7 Unexpected Items That May Help with a Photo Shoot

This list by Peter McKinnon includes familiar items like duck clamps and gaff tape, but it also includes tools and contraptions you’re probably not so familiar with. So, without further ado, here are seven things that you should have with you at your next photo shoot:

1. Duck Clamps

7 tools for the filmmaker

Duck Clamps

Duck clamps are extremely versatile and can be used in a multitude of scenarios and for many purposes. They’re super sturdy, work with minimal fuss, and come in handy regardless of whether you’re shooting indoors or outdoors. Some duck clamps come with a small hole in them, perfect for mounting different types of gear; you can pass a thread or a friction arm and some such things without issues.

2. Red Cable Tie

7 tools for the filmmaker

Red cable ties

Think Tank makes these little life savers and they are perfect for organizing your camera bag. They’re perfect when you need to tie up and organize long cables, small tripods, and a million different other things. Securely fasten items to your camera bag instead of leaving them hanging from the side. The best thing is that they come cheaper by the dozen.

3. Gaff Tape

7 tools for the filmmaker

Gaff Tape

We already know how useful gaff tape can be. It can be used for securing cables on a studio floor, for blocking light, for securing DIY softboxes, and tons of other purposes. Unlike other kinds of tape, gaff tape doesn’t leave sticky residue after you have yanked the tape off the surface.

4. Cap Case

7 tools for photo shoots

Cap Case

Ever wondered if those tiny body caps and lens caps could be used for purposes other than what they’re intended for? McKinnon recommends buying extras and then screwing one body cap into a lens cap to make a perfect housing for SD cards, MicroSD cards, or adapters. You can even make several of these just so that you can have one for each item.

5. Grip Head

7 tools for the filmmaker

Grip Head

A grip head is a big, odd looking contraption that doesn’t seem anything like a small, convenient item. But it actually is extremely useful and versatile.

7 photographer tools

Once you have it mounted on a light stand, you get all these different types of mounting options. You can attach a boom mike on it or a flag and use it to block off light.

6. Acoustic Blanket

7 things you need for photo shoots

Acoustic Blanket

An acoustic blanket is a muting tool. If you’re using a light inside a studio, which is unusually loud, use the acoustic blanket to mute it out.

7 photo shoot life savers

The blanket can be used to block out annoying lights on a set or to create a noise-free environment for recording audio.

7. Friction Arms

friction arm

Friction Arm

A friction arm is like the grip head except that it’s slightly more versatile. Friction arms come with adjustable clamps. These clamps can be attached to almost anything. Monitors, recorders, GoPros—you name it and it possibly can be mounted on the friction arm. And once you have mounted what you need you can then clamp it on to a light stand.

Do you carry these seven items with you to shoots? What else would you add to this list?

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One response to “7 Unexpected Items That May Help with a Photo Shoot”

  1. Kurt S says:

    Nice list of things that are useful. Never heard of “gaff” tape though. Gaffer tape, OTOH, is really great stuff ™. We used to say that you could save the world with a Swiss Army Knife and a roll of Gaffer tape. Probably the original version was baling wire/twine (as in hay bales).

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