by ʇolɐǝz ǝɥʇ qoq

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I am shopping for a light stand and find that while 6'4" (200cm) stands are affordable, 8' (240cm) and 9' (260cm) stands are double the price.

Have you used any alternatives? I just want to be ready for (group) full-length standing poses with Rembrandt lighting, yet not buy a larger stand and carry it all the time. Thanks.

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up vote 1 down vote accepted

One option used by many photographers is a second person (assistant) holding an extension pole or monopod that has the light on the end. With an average-height person holding a six foot pole, you can easily get up to the height you need.

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These workarounds are not universal, but applicable in some cases:

  • You could create a "virtual soft box" by bouncing your flash off the ceiling or a wall where you'd otherwise like to put a softbox (usually not above your head or above subject). This approach requires the ceiling/wall to be close enough. Beware of strongly colored walls/ceiling, these will eat your flash power and add color cast. I often use such bouncing with TTL on events and get quite good light.

  • In some locations, you could use your car as an extension for light stand; in others, a (camping) table might do the trick.
    Disclaimer: it's just an idea, my stand is 7 feet and hasn't needed extending yet.

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I used an extending painter/decorator's pole which has twist-lock grips at the section joins to allow you set the height you need. I used rubber end-pieces for a Zimmer frame bought cheaply from a local supplier to put on the ends (it's a tight fit) and these stop the pole from slipping on the floor/ceiling. I've found that the pole is string enough to support a couple of small lamps using Manfrotto clamps.

See it in action on my Flickr page

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