Hardware Studio: equipment that will make your photo studio hum!

Hardware that you would use in studio by matthews and Kupo

Everyone has a light stand, even make up artists. Some photographers have boom arms but when you really want to refine your work, or make your life easier in the studio easier you’ll need an arsenal of hardware. And for the most part I am not talking about the durable goods you can pick up at Home Depot or Lowe’s.

You can secure flags, hold foam core in place, build mini booms… the possibilities are endless.

If you have $20 light stands this may not be for you, but if you have something like a Kupo Baby Kit Stand or an Avenger C-Stand game on.

manfrotto magic arm

clip to hold foam core

You can build a myriad of thing to help you get the job done with the parts below including those which are pictured above.

Below is a list of many of the small things I use in my studio and what they do.


ITEM Description Photo Price
Grip Heads Grip heads allow you to attach a myriad of accessories to any stand, by clamping down on a variety of round items.

I have grip heads from Matthews and Kupo but I prefer the design of the latter because the handles are larger.

2-1/2-in Grip Head with Big Handle
2-1/2-in Grip Head with Big Handle
Super Clamps A Manfrotto Super Clamp paired with a standard stud can act as a way of attaching grip heads and other accessories to any surface including the top or any part of a stand.

Manfrotto superclamp with standard stud
Manfrotto Super Clamp with Standard Stud
Grip Arms Grip arms come in two lengths, 20″ and 40.” In basic terms they are a long rod with a grip head perminately attched at one end. They can be used to relocate anything you would put on a stand at a distance from the head. While you could place a head on the round end of the rod made by most companies there is no guarantee it will stay in place. However Kupo has made an arm with 6 flat sides on the end that will at least assist in keeping things in place.

Traditionally you would pair a grip arm with a group head, placing the grip head on the stand and the shaft of the grip arm through the head. Then you can use the grip head end of the arm to mount your accessories or with the hex head you could locate hexagonal surface away from the stand and you can mount your fixtures with a set screw on that end.

You can also use a grip arm and a light stand to make one side of a background stand, rather than using a cross bar.

Kupo 40" Hex Grip Arm
Kupo 40″ Hex Grip Arm
Magic Arms A Manfrotto Variable Friction Magic Arm is an articulated arm that works in concert with super clamps and grip heads and allows you to relocate the same up to about 20″ from a light stand.

Manfrotto Magic Arm
Manfrotto Magic Arm
Studs Studs slide into grip heads and super clamps and they can also screw into magic arms, but I am not sure why you would ant to. While the standard Manfrotto stud has a 1/4″ thread on one end and a hex on the other, the Double Ended stud replaces the hex end with a 3/8″ thread. Both can mate the super clamp to the grip head, but you might want to use it to attach a ball head or a light head to a grip head.

Manfrotto Double Ended Sud
Manfrotto Double Ended Spigot
Manfrotto Clamp In order to hold reflectors or foam core and attach them to grip heads with studs or magic arms you you can use a Manfrotto Mini Spring Clip. You could attach a clip directly to a stand you wouldn’t be able to manipulate the angle.

Manfrotto Mini Clip
Manfrotto Mini Clip
Hooks Manfrotto U-Hooks can be used with a pair of super clamps to hold a background cross bar between two light stands, but I like to use mine to hang my power packs from my rolling light stands.

Manfrotto U-Hook
Manfrotto U-Hook
Offset Arm Have you ever needed to boom a light a short distance? Then this arm is for you, An Offset Arm is the perfect companion to every beauty dish allowing you to boom it directly over the camera.

Kupo Offset Arm
Kupo Offset Arm
Double Header While not the most useful item, a double header allows you to mount two lights or soft boxes side by side, which I could have used a few weeks ago when I had to place to strip soft boxes side by side.

Baby Double Header
Baby Double Header
RoadRags Matthews Roadrags is the most useful thing you can slide into a grip head. The kit come with two 24×36″ frames and 4 rags, and allows you to build two flags. The fabrics either reduces, reflects and softens or blocks light and I use them to do all of the above.

Matthews RoadRags
Matthews RoadRags


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