Photography - setting up a back drop

11 March 2018

I have mentioned before how tricky I find photography - as in photographing what I make. 

Previously I have rigged up a sheet to take photos - not ideal! In fact, quite a faff! 

So my friend Rob (he of Rob and Andy) suggested a window blind I could simply 'pull down' to create a backdrop. 

So simple in principle, but not so easy to execute! 

I went on a quest for a plain white blind with fabric thick enough so you could not see a hint of what was behind. 

And it seemed like an impossible quest. Pretty much everything was either patterned or only semi opaque. 

And then the hanging mechanisms began to do my head in. 

And I nearly gave up. 

But then, in Dunelm, I had a brainwave!

Dunelm sell black out curtain lining off the roll and by the meter. That, I thought to myself, could work - especially if I also take a cardboard roll to roll it on and then, somehow, hang it from the ceiling.

And then the whole thing got even easier because I selected a roll that was nearly finished (there were only a couple of meters left on it) and ended up with the fabric I needed and still attached to the original cardboard tube.  

This tube I hung from the studio ceiling - or rather off the roof joists (its a simple conservatory with a polycarbonate roof mounted on timber supports) - a slightly Heath Robinson affair with rings I found in my tool box and fishing twine threaded through the tube so that it can be 'rolled' by hand.

And it works - it can be dropped down and onto a table top and then rolled back up when I have finished.

It doesn't quite have the finesse of a proper studio set up (or even a blind - it's a bit of a fiddle to rewind) - but it works! And it did not break the bank!

Though I still have to work out how to photograph framed pictures without getting some reflection in the glass. 


  1. If you find a pipe, plastic or metal, that will fit inside the tube and some rope to go through the pipe it would be more free moving to re roll.

  2. An excellent result - and lovely clear photos! And I love the colours of the things you've photographed - pencil pots, or something quite different?

    1. These are all lampshades. I have got some pics with them on lamp bases but I did not include those here. That would have helped I think.

    2. Oh wow how lovely - I had no idea of the scale from the photos. Thanks for putting me right!

  3. Brilliant! And your lampshades look super. You won't like this answer (because I don't like it when applied to my own photo shoots) but the only way to avoid reflection when photographing framed work is to remove the glass. Otherwise, you end up trying odd angles.

    1. Hm yes - thought that might be the only way. Fine with clip frames but a challenge with work professionally framed.

      Now I need to make some more stock! I've a few shows to prepare for this year. Must crack on. Xxx

  4. Brilliant idea. I am remembering I have a bit of blackout curtain, which was in some remnants a friend had. So, now to consider position, etc.

    1. One tip - you need good all round light. My studio is in the conservatory. Now this is not idea in deep winter (bloody freezing) or high summer (I overheat) but one useful thing is that you get good daylight. I did consider the landing (a bright picture window) but the light was not all around. Hence the conservatory is ideal.

    2. I photograph in the conservatory too - nothing like it for good all round light. Even when the overall light levels are low towards dusk, I get good photos. As to photographing professionally framed works, I take my photos before I take the work to be framed, setting things up carefully to make sure work is stretched well ... when I remember!


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