I don't like light stands with booms on them. Some don't like light stands at all. I don't mind light stands, and in fact I use light stands for all my lights except for my hair light. Most hair lights must be placed onto a boom so it can be positioned above and behind the subject but when you add a light to a boom, and a counterweight to the opposite end it gets wobbly and real scary especially when it is up six or eight feet high.
Early in my career after tripping over the hair light stand, boom and light and nearly knocking it onto a client I began searching for a rail system. Bogan makes a nice one but I prefer to spend my hard earned $2500.00 on other stuff. So I built my own.
The rails I used are Cannonball rails and are available at pole barn manufacturers (my local Ace Hardware also has them.) They are normally used to roll heavy barn doors on. They are available in various lengths from 10 to 20 feet. You will need three trolleys for each cross rail you use. In my setup I used only one cross rail for my hair light, so I needed three trolleys.
I took the three rails (two long, one short) and three trolleys to a welding shop and had them cut the flanges off of the rails because all I needed was the bare round rail. I also had them weld two 3/8ths x 2 inch machine bolts to the center of two of the trolleys and the third trolley has a 1/4 x 20 x 1 inch bolt welded in the center of it. (See image # 5 below.) Also have them weld the trolley solid so it will not rock within its mount anymore.
My ceiling joists are 16 inches OC so I had 1/4 inch holes drilled every 16 inches in the top of the two long rails in order to screw them to the ceiling. I used long drywall screws to attach it to the ceiling. When screwing them to the ceiling they MUST be parallel to one another. Since I have 11 foot ceilings I added some brackets every 16 inches OC to lower the system down about six inches. If your ceiling is lower you can simply screw them directly to the ceiling without the brackets.
After getting them back from the welder, take a rag soaked in paint reducer and wipe all of the oil and dirt off of them, then clean them with 409 or some hot soapy water. Hang them outdoors and soak a rag with white vinegar and wipe them off. Alow to air dry and paint with flat black paint. The white vinegar will etch and neutralize the galvanized coating and permit paint to stick to it, otherwise the paint will peel off after awhile.
You will need at least one other person to help you hang them. Screw one end of one rail to the ceiling but leave the screw loose for now, and measure the other end so both ends are the same distance from the back wall. Mine is about 18 inches out from the wall. Screw that end down and recheck that both are the same distance out from the wall, then screw the entire rail to the ceiling. Place one of the trolleys (one of those with the 3/8ths bolt in the middle) into that rail. Then screw one end of the second rail to the ceiling. The distance between the two upper rails should be about 3 inches shorter than the length of the lower rail. This is because the lower rail will have a 3/8ths hole drilled at each end that needs to be 1 1/2 inches back from each end. The two trolleys with the 3/8ths bolts will fit inside the two rails that are screwed to the ceiling. Make sure the two rails are parallel to one another and screw the opposite end, then attach the middle rail (make sure the third trolley is inside of it first) to the two outer trolleys. Tighten the two nuts at each end and then roll it back and forth. If the rails are not parallel it will be evident real fast. If it rolls easily and will travel all the way across to both ends, screw the rest of the second rail to the ceiling. I strongly suggest double nutting the end trolleys so the nuts can't works loose from the constant rolling. You MUST drill a hole all the way through both walls of the two rails at all four ends and place a bolt across them. This prevents the trolleys from rolling out of the rails!
You will find five images below of my setup.
Benji's Book Posing and Lighting
My full color 8.5 x 11 inch glossy 44 page book on how to pose and light the high school senior girl is in my hands are ready to be shipped. It has 44 different poses in it, including head and shoulders, waist up, 3/4 and full length poses. Twenty six poses are shown without a prop, most of the rest of the poses are with chairs that can be bought locally in a second hand furniture store (or new!) I also show a steel "school" chair that I have modified, and I've included instructions how to do it. Four pages of lighting diagrams and five wide angle shots showing the entire scene, then the actual close up shot of that same image so you can see just what the heck the rest of her body is doing to get that great close up shot! LOTS of posing and lighting tips in easy to understand language. Poses for the larger gal as well as the size 6 senior are shown. This is a "lay flat" book that you can show to your client and let her choose what she likes thereby eliminating poses that will not sell.
Benji's Video Photographing The High School Senior in the New MillenniumOver 45 minutes long and jam packed with lots of good instruction on posing and lighting for the high school senior girl. How to get beautiful indoor lighting for head and shoulders portraits, 3/4 length and full length poses. All of this and lots more are covered, most showing exactly what I do to get the shot. I show in several of the images what problems will crop up when YOU attempt this pose and what you need to do to correct it. The exact placement of the lights to get these shots is also covered in detail. Outdoor poses are covered also. Perfect exposure quickly and easily whether you are shooting digital or film. This is the instructional video for you. You have already experienced my easy to understand style of teaching in my tutorials found here and several of them are included in this video also.
How to order: