I’m what I’d call a professional hobbyist when it comes to photography. I try to make it my life, but my passion sometimes overrides my business sense for it.
I’ve usually done photography in phases. There was my fisheye phase, natural light phase, reflector phase, speed light phase and so on. Eventually a friend of mine let me use his Profoto AcuteB system for a random adventure at the Renascence Faire, during which I knew I was hooked onto high-end strobes. Eventually he bought a B1, which I borrowed enough times to just buy one of my own.
Over the time I’ve used it, I tried to use light stands but sometimes they just were impractical where I was shooting, especially when there was a lot of movement and guerrilla-style shots taken. Then I started to worry about using light stands and getting permits if I wanted to do adventurous shoots in Downtown LA.
Because of that I decided that I shouldn’t use a light stand anymore, whenever possible. I always thought of trying to make a way of creating just a simple handle for my Profoto.
After doing a couple quick sketches (literally just drawing a stick and bending it), I asked my father, who’s a bit of a tinkerer and builder. Together we got some spare pipes in his backyard.
The materials needed are as follows:
1. 2 foot 1/2 ID Gas Pipe
2. 6 inches 1/2 OD Steel Pipe
3. Steel Mallet
4. Pipe Cutter
6. Pipe Bender
7. Spray Paint
8. Bicycle Grip
We started off by cutting the gas pipe to the desired length. The pipe we had was actually 4 feet, which we dropped down. Then we fastened the gas pipe in a vice, taking the steel pipe and hammered it in until enough of a nub was showing where the fastener of the strobe could attach to then we cut off the excess damage on what we hammered down.
We added a groove where it would normally attach to just for detail.
From there, we bent the arm for ergonomics at about a 10-ish degree angle. I don’t know if it helps any but it looks fancy. I suppose you can keep yours straight.
What I ended up doing afterward is entirely up to you. I added a coat of spray paint go give it a nice matte finish and to blend with the Profoto. I have a friend who’s a professional bicyclist and he gave me a spare grip of his, apparently it’s one of the better grips out there for riders, and luckily it was red and gives it a nice accent. It’s the little things that show I care.
Here are a couple of detail shots of the handle.
And here it is during a shoot I did in Downtown LA. The best thing about having a friend hold your light is that you get to use the carpool lane to shoots.
So far I’ve used it in NYC, all over San Francisco and many places in Los Angeles and Orange County without anyone really bothering me other than to say “Nice!”
Before this, I was harassed a couple times when I had it on the light stand. Figured that I didn’t want that to happen again.
About the author: Gil Riego Jr. is a freelance photographer and videographer. He is the current photo editor for the online publication Entertainment Voice and a freelance photographer for San Francisco Weekly. You can visit his website here.