Over the days leading up to the 25th of December I’d like to give something to everyone who stops by my blog. These tips cover camera settings, flash, lighting, software and gear. I’ve provided a pair of tips each day from the 1st to 25th December.

#49 – Get a grip and don’t forget to keep the battery door

battery door

I usually add a battery grip to my cameras as it makes them more comfortable to hold vertically, and helps them balance with heavier lenses. So if you have just acquired a new battery grip for your EOS camera you need this tip. All the Canon battery grips require you to remove the battery door from the camera to fit the grip. However you absolutely have to retain that little insignificant bit of camera.

When you have a camera without a grip, the battery door closes a small microswitch that tells the camera that it’s closed, and this allows the camera to switch on. It’s designed to try and avoid corruption of cards if you open the battery door while images are being written.

So you get a battery grip, remove the door and then where do you put it? Your desk drawer or “somewhere safe”. Canon already though of this, and provide you with a “somewhere safe” place; inside the battery grip.

If you look carefully there’s a little space in the plastic part that goes in to the camera body to store the battery door. That’s the best place, since the only time you’ll need the battery door is when you remove the grip, which is when you find the battery door.

That is absolute genius, and I raise a glass to the person in Japan that designed that.


#50 – The C-stand

c-stand

It’s Christmas here, and so for my last tip I thought it was appropriate to mention the C-stand. It’s big (like a plate of food today), it’s heavy (like me after Christmas lunch), it’s shiny (like all the parcels under the tree), it’s expensive (like the Christmas spending on my credit card) and I would not be without mine.

As it’s Christmas, I took a few moments to embellish my c-stand with tinsel and a Speedlite, to make it a Christmas-stand 🙂

Anyone who has watched a youtube or tutorial video with a photographer working in a large studio will have seen these silver stands that just magically hold your lights, reflectors and much more at height, low to the ground, over the top, underneath; that’s the C-stand (Amazon).

For me the need for a c-stand came many years ago, when I was using four Speedlite 600EX-RT flashes, a Manfrotto quad bracket and Lastolite Ezybox Pro octa on a stand, it was just overloaded. If you add up all the value on the end of the stand, not just the weight, then the c-stand is a minor investment. However once I bought one, it’s become a regular companion. I have the Avenger A203DKIT (amazon), it has a detachable base to make it easier to transport and the extension arm.

When I’m doing live demonstrations of Speedlite flash the C-stand allows me to position lights where I need, and the stand neatly out of the way. On location the arm puts the light where I need and I can still stand underneath it without having the centre of the stand in my line of vision. If you have a heavy load on the C-stand and are using the extension arm, add a sandbag or two over the highest of the legs.

Still not convinced, let Joe McNally explain the benefits of a C-stand even for small lights, and give you some essential tips on using them safely.

It may be Christmas, but with the power of post scheduling there’s another post coming today…


Here’s a few more festive fifty tips