DIY Frankenstand: Combining Tripod Legs and a Light Stand Column


I’ve been doing increasingly more portraiture outdoors over the years and most often have been relying on speedlights for their small size and portability. One problem I always faced was choosing a stand to use for supporting the speedlight.

In too many cases, on rough terrain, I found traditional light stands unstable and C-Stands not much better. Because of this I began to experiment with tripods. Tripods have a larger footprint and are more stable, but then height is usually an issue.

Finally, I decided to try and combine the features I needed from tripods and light stands to get the best of both worlds. I used a center column from a small light stand for height and combined it with the legs of a tripod to create a larger footprint for added stability.

Here’s what my stand looks like when extended to 9 feet (2.75 meters):


That’s the maximum height of my unit, but I wouldn’t use it that high unless there was no wind to be concerned about.

Here’s a photo of the compact tripod legs (with spiked feet):


The light stand works well. A couple of things I’d may like to add in the future are:

1) A hook at the bottom of the center column to hang a weight on.
2) An extension to screw onto the bottom of the center column with a spike that you can drive into the ground for increased stability.

Here’s a short 3-minute video in which I talk about and demonstrate my run-and-gun light stand:

About the author: Brian Carey is a photographer based in St John’s, Newoundland, Canada. You can find his work on his three websites here, here, and here. You can also find him on Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, and YouTube.