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Best backdrops for photography in 2021: collapsible and portable backgrounds

Best backdrops for photography
(Image credit: Adam Waring / Digital Camera World)

If you shoot portraiture, the best backdrops for photography are absolutely indispensable. They enable you to quickly create a clean or artistic background against which to shoot your subject – and many are easily portable and collapsible, so they can be transported from location to location with minimal stress and fuss. 

Videographers and still-life photographers will also find many uses for the best backdrops for photography, as the ability to transform any location (or even your own front room) into a shooting space can be invaluable.

There are lots of different types of backdrops designed for different types of users, whether they prefer to work in the studio or head out on location to make use of natural light. And there are are specialist options for specialist work, too – if you employ chroma key in your images or video, for example, you'll want to look at the best green screen backgrounds

Some backdrops are freestanding, meaning you can erect them anywhere there's a reasonably flat surface. Others will require a dedicated stand, usually made of metal, which is sometimes included in the kit and sometimes not, so it's always worth double-checking before you click "Buy". 

Others, meanwhile, are a little more versatile, and can be hung on a standard curtain rail, which allows you to transform a room in your home into a DIY studio. This is really useful if you're just starting out and don't have the budget yet for your own studio space. Whatever you need, we should have a photographic backdrop for you. So, let's take a look at the list!

Best backdrops for photography

(Image credit: Manfrotto)

1. Lastolite by Manfrotto LL LB56GW

Best all-purpose backdrop for photography

Specifications
Size(s): 1.5 x 1.8m
Color(s): White/Mid Grey, Black/Mid Grey
Material: Fabric
Reasons to buy
+Collapsible backdrop+Easy to transport+Double-sided
Reasons to avoid
-Only one size-Expensive

Photographic backdrops can be big, cumbersome things, and that’s what’s so ideal about this Lastolite model – it’s collapsible, and can easily be folded away and transported to your shooting location. The steel frames are securely stitched in place for durability and longevity, and the backdrop is two-sided, giving you multiple options in a pinch (choose from the white/grey version or black/grey version. Made from good-quality fabrics in neutral colors, this is an ideal backdrop for getting the shot in the can quickly and simply, whether you’re shooting portraits, headshots or whatever else. 

(Image credit: Neewer)

2. Neewer 6 x 9ft Photo Studio

Best cheap backdrop for photography

Specifications
Size(s): 1.8 x 2.8m
Color(s): White, Blue, Grey, Green, Black
Material: Muslin
Reasons to buy
+Very affordable+Well-made muslin fabric+Available in a variety of colors
Reasons to avoid
-Requires stand-Ironing requires care

If you don’t want to spend too much on a backdrop, Neewer’s straightforward photo studio is a solid bet. You’ll need your own stands or a rod on which to hang it, but once that’s sorted you’ll have a solid, well-made neutral background. Choose from a wide range of colors to get the look you’re going for – and it’s cheap enough that you can buy a few and have them on hand for creating different looks at a moment’s notice. Be aware that while you can iron out creases if they do appear, the manufacturer advises caution, and using a steam iron not a dry iron to avoid damage.

(Image credit: Lastolite)

3. Lastolite EzyFrame Vintage Background

Best for taking on location, this sets up and packs down fast

Specifications
Size(s): 2 x 2.3m
Color(s): Olive, Concrete, Tobacco, Smoke
Material: Muslin
Reasons to buy
+Large backdrop surface+Easily portable
Reasons to avoid
-Expensive-Relatively few colours

Available in a kit with a frame and easy carrying case, the Lastolite EzyFrame Vintage Background is the perfect choice for the photographer who wants something they can carry around and set up with minimal fuss and bother. Its generous surface area of 2x2.3m means you can really squeeze a lot of subjects in there, so it's ideal for photographing large family groups, even those with kids who like to take up plenty of space and want some props to play with. Getting the kit definitely isn't cheap, and there are much more affordable options on this list, so bear that in mind. The kit is available in Olive, Tobacco, Concrete and Smoke, four colours that could also be described as Brown, Brown, Grey and Grey, so you aren't getting a lot of variety. But for portability, convenience and space, this is a terrific choice.

(Image credit: KateHome)

4. KateHome PHOTOSTUDIOS Abstract Photo Background

Best backdrop for newborn photography

Specifications
Size(s): 1.5 x 2.2m
Color(s): Black, Red, Yellow, Grey, Blue, Textured Grey, Textured Black, Illustrated
Material: Microfibre
Reasons to buy
+Machine/hand washable+Huge choice of looks & colors
Reasons to avoid
-Requires stand

Whatever kind of look you want for your newborn photography, it’s worth having a look at the impressive range of backdrops from KateHome. These microfibre fabric backdrops can be ordered in a generous range of colors, from darker textured looks to something lighter, or even a stylish illustrated look if you want something really different. The fabrics can be washed in a machine or by hand and then are easy to iron, so you can keep them clean and ready for the next job.

Best backdrops for photography: collapsible backgrounds for the home studio

(Image credit: Fovitec)

5. Fovitec Collapsible Backdrop

Best backdrop for headshots

Specifications
Size(s): 1.5 x 2m
Color(s): Black/White, Grey, Grey/Blue, Green/Blue
Material: Muslin
Reasons to buy
+Fully collapsible and transportable+Double sided+Quick to set up
Reasons to avoid
-Stand sold separately

Thanks to its highly portable nature and its rigid steel frame that stops it moving in the wind, the Fovitec Collapsible Backdrop is a perfect take-anywhere backdrop and is therefore ideal for quick headshots. No matter where you are, you can quickly use the Fovitec backdrop to get the shot in the can, and it also comes in several double-sided variants, so you can pick and choose which combination of colors you want to have at your disposal. The material is soft but strong, and the steel lining in the frame gives the backdrop its structure and tautness.

