes to assemble the stand and another minute to hang the backdrop notice that I attach the backdrop while the stand is laying down and then lift it upright and turn the legs to support the unit and when I’m done it all comes apart and fits in this 40 inch by 16 inch duffel bag that I got on sale for 20 bucks at so there you have it an inexpensive and durable material that you can use for portrait backgrounds and an easy to build and very portable background stand so get to work build your own stand by some vellore and get out there and practice because your best shot it’s your next shot so keep learning keep thinking and keep shooting adios thanks for watching if you find these videos helpful please give them a thumbs up and share them with your photography friends be sure to subscribe so you don’t miss a single episode and if you have a question that you would like answered post it in the comment section below your questions could be my next video

100 thoughts on “DIY Portable Background Stand & Portrait Photography Background Material for studio or location”

  1. Tom Cooper says:

    Have you ever tried using a gel when lighting the velour from behind? It would seem to me using a complementary color gel could create some interesting effects.

  2. Jim Fachini says:

    Another fabulous video, Joe. Your time, efforts, & willingness to share your knowledge is so very much appreciated. One additional tip for the background stand for heavier weight material; Using expanding spray foam to fill the two top bars significantly strengthens the bar & removes the flex from the bar without adding any appreciable weight to the build. Some foam will ooze out when the bars are filled, but it trims easily once dry. Thanks again!

  3. Jose Lara says:

    You are the man!

  4. Claire Sophia says:

    wow this is so helpful! I am going to make one now! 🙂

  5. Donna Triffitt says:

    I don't do portrait photographs but if I did you would be the 'go to person' I would use for any info I wanted.. I think you are brilliant x

  6. Alexander Hugestrand says:

    I was inspired by this video at first (and like others say, very entertaining and educational – a great video!), but when I looked at the cost of those pipes in my country (Sweden) I realised that the total cost of the stand would be about the same as a proper stand costs in the store. :-/

  7. Ryan Odneal says:

    Built mine today!

  8. bhartwigutube says:


    I built the stand yesterday… almost finished! I ought to have measured out the height for scale – it is way higher than I expected. It just fits once I get it in the living room. I mis-calculated the amount of pipe , so didn't get two sets of cross pipes. I may cut the second set to 24" to scale it down a bit when I buy my 4th length.

    It looks awesome – now just need some willing victims, I mean subjects…

    Thanks Joe!

  9. JoAnn Slaney says:

    Loving your videos!

  10. Robert Mullan says:

    Joe I'll bet the lighting and background vendors hate you. For a few dollars you show us how to get everything you need. If the average photographer walks around a trade show or opens a photo mag, he or she will convince themselves that they could never live without have the stuff they see. Keep posting your great videos – I for one really appreciate your effort

  11. B Skatez says:

    Thank you! Sharing is caring. 😘 I am so grateful for you dropping this knowledge. God Bless

  12. M Jones says:

    You remind me of Matthew Lesko.

  13. PhotoTrekr says:

    Great job. Wish I'd had all these tips when I was a beginning photographer.

  14. Lei Yu says:

    Thank you for the info on velour – sounds like a good material… will look in local stores to see how they look and pick up some when on sale.
    A question for you – instead of using spring loaded clips to hang it, have you tried to sew a rod pocket at the top of the material so that the cross bar can go into the pocket… wondering if that would make the material smoother with less wrinkles.

  15. brute910 says:

    Yes! I did it! I built your DIY background stand exactly to your specs and it turned out beautifully. Got 4 Yds of grey velour from Jo-Ann's and the duffel bag arrives today. Thank you so much Joe for really going the extra mile with the diagrams and links. I shot some portraits this past weekend and they really turned out nicely using gels and speedlight to light the background. I do have to watch like you say that i don't shoot wider than the background because it is a bit narrow. And thanks for approving my Facebook friend request. Joe R.

  16. Mae Layug says:

    This is so helpful Mr. Joe. Thank you so much for sharing! God bless! And more power!

  17. Don't put me in a box says:

    Great video! What size spring clamps are you using?

  18. K. Mill says:

    Great video! How many yards of velour to buy for full body shot?

  19. Carla Drozd says:

    What is size of the finished stand?

  20. Kevin Starks says:

    Hi Joe, when I go to Amazon via your link, It comes up with this for the material as the first option = 60'' Wide WinterFleece Velour Black Fabric By The Yard
    by Windham Fabrics
    $ 7 31
    FREE Shipping on eligible orders
    More Buying Choices
    $7.16new(3 offers)

    Is this what you are referring to as a good fabric that will not wrinkle? There are a gazillion fabrics that come up with your link so I am kinda confused on your recommendation. Thanks for your answer in advance and really love your channel. P.S. just heard your music being used on TV commercial named take me Guitar riff and all. Not sure if you owned it or???

  21. Tafsir Ahmed says:

    Man! You are awesome.

