Collecting Studio Stuff
Clamps come in a variety
of sizes and styles.
Gaffer and other kinds of tape hold things together.
Here are some of the other things Rick keeps in the top drawer of his studio kit.
Trevco makes a 3 pack of museum putty and gel that you can use to prop things up, or hold them in place.
Much of studio photography involves finding a way to arrange the setup. No one goes out to buy a collection of odds and ends, but they accumulate as you solve one problem after another. Here are some that we have found useful over the years.
- An inexpensive plastic tool box is a good place to store the odds and ends you collect for your studio.
- Velcro can be used to hold parts of the setup in position or to attach some kinds of objects in place. It comes in two parts; hooks and loops.
- Single-and double-sided transparent tape is used to hold all kinds of things in place.
- Gaffer (not duct) tape has a low tack adhesive that removes cleanly— it doesn't leave bits of itself behind when you remove it from a surface. It's used to hold almost anything in place, including lights.
- Scissors have obvious uses.
- Pens are good for labeling items and taking notes.
- Clamps, available from any hardware store, can hold backgrounds, diffusers reflectors, and just about anything else in place.
- Fishing line can support or suspend subjects.
- Colored filters can be positioned between a light and the background to give it a different color.
- Background materials can be used over and over again in different combinations. You'll often find uses for both large and small pieces. White ones make good reflectors, but any colored board can be covered with tinfoil— smooth or crumbled. All colors can be used to cast reflections onto shiny subjects.
- Black velvet or velour paper can cast reflections onto shiny surfaces, or block light from others.
- Putty holds small objects in position.
- Architect's vellum can be taped to frames to make diffusers, or used under a subject as a background.
- Tinfoil (silver and black) can be mounted on lights to shield light from the camera or selected parts of the setup.
- Plexiglass is used as a background, especially when you want to light an object from below. It comes in clear, white, gray, black, smoked, and a variety of colors. A good place to buy smaller sections is at your local sign shop.
- Levels ensure the camera and subject are parallel to avoid keystoning.
- Tweezers are used to pick up small items and remove debris from the setup.
- Matte spray, available at any art supply store, gives a reflective surface a non reflective finish but it's also somewhat hard to remove.
- Glass cleaning spray is useful for cleaning glass and other subjects.