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Archive for September, 2012

Twelve Top Tools to Keep You in Tip Top Shape

Thursday, September 6th, 2012

Twelve Top Tools to Keep You in Tip Top Shape from Marion Hughes

Marion Hughes makes life easier. His official job is “Photo-Technical Assistance and School Division Support at Pounds Photographic Labs”. Whew. He does all that but he does so much more! He breaks down the confusing, reduces the complex and researches the confounding. Then he makes it all simple and straightforward. Of course the end result for you is profitability! We are always turning to Marion with questions about things we find on the Internet or come across in our travels and of course Marion finds out about some pretty amazing products because he’s the sort of guy that’s always “in the know”. We asked him to tell us what products, hands down, are just great deals or essential for a photography studio. Marion personally tested each of the following items so you know they’ve got to be good!

Focus Testing Target FREE
Pounds Labs has developed a simple tool to test your lens and camera for accurate focus. The Focus Testing Target is photographed at a 25 degree angle at f/5.6.  The scale will tell you if the camera focused on, ahead or behind the target. The target is a free PDF available by request. Contact Marion Hughes

Strobe-O-Frame Flip Bracket
With many tripod heads, the camera is not over the center-of-gravity when used vertically.  Good flip brackets that will correct this problem by rotating the camera in place, can be expensive. This item is actually a portable strobe bracket assembly that cost less than the tilt mechanism alone. The tilt device is held to the bracket by two screws. Take it off the bracket and attach the flip base to the quick release on your tripod. Presto…a $60 flip mechanism for $35! Learn More

High Desert Photo Shoes and Clothing (formerly bama-buzzard)
This American manufacturer builds unpainted wooden props at a reasonable price.The chaise lounge for babies is absolutely inspired! The workmanship is very good and these items are built to last. You also might find a pair of shoes you like! Learn More

Labeled Lens Caps Lenzbuddy
These are just plain cool and one of those items that make you say, “Why didn’t I think of that?” Simple and smart, Lenzbuddy saves you from the tape and sharpie ID system! There’s a Lenzbuddy for every lens, allowing you to easily identify each one. They’re manufactured in Dallas by Impact Photographics and you can get even them branded with your logo! We hear there is going to be a price increase soon, so grab them now!  Learn More

Tether Tools
Tether Tools has several excellent items for the photographer who directly connects the camera to a computer.  The two main drawbacks to tethering have been broken USB and FireWire cords and USB plugs that don’t fit well when the camera is vertical. The JerkStopper, protects the delicate plug and port at the camera and prevents image corrupting disconnects.

The TetherPro Mini B USB Left Angle Cable Adapter redirects the wire to the side allowing vertical tipping of the camera without crunching the wire.  With your tripod head this 900 plug may or may not be necessary.  Believe me; if you need it, you really need it. These products pay for themselves in one replacement wire or one lost image. I think they are a must for those of us who tether. Learn More
TetherPro Mini B USB Left Angle Cable Adapter

Light Weight Foldable Posing Stool (Elementary only)
These 18” Stools are available at Sears on-line for about $12.  Learn More

Westcott 9×20 Green Screen (The ideal green screen)
These are without any doubt the best green screens available at any price!  The 9-foot wide versions have the best color. These suckers are getting harder to find so if you don’t have one yet, we’ve found three suppliers that have them in stock.

A New Version of the Westcott green screen is being released and may well be in stores now. It’s the same great material but in a 5×7 foot size.  This will take up less room in school-day photography.  The model number is #579 and should be priced at about $50.00.  This is the green screen material only.

Here are three suppliers where you can find the great Westcott green screen!

Arlington Camera
817.385.6891

Showcase Photo & Video
800-886-1976

Midwest Photo Exchange
866-940-3686

Da-Lit Background Stand System
Add a background, not a stand with a pair of studded clamps! They allow you to mount more than one background at a time. Learn More

40” White Interior Umbrella
Adorama is selling good quality 40” white umbrellas for less than $12 each. They are great for softening and diffusing light These are true white, not satin and are perfect for green screen photography. Learn More

4 Channel Wireless Hot Shoe Flash Trigger & Receiver (Radio Slave)
This is a good 4 channel wireless trigger (radio slave) on sale now for $22 a set!  Get the NPT-04. Learn More

Heavy Duty Spring Cushioned Light Stand
This is a light stand suitable for the main and fills lights.  It is 8’6” high and cost under $21. Choose model 896. Learn More

Premium 12’ Heavy Duty Spring Cushioned Light Stand
This is a larger light stand suitable as a background stand or for hair lights. It’s 12’ high and around $ 32. Choose model 806D. Learn More