(Image credit: Kate Backdrop)

6. Kate 5 x 6.5ft Collapsible Backdrop Blue / Brown

Best backdrop for "old master" portraiture on the move

Specifications
Size(s): 5 x 6.5ft / 1.2 x 2m
Color(s): Textured blue / brown
Material: Microfiber
Reasons to buy
+Tall enough for portraits & three-quarters+Can be used vertically and horizontally+Two useful colors / patterns
Reasons to avoid
-No stand

If you're looking to take more artistic portraiture in the vein of the old masters, this double-sided background from Kate Backdrop is perfect. Its massive 5 x 6.5ft / 1.5 x 2m size means that you can use it for headshots, three-quarters and almost full-length portraits, on either the "old master" textured brown side or the more contemporary textured blue, making this very creatively versatile. It packs down, like a reflector, into a small carry pouch (though mastering this takes a bit of skill and patience!) for easy transport and storage. It doesn't come with a stand, but is so large that you can get away with leaning it against a wall – and thankfully the high-quality microfiber doesn't produce awful light reflections. 

(Image credit: Manfrotto)

7. Lastolite Panoramic Background (LL LB7623)

Best backdrop for group shots

Specifications
Size(s): 4 x 2.8m
Color(s): White, Chromakey Green
Material: Fabric
Reasons to buy
+Generous size+Great for photographing large groups+Self-standing
Reasons to avoid
-A little unwieldy-Limited color options

With 4m of width, the Panoramic Background Cover from Lastolite more than lives up to its name. If you’re planning on photographing families, sports teams or other larger groups, this will ensure you can keep everyone in the frame without any undesirable background elements poking into the frame – and what’s more, the background is self-standing, so no need to buy an extra frame or set of stands. It’s available in plain white or in Chromakey green, for those who like to add in their own backgrounds digitally.

(Image credit: LYWYGG)

8. LYWYGG Thin Vinyl Backdrop

Experiment with a stylish wood-look for your backdrop

Specifications
Size(s): 1.5 x 2.1m, 2.1 x 1.5m, 3 x 3m
Color(s): Grey Wood, Light Grey Wood, Brown Wood, Hardwood, Nostalgia Wood Floor, Brick Wall, Brick Wall/Wood Floor, Wood Wall
Material: Vinyl
Reasons to buy
+Lots of looks available+Durable and lightweight
Reasons to avoid
-Looks poor up close-Stand sold separately

Give your images a rustic look with the range of floor- and wall-style backdrops from LYWYGG. With various different wood and brick looks to choose from, the range is ideal for party or family photography, and the thin vinyl the backdrops are constructed from is seamless and wrinkle-free – be aware though that the print doesn’t stand up to super-close scrutiny and can look a little pixelated when zoomed in, so this isn’t one for product photography or anything else where you’re likely to be very close to the backdrop. For parties and group shots though, it’s ideal.

You will also need a background stand, such as the Neewer backdrop support system

(Image credit: LYWYGG)

9. LYWYGG Patterned Backdrop

Best patterned backdrop. Great for parties, in a wide range of designs

Specifications
Size(s): 1.5 x 2.1m, 2.1 x 1.5m, 2.4 x 2.4m, 3 x 3m
Color(s): Rose Flowers, Lilac, Flower Wall, White Flower Wall, Flower Unicorn, Green Leaves, Custom
Material: Vinyl
Reasons to buy
+Custom patterns available+Range of sizes
Reasons to avoid
-Stand sold separately

If you’d like to set up a photobooth at a party or something similar, one of the patterned backdrops from LYWYGG is a great and inexpensive way to do so. There’s a huge choice of preset patterns in different themes and colors, and you can also create a custom look with an image of your choosing simply by getting in touch with the company. It’s made from the same thin vinyl as the wood-look backdrops, meaning it’s wrinkle-free, reflection-free and easy to fold up and transport to your shooting location.

You will need to buy a background stand…

(Image credit: Neewer )

10. Neewer Chromakey Backdrop 2-in-1 Collapsible

The best background for green screen / chroma key

Specifications
Dimensions: 5 ft x 6 ft 6 in / 1.5 x 2m
Collapsible: Yes
Colors: Green, blue
Stand included: No (has mounting loops)
Reasons to buy
+Pop-up, portable backdrop+2-in-1 green and blue screen+Large enough for two people
Reasons to avoid
-No stand (but can be used without)

Can't decide which background you want? Then get a green screen and you can add in any scene digitally, using the magic of chroma key (aka "green screen" or "blue screen"). Neewer's 2-in-1 collapsible option can be packed down, taken and used anywhere. Just like a reflector it folds into a compact carry case, ready to pop up when you need to shoot. It doesn't come with a stand, but the mounting loops (horizontal and vertical) can be affixed to your own stands or can even be hung from walls. It's large enough to fit two people for interviews or co-presenting, and it's reversible with a blue screen option – which can be useful, depending on your software and the subject's wardrobe!

Best green screen backgrounds

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