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  • Writer's pictureGilbert Carosin

The most important tool in your photography studio

Updated: Jul 6, 2023

Building a photography studio takes time and money but one important studio tool you should absolutely own to improve your pictures is a strong and sturdy boom arm.

The reason a boom arm is such an essential tool is that it will allow you to do butterfly lighting, if you are not familiar with butterfly lighting( or sometime called paramount lighting ) there are hundreds of tutorial online to help you achieve this result but without a boom arm it will be very difficult to get the desired effect.

a classic portrait with a butterfly lighting setup and reflector
Clamshell lighting with the key-light in butterfly position

Lets face it light from above is simply beautiful it enhance facial feature and simply makes everybody looks better. Using butterfly lighting also allows your model to move with more liberty and you can explore poses on the left or on the right without having to readjust your light every time, its a time saver for both the model and the photographer ( dont forget it is business and time is money ).

model posing in the studio
Butterfly lighting allows your model to move freely

Another benefit of the boom arm is that you can direct you light just a few inches above the frame resulting in even softer output from your modifier, a boom arm is also the only way to light a set from above without your stand getting in the way. You now see why this is the most important studio tool for your photography studio. In case you are still not convince please have a look at the picture below it would have been impossible to make the same picture with the same light quality without a strong boom arm.

model posing in black dress sitting in a peacock rattan chair
The c-stand is out of the frame while the boom arm and light is just above the model head

model posing eyes closed
Getting the light just a above the model head create softer shadows and richer tonal graduation

A word of caution, a boom arm can be a dangerous tool if you dont know how to use it. The boom arm should be properly counter-weighted and you should check the weight limit. to avoid any over-loading ( You dont want your light falling on your client head ).

Also you need to buy a proper stand for your boom arm ( c-stand are fine for mini-boom arm but for heavier boom arm a roller-stand or Mombo-stand is what you need )

In my studio i use a Matthews mini boom arm which has a payload of 8 Lbs ( my light and modifier are about 7 Lbs ) the boom arm is mounted on a C-stand with a 22 Lbs payload.

inside the studio, light stand and several studio lights
a classic 3 point lighting setup from my studio with the light and boom arm above hte model head

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