Fstoppers Reviews the Wood Be Nice Portable Backdrop Wall

While having a brick-and-mortar studio is nice, it isn't always feasible. Photographers create backdrops out of their homes, garages, or on set to disguise the location using stands with muslins, seamless paper, or even collapsible options as well. In searching for other options, I found a portable wood look to be the perfect fit.

Seamless paper and muslins work great for headshots and family photography, but for my genre of boudoir, it just did not work for me. Recently, a fellow photographer linked me to her site for a portable wood backdrop. Jessica Rae and her husband, Chad — who together form the husband-and-wife team behind Wood Be Nice out of Canada — have created a backdrop that is so versatile you can shoot just about anywhere. They are affordable and even ship to the U.S.

Image with permission and courtesy of Jessica Rae

How They Can Be Used 

The biggest challenge I found when I worked out of my home studio was disguising the look of being inside my own house. Back then, my home studio relied on moving all my personal items around in order to create a look that didn't require me to have my client stepping on Legos. Some days it worked fine, and other days I just felt overwhelmed at being a mom and trying to retain the look of my home studio without the clutter. If I had this backdrop back in those days, I may never have moved my office to brick and mortar. 

Image with permission and courtesy of Jessica Rae

In my new studio, this backdrop will be able to be used for hiding the back office areas, adding a new look behind my claw foot tub, or even to manipulate light coming from the large windows in the studio. I also came across an image by Aroha McKaig, who uses hers to create a scene surrounding her client.

Image with permission and courtesy of Aroha McKaig

Rae uses her backdrops as a room divider from the home office space when not in use. The office side can be used to hold images for her clients to see during reveals while the back side can be used to shoot against.

Image with permission and courtesy of Jessica Rae

Versatility

Another use is to create those shower scenes without needing a full shower with plumbing. These shots are some of the most requested in the studio. However, I do not have a proper facility. This option allows the photographer to remove portions of the backdrop and insert plexiglass with a spray of water, which does the trick. 

Image with permission and courtesy of Jessica Rae

Image with permission and courtesy of Jessica Rae

Image with permission and courtesy of Jessica Rae

Another option for these walls is something that will help those like myself who struggle with ideas for hanging images during expos and trade shows. Carting around 10 easels and finding out you do not have the space to accommodate them all can be trying when you are working a bridal event. The option to add shelves is helpful to add more displays vertically. 

image with permission and courtesy of Jessica Rae

Specs 

The panels form to 50'' wide and 80'' tall. There are no tools required for the assembly and when broken down can easily fit inside a car trunk. The wheels attached give the mobility for around a tradeshow floor or inside the studio. 

What I Liked

What I Didn't Like

  • Only two color options 
  • Only currently available in one size

Conclusion

All in all, the walls are a perfect fit for a studios needing different backdrops, or for that photographer who shoots on location. While currently the walls are only available in two color choices, the team has plans for expansion to add more options. 

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14 Comments

I have wanted someone to make something like this forever. The only down side is they are in Canada and it's really pricey to have it shipped to you ($250)

Johnny Rico's picture

Wants too much info before getting a shipping qoute, thanks for doing the leg work. This seems like a very easy DIY project for the price of a chop saw and some wood clamps. Neat idea for sure though.

I definitely agree that you could DIY this but that presumes you have the tools. If you don't then I guess you'd be looking for someone else to make this for you locally, which might save you some money on shipping but on the other hand it's nice to support other photographers, particularly when they've come up with a useful idea.

Johnny Rico's picture

What I'm saying is you can buy all the tools needed for under the cost of shipping. It's just a little bit of stagecraft to knock this out in a half day, maybe a full if you're learning as you go.

Motti Bembaron's picture

Looking at the specs, as a DIY project, it will cost less in wood and some stain than the shipping alone.

Todd Boyer's picture

Make it even less expensive by recycling wood pallets (which is kind of what they look like anyway).

Motti Bembaron's picture

Sure, why not.

I just checked prices for my fence and using clean pressure treated fence wood (1" x 6" x 5') I can build the same two panels each 6' high and 5' wide (with very little tools) for about $115 CDN. That includes two sets of four wheels ($30).

Lenzy Ruffin's picture

One of Maya Angelou's most famous sayings is "when you know better, you do better." Why in the world would people who should know better record their promo video (or anything else) with the phone oriented vertically?

Joel Wallace's picture

I will definitely be building one of these for our studio.

David Love's picture

This is cheaper and when not in use can be used for models to hang their outfits on. You can buy clamps and hang materials or Plexiglas from it, lean background pieces against it or even to pile all your stuff on to move around cause it has wheels. Nothing bulky and not heavy.

Jay Jay's picture

Now that's a great idea, never thought of that!

DJ Toman's picture

For product, food and still life photographers, Translum can be draped over it to make a handy diffusion panel.

I can't even find their prices or a webstore of any kind?