Priced at $69.99, it's a decent backdrop stand kit that you can use for various amounts of people. What I like about it is that you can remove one of the bar sections and make it shorter to save some space, or you can include all the sections to accommodate lots of people. It's DECENT, for that price. It's decent enough to use indoors with a muslin backdrop, but it doesn't seem strong enough to support a big roll of seamless paper backdrop. Also, it's best not to use it outside, because a little bit of wind can knock it over once you've got a backdrop on it. I'm not even sure the stands can really support the weight of sandbags.
This product isn't for someone who's going to do studio work constantly and needs something strong, reliable, and long-lasting. It may be a good starting point for someone who wants to dabble in studio work to see if it's something they want to continue in. It may also be good for someone like me, who just wants a portable backdrop kit in their arsenal for the occasional shoot in a controlled environment. To make this last (including the bag it comes with), you need to be careful handling it.
The backdrop stand and the bag it comes with.
The product doesn't come with any instructions on how to assemble it, but it's pretty self-explanatory. One section of the bar didn't seem to lock when twisted 90 degrees, so that was a bit iffy. I think if I struck down hard enough on the bars like I was doing a karate chop after they were assembled, I could make it come apart. Again, this is for the occasional light, careful use.
Here's what it looks like when it's assembled - with its minimum and maximum height. It's easy to assemble, and it's even quicker if you've got someone to help so you can raise the stands at the same time.
Of course, you can't use a backdrop stand kit without a backdrop. So, I ordered a 9x6ft black backdrop from theLAshop.com. I gotta say, the customer service and shipping has been great. Somehow the shipping address was wrong, so I emailed customer service at 11:30pm asking them to change my order. About half an hour later I got an email saying that my order had been changed and I would get my package at the correct address. Whoohoo! I ordered it Thursday night and received it the following Tuesday. Pretty quick!
I was excited to use a black backdrop with my new stand kit, but I was severely disappointed. Let me just show you what I mean. For $25, I felt ripped off. I might as well have bought a black, opaque bedsheet from Target for less money and it wouldn't have been this see-through.
It was way too unstable to use outside, so we decided to bring it inside. Still very see through. I guess you have to put this thing against a blank wall that doesn't have any light illuminating on it.
I hope I can return this, but their return policy only allows you to return something if it's completely new and unused.
We decided to try to give it the benefit of the doubt. We decided to wait for it to become nighttime so that no sunlight would come through those windows towards the back, but in the third photo down (below) I think you can see still see some of the brighter bits of the background to the left of the backdrop.
The backdrop was a disappointment, but the backdrop STANDS aren't too bad for what they are - a simple, affordable kit that lets you set up a backdrop and has the ease of portability. They're great for the enthusiast who will take the occasional portrait and one day might upgrade to a real, professional kit. They're definitely not for the working professional who takes portraits against a backdrop constantly. The kit isn't strong and stable enough for constant use, but good enough if you only use it occasionally (like for the annual family Christmas photo) and if you can take good care of your stuff.
If this sounds like something that could be useful, take a look around theLAshop.com! For a limited time they are offering 10% off your purchase if you use the code "BLOGGERS"