There are certain things in photography that are worth the investment and c-stands are very high on that list. When you are first starting out in your photography career you may be tempted to buy cheap stands to get you started. Take it from someone who has gone through about 15 cheap stands, it isn’t worth it. Here are my top 4 reasons why you should invest in a good quality c-stand.
What is a C-stand?
A c-stand or century stand is a tool that is used both in still photography and video production that holds all different types of equipment. C-stands are very rigid and can hold a lot of weight. C-stands are made of 4 different parts.
The Legs or Base
One great thing about the legs on c-stands is they nest inside of each other and provide a very sturdy base to hold equipment. As you may notice there are different sizes of legs and the one to take note of is the larger leg. Always put the larger leg towards the weight. For example, if you are booming a beauty dish over your client make sure that the large leg is out towards the light as seen here:
Another way you can secure your stand is by utilizing sand bags or Westcott’s new H2Pro bags in which you fill with water. When putting weight on your legs it is recommended that you put the weight on the tallest leg so it doesn’t touch the ground. This provides extra support so your light doesn’t tip towards your client.
The center post
The center post of the c-stand has two adjustments which extend between 8 and 10 feet tall. On the top of the c-stand there is a male mounting point that you can attach a studio strobe or other tools like a knuckle.
The top knuckle is what allows you to have precision on where you place your lights and modifiers. The knuckle moves in all different directions and allows you boom your lights very high or super slow.
Tip: Make sure the handle is on the right so if the light starts to fall it will tighten instead of loosen.
Usually attached to the knuckle is a boom arm that extends out 20 or 40 inches. This boom arm has an adjustment on the end that allows you to add counter weight to the end of the arm.
First and foremost, c-stands are EXTREMELY sturdy. Because of the way they are built, when weighted correctly you do not have to worry about them falling over. This is the biggest reason I switched to c-stands in my studio. Anytime I would boom a light over my client I found myself worrying about their safety and having my lights collapse on them.
C-stands can be used in several different ways. Below are just a few examples of how you can use your c-stands.
- Light Stand
- Background Holder
- Overhead Tripod
- Tall Time Lapse
- Video Slider Holder
- Boom Mic Holder
I love a tool that has so many uses!
3. Easy to transport-
People who already have c-stands may find themselves scratching their head when I mention the ease of transport because of the size of these stands. Stick with me 🙂
There are many stands on the market that fold extremely small but you sacrifice the stability of the stand. So when I say that they are easy to transport I am referencing the amount of stability you get from a stand that has folding legs and can easily fit in most cars.
For this reason alone I tend to travel to all of my weddings with at least 1 c-stand to use when using studio strobes.
Don’t mind the dirt 🙂
Will your initial investment be more then buying a cheap stand? Yes.
Will you invest in this stand and have it your entire career? Yes
In business you have to make the best choices for the long term. A good c-stand starts at about $100. When I was converting over to c-stands I would purchase one for the first 5 weddings of the year. Below are a few good choices for you to get started.
This stand is a good stand to start with, it is well built and is great for someone just getting started with c-stands.
I love the kupo brand. Kupo makes great products. This kupo c-stand has a detachable base which makes it even easier to transport.
Matthews is probably one of the most trusted brand in both the photo and video industry. I found this c-stand on Amazon and it is quite a savings. If you are looking for the best, you can’t go wrong with Matthews.
Im hoping I made it clear that c-stands are one of the best investments you can make in your gear. These stands will outlast any other piece of equipment that you purchase and will also keep your clients safe. If you have absolutely any questions don’t hesitate to reach out. Im here to help 🙂