Over the past decade and a bit (the years are flashing by!) I have managed to find some great hacks. In this 3.5-minute video, I go through my 5 favorite hacks as a commercial photographer.
#1. Tennis Ball Feet
First, you can cover the bare ends of stands and boom arms with tennis balls. Many a photographer or client has twisted round suddenly to find the wrong end of a C-stand right in their face. I am particularly “blinkers on” when shooting, so when I found out about this I jumped at the hack. A few cheap and bright tennis balls with holes cut into them quickly get rid of this issue.
Label with a POSCA Pen
For many photographers, keeping on top of multiple identical batteries, cameras, lights, stands, and pretty much anything else that you need several of can be a real chore. Knowing that battery number 7 seemed to discharge a little too quickly during the shoot makes isolating the problem really simple. Using a POSCA pen is a great way to do this as it avoids any physical labels getting stuck inside devices when attached to cameras.
A Cure for Slippery Light Stands
Next up is the annoyance of the round light stand head and spigot. Trying to keep a heavy item in the exact same place all day can be really challenging. But a 30-second blast with a Dremel will create a nice flat surface on the end of the stand to give your lights or grip item something to really purchase with.
Reusing Gaff Tape
Gaff tape is one of those items that every photographer uses. When you are starting out it seems reasonably inexpensive to buy a single roll. However, once productions start to ramp up and you are ordering it in boxes of 50 at a time, the price suddenly becomes a bit of a sore subject. Nevertheless, a lot of this waste can be stopped by simply re-applying to tape to the nearest nightstand, trolley, or ladders in order to reuse it at a later date. Since starting this, my tape expenses are down by around $300 a year.
Storing Poly Boards
Large poly boards are used in most studios, and mine is no exception. With one side left white and the other painted black. They come out on almost every shoot from fashion to product. Companies sell expensive devices to hold them in place. A great money-saving hack is to buy the front wheel holder of a bike storage device as used in shopping malls and leisure centers. They are around $20 and fit the boards in perfectly. You can then mount garden hose pipe hooks to the wall to hang them when not in use.
What are your best photography hacks?
About the author: Scott Choucino is a professional food and portrait photographer. The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author. You can find more of Choucino’s work on his website and Instagram.