  22. Jj Benz says:

    Hes tremendous

  23. kharlie22 says:

    Loved this video!!! Best DIY backdrop video ever!! Fun to watch and very informative. Thanks for adding the pictures of the pipes. I was able to screenshot​ for reference. I'm definitely using the duffle bag idea too! This will be great when I start doing my parties for cake and desert tables!! Thanks for sharing!!

  24. Tzadeck says:

    This is really one of the best photography channels on YouTube.

  25. Candid Fresno films. says:

    I work at a material distributer. And we have tons of velour in stock. Now I want to use it for photography. Thank you so much for the idea.

  26. Marios Vasiliou says:


  27. Krys, Naturally! says:

    THANK YOU!!!

  28. John Howard says:


  29. Jim Koniar says:

    Hey Joel, how about video on Tripods and the Heads that you use.

  30. Tran Thai Binh says:

    Thank you Joe. I love you so much lol

  31. Scyfox says:

    Great videos. On a binge!!
    greets from Chile

  32. Greg Deverell says:

    Artificial Christmas Tree Bags Works well for storage and is cheap

  33. Marckymarc71 says:

    Great stuff Joe! You can also use the PVC frame in another very useful way: Remove the middle crossbar and you've got a silk frame!

  34. VOHEntertainment says:

    Nice 👍 @JoeEdelman!!

  35. Pat Christ says:

    Thank you for sharing this video with us.

  36. Craig Roy says:

    Hi Joe, would there be a difference between cotton and synthetic velour? Does it matter ?

  37. Rob Stockman says:

    Thanks for all the tips and ideas Joe.

  38. Jordan Gooch says:

    Just used your design for a smaller version for table top food photography and it works great! Thank you!

  39. Roman Geber says:

    Decided to give this a try, yet ran into a bit of a problem. The fabric came folded in the middle to save space. That however left a long vertical wrinkle going straight through the center. Other then ghat it's quite smooth. Any idea on how to get the wrinkle out of it? Hint: I don't own an iron let alone would know how to use it without setting the place on fire 😉

  40. Amineshoot says:

    Thank you so much

  41. Jozman says:

    Great, GREAT video!

  42. Connor Graceffa says:

    Joe Edelman
    I shoot people!

    …sounds about right

  43. PrettyLanisha says:

    What size spring clamps you used?

  44. cal88usa says:

    One of the best YouTube photography videos ever. Thanks for the awesome tips. Am buying som fabric. Keep up the great work. Have a great 2018.

  45. Jim Butler says:

    Thank you for all your guidance you are helping me become a better Photographer

  46. Vadim Om says:

    youre probably one of the most experienced and tallented phoographer on this youtube. with this video compleetely owned my respetct, showing that your talent spreads wider and further than just photo
    good luck and thank you

  47. Arquitecto Angeles says:

    Is it posible to seamless stitch two pieces for more wide background??

  48. Steve Spitler says:

    I am LOVING your channel. So much actual knowledge and how to.

  49. Mario Vizcaya says:

    This is so easy to follow and build my own stand!  Thank you Joe!!

  50. Xalaxander says:

    I'm really surprised that no one caught your Luke Skywalker quote

  51. Sana Imran says:

    thanks for sharing valuable ideas

  52. J S says:

    Great video Joe! I am going to utilize your DIY stand advice ASAP as I am in need of an additional stand. Thank you for the valuable insight!

  53. Vadim Om says:

    btw, how do they connect to each other? i have only met pipes that either have the same diameter or too loose and don't hold up together

  54. Monica Brock says:

    That model is beautiful!! Great video.

  55. Ahava Sarah Fischer says:

    Excellent videos 🙂 Thank you !

  56. Danielle Ardoin says:

    Hi, can this material be painted or draw on? Excellent video.

  57. salsa4u Moudrik says:

    hi nice video but why don t you use a support that you can but cheap on internet, isn t it faster to install?

  58. Roger Savry says:

    Great tips !!! Thanks !!!

  59. Ivan Pinto says:


  60. Paul Anthony says:

    I'm going to subscribe just because he puts so much energy into his work.

  61. giovannissimo says:

    Brilliant…I am grateful for your comments and recommendations

  62. zonoscopePictures says:

    Great video and kudos for including metric measurements !

  63. Reverend Rodinal says:

    Hi Joe.
    Many many thanks for posting this great idea. As is usually the case, my ideas outstrip the funds I need to make them reality and this stand is going to help immensely.

    ɐᴉlɐɹʇsn∀ ɯoɹɟ sɹǝǝɥƆ

  64. Jeff Cook says:

    Joe, you're awesome.

  65. Mathieu Del Papa says:

    I absolutely love your tie Joe! Great videos, they are very helpful

  66. Felipe Santander says:

    Could you give me the link of the bag you used to carry the pvc please

  67. Ben Panesar says:

    Excellent ideas on a budget this will be my weekend task. You've earned yourself a subscriber who will follow your Olympus tutorials Ben UK

  68. YourGirlVee says:

    Wow this was so informative! Thank you!

