DIY: Photography Light Stand Sandbags

If you are mounting your lights indoors you are safe, but what if you are outside in the blowing wind?

This is not the first time that two shooting hobbies meet. Last time I talked about weapons photography cases and rifle camera straps. This time Christian Hedegaard has a great idea to prevent your light stand from blowing in the wind. The materials? Right, from the gunshop. Here is Christian’s story:

light_stand_sandbag_s.jpg

I came up with this simple sandbag design. Most light stand sandbags are filled with actual sand, and even the smaller ones are pretty big. I wanted something smaller than those but still heavy and dense, so I used lead shot. You can get lead shot from almost any gun store that sells reloading supplies (Note to Southern Californians: Turners DOES NOT carry shot for some reason). I used #8 AKA “Bird Shot”, but the size doesn’t really matter. Shot sizes between 6 and 9 should be perfectly suitable.

For the casing, I used 2″ Tubular webbing (any store like REI carries this). As you can see from the picture I sewed it in the middle, then I filled one half with a pre-measured dose of shot, and sewing the end shut. Then I repeated on the other side. Then I took some 1/2″ tubular webbing and sewed it into the tail end of the webbing casing.

Each “sandbag” is about 2.25 pounds in weight and you can use them by either draping them over the bottom light stand supports, or on top of/cradling the legs.

The other way to use them is with the handle. The handle sewed on serves two purposes:

  1. To use a carabineer to keep them all together and to carry them around.
  2. It’s large enough to put over the stand, and “hang” the bag on it.

I decided on tubular webbing long before I actually decided on lead shot, but tubular webbing is ideal for this because it’s thick and has a very dense and strong weave.

I’m not worried about lead residue ever coming out of the weave, as the shot doesn’t really generate much in the form that would actually leak. The weight and size is the most important goal to me on this project. If you’re REALLY worried about lead, use sand. But it won’t be nearly as heavy. Also, you can use lead shot alternatives that are now required for hunting around waterways in most states. The alternatives are close to lead as far as weight/density, but usually much more expensive.

The 2″ webbing was cut to 13″ long and the 1/2″ webbing somewhere around 7 or 8 inches I think. A single, 25 pound bag of lead shot was the perfect size to make 10 of these bags with just a very small amount left over.

You’ll want access to a heavy-duty sewing machine. I used the Singer, Commercial-Grade CG-590 that I bought for my girlfriend for Christmas a couple years ago, it works great.

More Lighting and Mounting:
- Trading Your GPS For a Flash
- Pocket Wizard Mounting Device II
- Super easy hardware store light-backdrop stand
- Soft Panel Frame Designed for Hotlight