The age-old struggle: you have modifiers; the wind has force. And that’s how you end up with an unintentional (and unwanted) sail when shooting outdoors. What can you do about it, you ask? Well, sandbags are a good start. While a sandbag won’t reverse the sail effect, it will help to prevent your light stand from falling over in the first puff of wind.
Empty sandbags, like the LumoPro LP515, are simple to use, help to secure your setup and are pretty inexpensive. This kind of sandbag has zippers on either side that allow you to fill the sandbag with whatever you fancy.
But once filled, those suckers are heavy (kind of the point, I know). So now you have a new problem – you have a way to stabilize your stands, but you’re hauling around extra weight equivalent to the average 2 year old.
One solution is simple, but brilliant at the same time – fill your sandbags with bottled water. Think about it. You already have water bottles on location anyway for your subject, crew or assistant (because YOU are a kind and thoughtful photographer). You can use those bottles for ballast in your sandbags and keep your shoot participants happy with refreshing beverages.
The best part? You don’t have to pack heavy sand bags back to the car! (Just don’t forget to gather up the empties. No one likes a litterbug!)
Plus, you get to avoid the hassle and mess of filling the sandbags with sand or gravel. Easy. Clean. Thoughtful. It’s a win-win-win.
Now obviously, this isn’t the perfect solution for every situation. If you’re working in a hot environment, your subject will probably appreciate water from a cooler more than one that’s been baking in the sun. In those cases, extra grip equipment, like clamps or gripheads, also work great.
So there you go. An easy tip to make your sandbag slinging easier. Do you have a creative solution for filling sandbags or dealing with flyaway light stands? Let us know in the comments, or post a shot to Instagram and give us a tag!