  69. Charlie the Parrotlet says:

    Thanks so much for this! I just built this according to your instructions.

    I'm finding it very hard to pull apart though.. Took over 10 minutes of pulling hard and had to use rubber gloves for grip.

    Any tips? Did you spray the tubes with something to help with that?


  70. Sam Biswas says:

    If I have to steal, i will steal your tie & shirtttt, instead of canera

  71. Allan Menard says:

    Working on this. Getting tired of hanging sheets from the ceiling. This is a great idea. Just need more money for the velour.

  72. Michelle Phillips says:

    I must try this! Thanks so much for posting this video!

  73. Carl Armstrong says:

    I wanted to get my wife a backdrop stand, but I didn't feel like paying for something I could probably make, so I looked up diy backdrops. This video came up.

    Not only did you show me a good design, but I ended up learning a little about photography. When my wife talks about it, I usually have no idea what she's talking about. I'm subscribing to you so I can better understand what my wife does.

    Thank you for this awesome video!

  74. moonbunny72 says:

    Hi Joe,
    Would this stand hold a 53” x 36’ roll of Savage seamless paper? I wonder how you would assemble it with such weight. The same way as the fabric, laying down and clipped? Would it stand up stable?

  75. Simone Seri says:

    Ehi Joe, tks a mil for sharing valuable and motivating content, you're my teacher for long now! I was wondering if a white velour background would be too shiny (I want it pure white)…what's your opinion?

  76. Ron Villarreal says:

    It doesn't matter how old these videos are, the tips are great. I have used velour as well. This video has inspired me to build my own portable backdrop stand. Stay tuned. And as always, thanks for sharing!

  77. Moonessence1 says:

    Thank you so much, great video, subscribing!

  78. Dreadnought Photo Werkz says:

    That was absolutely some really great advice. I promise you I have already been out buying material at Walmart in there section where they keep the sewing material and fabric. Now I will definitely go out and get some velour fabric. I already have a stand to use. Excellent advice thanks you so much.

  79. Sadie Holmes says:

    Loved the video but I have a question? Can I still use the same method DIY background stand for seemless paper as you did on Velour? Also should I get a heavier PVC pipe?

  80. Jürgen Kaßnitz says:

    keep things simple….that`s what I like…thanks a lot for sharing, Joe 🙂

  81. Straight says:

    Thanks for this but why not just use a green screen and change the background to whatever you want? I paid 8 pound for mine

  82. Just Basically Beautiful says:

    Excellent Video

  83. David Fenton says:

    Very informative, well presented and entertaining whilst providing good concise information.
    Exactly what I needed.
    Right I'm off to build myself one now. 🙂

  84. Nomonde Sadiki-Jele says:

    You are a hero for adding centimetres in the video 😨♥️

  85. André Adami says:

    My living room is 3.4m or slightly over 11ft in wide. Did you think the construction is stable enough, if I use 3 center pillars? Sorry for my bad english. Hopefully you understand my question 😂

  86. Christian MATEUS says:

    I like so much your Videos thanks. The only thing you could improve is maybe the final "Adios" jejeje..

  87. Karen Muehlfelt says:

    Joe thanks for this! Is it sturdy enough to hold a paper roll backdrop?

  88. Be A Living Miracle says:

    Thank you, Joe. I added three additional 20" lengths and 3 couplers for my 8' wide green screen. Your build plans were well-presented, and the frame was easy to build. For additional flatness, I was able to slide the top cross bar through the sleeve of the green screen material.

  89. wullie G says:


  90. Heidi Tweedell says:

    Wow. Total game changer for me!! No more expensive backdrops for me!!

  91. alwaysatthefair says:

    You are awesome man!!

  92. Angela Nakiyingi says:

    Thank you so much this video! So helpful

  93. Prime Lens says:

    So glad you gave us the measurements also in the metric system. 😉

  94. splitrock323 says:

    Genius. Thank you for the stand info.

  95. Krispyfort02 says:

    Looks like I have a new project. Thank you 🙂

  96. Ladyrella says:

    omg! this video just solved daysss of relentless research online! thanks so much!!

  97. Giovanni Abrate says:

    Nice and very useful! Thanks!

  98. Ashley Wingerter says:

    I'm a hairdresser and really want to make something like this to keep in the salon for photos. Do you think it would work if I took this design and made it smaller? I want something like 3×5 and haven't seen anything online. I want to be able to pop it up behind my styling chair to block out the rest of the salon from my photos

  99. metamurph says:

    you just need a link to a PDF diagram — I am more an architecture and landscape guy but want to up my people shooting game and am prepping to shoot a bunch of headshots for the ladies at church for the directory — your talk to the club was awesome, I have 9 more days of practice — the reality is I could use my phone but I want to make it "fun" so thanks again.

  100. jamie burnett says:

    Thank you

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