On a recent job (the Arts Forum space at the University of Melbourne for Architectus – photos coming soon) my assistant and I spent a lot of the time with the camera off a tripod, and instead mounted the camera to all sorts of things like ladders and partition walls. In this post I’ll explain the equipment used and why this setup can be useful.

Why get off a tripod?

In this case it was all about height. We wanted the camera position to be higher than my tripod height of 1.5m to be able to create a separation between the chairs, tables, lecterns, and projector screens in the room.  We also wanted to get some views from odd places like on top of a partition wall. (see pic below)

camera mounted to ladder for architectural photography

Above is the full rig mounted to a ladder and tethered to a laptop. We’re using a tethered laptop for almost all of our interior shots now because it provides a bigger screen to assess things like furniture positions and for getting a true histogram from the RAW file. It’s also useful when using this sort of clamp setup because the location of the camera often makes it difficult to get your head behind the camera.

close up of DSLR camera mounted to ladder

Above: Closeup of the camera (and the bulbous Canon 17mm TSE) mounted to a ladder. What I like about this super clamp setup is that it’s small and versatile. We’re mounted to a ladder here, but it also works for things like railings, balustrades and shelves.

Mounting on top of a partition wall

Here’s a pic of where we mounted the camera on top of a partition wall. It’s a tight little spot, but because the top of the wall doesn’t have cladding, the timber studs are exposed which provide good mounting positions. We ran the tether cord down the back of the partition wall and fired the camera from the laptop.

Camera mounted on top of partition wall

The equipment

Super Clamp mounted to bench

The basic clamp and tripod setup mounted to my kitchen bench.

super clamp parts spigot tripod head

The break down of the rig.

  1. Super clamp (they range between $20 to $50 depending on where you get them from)
  2. Spigot (about $7)
  3. Tripod head (I used an old Manfrotto three way head, but if I was buying new gear I’d go with the Manfrotto 410 Junior Geared Head to get more controlled adjustments)