Queen City Studio BLOG: Set up your C-Stand the right way!
Alright, C-Stands, some of us have 'em, some of us don't. If you've been around them, chances are you've had the pleasure of getting your fingers or hand pinched by them. However cumbersome, they are essential to get your light in the right place. Time to explain how we set it up at our Lehigh Valley Pennsylvania Studio.
Set that shit up.
Some C-Stands (or Century Stands) will come in three parts, like the one you see above. There is a turtle base, which has 3 legs (I know you can only see two in this photo). Crack those bad-boys open and put the turtle base on the floor. There is a shaft that is like a standard straight stand, you'll put that inside the turtle base, and screw it up tight! These stands are heavy, but if you don't set it up the right way, it can be a disaster on set - DON'T LET THIS HAPPEN.
Buy these extra parts.
It's worth it.
If you look above, you can see the particular way this is set up. The long pole that sits in the turtle base (in this case) has two cranks (located on the camera right side of this image). There is a C-Stand arm that will come with your purchase of a C-stand. In this image, it's the black piece sitting on top of the straight section of the C-Stand containing the "arm."
THE EXTRA PARTS ARE SILVER! Most of the time, the straight "arm" of the C-stand is used to place your light. This is fine, I guess, but you'll have way more angles at your disposal, if you get an additional "grip head" with a "baby pin" (in silver) in order to seat your light on top of.
Here's a look with the C-Stand without, and with a light. The "baby pin" will house any light - it's the standard size for every light I have encountered.
Add a soft box.
You've got one right?
This is a 5ft Octa added to my light. Every light is different, every mod is different - but if you're this far into this blog, you should know how to set up a soft box onto your C-stand. Here's what it looks like from the light's view.
Take notice to the knobs all beautifully lined up together, this is for A MASSIVELY IMPORTANT REASON THAT IM GOING TO YELL AT YOU ABOUT RIGHT NOW.
Take very important notice to how the light shaper (the Octa bank) is aimed over the tallest leg of this C-Stand (down at the turtle base where the blue/black sand bag is). This is because it'll give the most resistance to the light as you lower it over your subject.
Your knobs should be tightening as your light shaper moves toward the ground or your subject. See where I'm getting at here?
IF YOU DROP YOUR LIGHT ON SOMEONE BECAUSE YOU SET THIS UP WRONG, YOU, ARE AT FAULT. PLUS YOUR CAREER IS OVER.
Ever get hit by one of these? I HAVE - it sucks, and if I was some business type or lawyer or doctor or A FAMILY sitting for portrait for you - and you drop this on my head, that'll be the last photoshoot you do (yes really).
As your light angles toward your subject, the C-stand arm should get TIGHTER.
Look here, the light has a lower angle, and now you don't have to worry so much about it crashing down on your subject. Now you can get to the shooting right? NAWWW. You want a better angle for the light ... but how?
That silver grip head and "baby pin" you bought for your C-Stand, now gives you an additional way to angle your light exactly where you want it. If you want to take your actual light into account, there are 3 ways you can hone the light in just right. On-set, you want every inch to move the light into a place where you actually need it - instead of on a stand with the hope the light finds your subject just right. Because that will literally never happen.
Our Lehigh Valley Pennsylvania based photography studio will be rolling out more blogs on gear, photo technique, and maybe some guest posts. Bookmark this page to get the latest from us, and make sure to follow us on Instagram and Facebook.