Photographers, more than any other profession, have to MacGyver stuff all the time. We use light to create lasting memories. Unfortunately, light isn’t always where we want it. So we have to first, create reflectors, lighting props, brackets, stands, etc. Once the light is where we want it to be and of the right quality, then we can proceed to create history.
The gadget that I rely on more than any other one available to us, is the Studio Clamp. Over the years I have acquired about a dozen Studio Clamps. Like a security blanket, as long as I have my Studio Clamps, I can handle any assignment that might show up.
Let me explain why you also need to own some for your own peace of mind. As you can see in the attached photograph, the clamp is rather simple. The jaws spread quite wide; able to grab hold of any flat surface or bar. The round spigot that is attached has 1/4″ threads on one side and 3/8″ threads on the other. The 1/4″ threads fit the bottom of the camera. So if you are in a situation where you need to lock your camera down but you have no room for a tripod, you can secure the clamp onto the edge of a table, door, chair, tree, etc and it will not move. If you flip the spigot around, the 3/8″ screw threads will allow you to mount any tripod head to it so that you can also correct any tilt that results if you clamp onto an uneven surface.
This configuration of the Studio Clamp with the head attached works great if you want to mount your camera to the handlebars of your cycle, boat, car, etc The jaws will not loosen up regardless how much road vibration you generate.
If you need a quick background stand kit but you already have 2 stands, you can remove the spigots from two clamps, turn them over and fit the clamps securely over the tops of the stands. Find an appropriate length broomstick, pipe, etc. for your background, and suspend the bar between both clamps. Lock it down and you are done.
One year when I needed to create a unique trade show booth, I used 4 stands, 8 Studio Clamps, and 3 rods to create the 3 walls of the booth. Then I hung backgrounds to create the room. I used 4 Studio Clamps to create 2 Double Clamps by using the spigots as connectors. This allows you to clamp the end of one bar going in one direction and rotate the second clamp to receive the second bar at another angle.
If you want to permanently mount a light in your studio, this clamp is perfect. It doesn’t take up any floor space, and will not move over time. You can also pull out the spigot and replace it with an 18″ heavy duty flex arm if you want to direct the light at a specific angle.
To add weight to the bottom of a stand or tripod for extra stability, attach the clamp to the leg and hang a camera bag or a bag of rocks on it.
I’m sure I haven’t run out of uses for these versatile clamps. Stay tuned…………
Peter Gold is a master photographer who has been a professional for over 45 years. He is also the studio specialist of The Camera Store offering valuable information regarding lighting, meters, studio design and setup, backgrounds and more. If you want to learn more from the master, you can take his Light Shaping Basics Seminar coming up on Jan. 28th, 2018. Registration is only $99.95.