You likely haven’t given too much thought to types of light stands until you realize you don’t have the right stand for the job! There are many different types of studio light stands available, and in this video, I cover the 4 most common types/categories for photographers.
Let’s take a look!
Floor Stands: Floor stands sit low to the floor and are perfect any time you need to have a light at a lower angle hidden directly behind your subject. I use floor stands primarily for two reasons. First, I use them when I need a fill light in front of my subject and below eye level to create clamshell lighting. Next, I use them when I want to light the background by centering a light behind my subject. Of course, there are other uses for a floor stand, but these are two of the most popular.
Standard Stands: These are your regular, everyday, plain old traditional light stands. They are great because they can have multiple purposes and are relatively lightweight/portable. Use them to hold your main light, a background light, a fill light, you name it! Just make sure you don’t put really large or heavy modifiers on them!
C-Stands: Whenever you need to support more weight or have more stability, a C-stand is a right choice. For example, if you have a heavier or larger modifier (ie: 5ft Octabox) or need to have a light boomed out the overhead of your subject, a C-stand with sandbags and counterweights will provide a significantly safer, sturdier choice than a standard light stand. The downside of a C-stand? They are definitely much heavier and less portable.
Roller Stands: A roller stand is perfect any time you need to move the light around a lot in a scene. Typically I put my main light on a roller stand because it’s on a wheel and can be moved quickly/easily while still being very stable. Larger roller stands are also an excellent choice if you need to have a much larger light boomed out over your subject.
Bonus: My favorite mini boom stand is the Avenger D600. It gives me telescoping abilities (aka I can extend the stand further out) and is also sturdier without being too heavy/unwieldy like some full-size boom arms.
Now that you understand the use of these floor stands, now let’s see all four categories in action.
For this bts shoot I used the following:
Main Light: Roller Stand with Beauty Dish + Grid
Rim Light: C-stands with 1x4ft Strip Softboxes with Grids
Fill Light: Standard Stand + Large Umbrella with Diffusion
Background Light: Floor Stand + 10 degree grid