If I asked you to come up with a list of the top 100 gadgets you would buy for a photographic studio, I’m pretty sure the studio clamps would fall somewhere towards the end. Let’s face it clamps are clamps right? All they do is hold things in place, job done.
Well yes that’s true, but that’s not the end of the story. In fact if I had to make a list of the most essential gear you’ll need in a studio, I’d put clamps somewhere towards the top just after lights, backgrounds, and light modifiers. Come to think of it, that might explain why I have so many of them.
So here’s the three types of clamps I use…
DIY store clamps
You can pick these things up almost anywhere. I’ve found them on market stalls, in the local pound shop and even at the supermarket. From my experience, the cheaper they are the quicker those little orange jaws will break off. That said I have dozens of these things kicking around the studio and they’re great. I have giant ones for attaching backgrounds to large poles, medium sized ones for clamping reflectors to light stands and tiny ones for… actually I don’t use the really tiny ones.
Pros: Cheap to buy and readily available
Cons: Don’t expect the cheapo ones to last too long
Gorilla Studio Clamps
These things are a big step up from the DIY store clamps. First up they’re made of metal, not plastic, so should stand up to years of use and abuse. The clamp action is seriously strong, so watch your fingers when snapping them closed. Each side of the clamp is lined with a rubber, which helps reduce the risk of marking delicate surfaces. These rubber strips can be removed and frustratingly, they do have a habit of falling off at the wrong moment. As the name suggests the gorilla clamps are super strong and I’ll use a couple of them to attach heavy material to a background support pole or as quick way of clamping and object to one of the many supports I have in the ceiling.
I got mine from my good friends at Smick LINK
Pros: Very strong and built to last, with a price that won’t break the bank
Cons: One day those rubber grips will fall off and get lost
It’s a clip not a clamp, so don’t expect this to hold anything too heavy. Even so this has to be the favourite clamp I own. It’s basically a couple of two inch bulldog clips joined together but it’s secret weapon is its ability to move each clip independently. This thing is great for making an impromptu barn door. Simply clip a piece of black card to one end and attach the other to a light stand. I’ll use these clips all the time to stop something wobbling, falling down or blowing away. At around £7 they’re not cheap but they’re so useful, every studio should have one. As before, mine came from Smick LINK
Pros: Small but ever so useful, this little gadget will be used time and time again
Cons: It’s not going to hold anything heavy for too long and the price is fairly high.