Easily stabilize your light stands! = Sandbags + Giant Shopping Bag Clips

Every light stand, accessory support, backdrop rod set up etc… Needs to be secure!

Here is the easiest way I have found to get weight on these things and only taking seconds once you’ve made a few steps.


A. “Making” your own saddle style sandbags.

  1. Now, this is more or less gathering supplies and putting them together, as if you were to purchase outright, 20-30 lbs sandbags online and ship them to yourself? The cost would be insane from the weight alone.

  2. Head to your favorite online shop. Search for “Studio Sandbags” and pick your favorite color. I chose blue/black just because.

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3. Next get you some sturdy Zip Lock bags from the store or… The kitchen drawer… And head to a hardware store and pick up a big old bag of cheap pavers sand for a few bucks.

4. Load up those baggies and place em into the bags. I fit 2x baggies per side of the saddle bags (4 ea. per complete sandbag).

***Tips Include: Do not load the baggies too much, make sure there is some wiggle room and they can still close easily.


B. Now that you have your own snazzy saddle bag weights, how do YOU use them?

Well, like with everything, it depends on how it works best for you. But here is how I have found these tools to be used most effectively, mostly one handed & without taking too much time.

  1. Head to amazon or whatever and search for “stroller carabiner” … Yes baby stroller, they are under this designation for people clipping things to strollers/buggys like bags and groceries etc. But we’re using them for photo/lighting equipment!

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I picked blue…

(I think I like blue?)…


So… You’re done, pretty boring but now you can combine the sandbags & clips and just slap those bad boys onto whenever you need to.

This for me solves the issue of having cumborsome sandbags lazyily hainging, falling off, not being secure and making them overall easier to transport if carrying two in each had etc.

What do you think?

Examples for your enjoyment.

Example: Carrying more than a few feet or carrying over and over is so much easier with the giant clips. the canvas straps of the bags are more rubbing against the skin and the padding of the clip is much more comfortable on the fingers. Als much easier to carry multiple bags while in studio/on set etc.



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Quick Tip - Press line & Sundance - Why you need flash and power

Shooting events such as a film premiere, you will have to account for a lot of variables; Your Position, Lens Choice, TIming, etc etc. And Lighting.

If you are relying on the ambient light only you may be stuck with candle like wall accent lights, fluorescent tube panels or maybe nothing at all?

- My Solution & Tools Uses -

Using an on camera speedlight, power pack with plenty of energy for really short recycle times. I use the built-in diffuser from the speedlight and leave the white flag down. I toss the flash facing forward (direct flash I know…) and time my shots to the attention of the talent making their way through the line.

Taking multiple shots in order to get that keeper you definitely have a ratio of 1:5 or 1:10 in getting your shot in focus and not having the other flashes around you over exposing your shot.

For example: Let’s take my shooting actor Clara Rugaard from the Australian film ‘I AM Mother’ and her entrance and solo pictures at the premiere at the Eccles Theater. This particular set with the one final “keeper” I probably took 6 shots.

Shot 1: Under Exposed - Flash Didn’t Fire

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Shot 2: Over Exposed my flash an other flashes fired at the same time.

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Shot 3: Perfect exposure, expression caught

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Shot 4: Caught the sync speed at a bad time, only partially lit.

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And then again, shots 5, 6 had similar issues and were eventually discarded along with shots 1 and 2. Then you would get another “keeper” after that, and repeat and repeat.

That is why it is very important to plan, know what composition you can get etc. test your flash, have a person stand in before the talent gets there! … Grab the publicist grab another photographer, anyone. Then when the talent arrives, above all be polite, don’t yell, ask for attention, ask for a direction for them to put the attention, multiple shots. 1,2,3,4,5,6 “To your left please” …1,2,3,4,5 “One more time, thank you for coming out” 1,2,3,4,5. Etc Etc…

Tips: Don’t let the shutters just go off in silence, if you are not saying anything, if your fellow photographers are not saying anything, say something. Compliment a smile, say something about their outfit etc. No matter who it is, they’ve probably put thought into themselves, or hired a designer for some aspect of their ensemble.

That’s it

Pretty much everything else is not something you can copy, you can watch, learn etc. But if you talk verbatim how another photographer is talking that is weird, if you approach every subject the same way, that might not work. If you take a direct approach, if you are working with a group, if you are getting frustrated. That will come through and people will know, just like if you are having a conversation with an acquaintance, and they are upset, you can tell!

Let yourself have fun, get your shots but above all be nice, be fun, let your subjects gain that confidence for the 5 minutes you have them. Yes they are professionals, but maybe they are much more shy in person than you think.

“Final Shot” with light edits, sharpening and color adjustments in Lightroom


Clara Rugaard - At the premiere of ‘I Am Mother’ at Sundance Film Festival.

Clara Rugaard - At the premiere of ‘I Am Mother’ at Sundance Film Festival.

Did you learn anything? Have any tips of your own? Leave a comment and reach out on social media!

Did you make it out to the festival? - Please share your experience below!

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Snap Shots from the Utah Arts Festival 2018 - Gallery

With the hugely popular Utah Arts Festival going on just up the way from my studio, I had to head out and take a few shots of just people enjoying themselves.

Throughout the festival there are vendors and musicians playing around the City & County Building grounds.

There are also performances going on on the "Big Mouth" Stage including musicians:

Then later in the day the "Big Mouth" stage is taken over for a slew of passionate Poets.

Did you make it out to the festivities? - Please share your experience below!

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