Should I buy/use a C stand in my photography?
A C Stand is a heavy metal stand which holds its roots in early film production. The stands were used to hold lights, modifiers, silks, backgrounds and much more on film sets. Their stability and versatility make them a staple for any studio work. One of the most common questions I get is what is a C Stand, and do I need one? Well, now that you know what they are, let’s talk about if owning one will benefit your photography work.
C Stands are heavy, and in most cases are better suited to stay at home in the studio than to throw in the car for location work. I have used my C Stand quite a few times on location when I would be shooting for a whole day and needed the flexibility of being able to position my flash exactly where I needed it. This is where the C Stand really shines, with a couple of weighted bags (I use rocks in mine) the grip heads can really be cranked down on which will keep the stand in the position you set it. Compared to a regular light stand, which can angle your strobe up or down, a C Stand with a boom arm can get more height than traditional light stands and can also hang your strobes over your models if you need that. A traditional light stand with a boom extension will also do this, but it will not be as sturdy as the C Stand. I shoot bodyscapes a lot so being able to put a strobe with a strip box over my model and know that it will not move is a big plus. So, with all this flexibility, and stability, what is the downside to using a C Stand? Did I mention they are heavy?
C Stans have been around since the golden era of movie production, and the benefit of that is the variety of accessories and attachments that are available for these versatile stands. Because they were primarily used for precise positioning of light modifiers, there are a ton of different grip heads available to handle just about any kind of light modifier you need in the studio. There are also a wide variety of grip heads with camera mounts, so setting up a camera for a high angle shot is simple and sturdy.
One of the first accessories to consider when buying a C Stand are wheels. The wheel kit I use weighs 13 pounds, and is stable, has locking wheels and allows for easy movement of your whole lighting rig around the studio.
I have used C Stands from Neewer, Avenger and Flashpoint. The Avenger stands are a bit more expensive and function as well as the Flashpoint brand. The Neewer brand is a bit flimsy, especially the grip heads, compared to the other two brands mentioned here, and I can not recommend them. I have two Flashpoint stands and have used very heavy flash equipment on them and never had an issue.
Do you need a C Stand? The short answer is, it depends. If you do a lot of location work, the weight and gangly reach of these when shooting might be more trouble than they are worth. If you have a home studio and you are looking for a flexible stable stand that can move your strobe in just about any direction you want it, then yes, the C Stand is the stand you want. After you get one, your biggest concern will be where to store the second one you will realize you need.
“Ted’s journey into the landscape of the human body is a marvelous celebration of all that is physical, sensual and diverse
” – FSTOPPERS
About the author
Ted Tahquechi is a Denver Colorado based professional landscape and travel photographer, disability travel influencer and is almost completely blind. You can see more of Ted’s photography at: http://www.tahquechi.com/
Ted operates Blind Travels, a travel blog designed specifically to empower blind and visually impaired travelers. https://www.blindtravels.com/
Ted’s body-positive Landscapes of the Body project has been shown all over the world, learn more about this intriguing collection of photographic work at: https://www.bodyscapes.photography/
Questions or comments? Feel free to email Ted at: firstname.lastname@example.org