Setting Up A Portrait Studio

Putting together a basic portrait studio is a lot less intimidating then it sounds. Any large room in your home with at least 12 foot ceiling and 12-15 square feet of floor space is sufficient. Renting a warehouse or studio would be better if there is income to offset the additional expenses.

Getting a good backdrop is absolutely critical and will give the photos a professional look. I’ve tried using white walls and neutral backgrounds but there’s just no faking it. Colorama is the industry standard for backdrop paper. I choose the trendy Artic White for that Apple commercial look.


To support the backdrop the Manfrotto Backdrop System is a good balance between portability and sturdiness. The kit consists of a telescopic pole that spans two stands. It’s quite ingenious because the stands snap together for storage and transport. The System comes in a compact black bag that is no bigger than a large tripod bag.

The first step is to place the two stands (at their lowest height) nine feet apart. After extending the telescopic pole to its fullest extent it is passed through the carton tube of the backdrop paper roll. The two ends of the telescopic pole are placed on top of the two stands and fastened in place. Once everything is securely in place the stands are extended upwards segment by segment alternating between the left and right side so that they go up in tandem.

Once fully extended the paper roll will be nine to ten feet off the ground. The Manfrotto Stands are just sturdy enough to hold this length and weight of backdrop paper roll. It may sway slightly but will stabilize once the paper is fully rolled out. The tape holding the paper roll together is then cut and the paper will fall naturally. It’s important to guide it down gently as it has the tendency to fall quickly at times. Once it hits the floor ensure the paper is gently curved as it is extended across the floor about 12 feet. You’ve now setup your first backdrop!