6 Photographers' Thoughts on Why Gaffers Tape is Awesome
We've previously written about Gaffers Tape being an unsung hero of photographers and videographers. Taping down cords, pulling clothing back for fashion photography, and solving light-leak issues are only some of the uses we discussed.
We decided to talk to a number of photographers about how they used Gaffers Tape.
It is pretty common to use Gaffers Tape to secure cables that need to run across walkways, but in Botswana we had a unique problem. The local hyenas are known to want to chew on anything they can reach. So when we needed to run an extension cord for our projector across an exposed space, we fashioned makeshift “strap hangers” out of Gaffers Tape, and used them to suspend the cord in the air between the generator and our open-air classroom.
You can check out David's website here.
Gaffers Tape it a must-have accessory for any photog's bag. There's one thing that I always find myself using it for, and that is to make snoots or flags for my flashes, to prevent lens flaring in the background. These are very simple to make; you basically just need a piece of cardboard or plastic, and more often than not, when I need it I find what I'm looking for in the trunk of my car. Just recently, I used a plastic container that I'd had Sushi in for lunch that day. The black bottom of the sushi box made a great flag, and I simply wrapped Gaffers Tape around my strobe and the plastic box, to stick it to the side. Worked perfectly!
I must confess, I'm more of a duct tape guy than a Gaffers Tape guy, as can be seen by the numerous silver strips that are stuck to my lens hoods, my ski poles, a couple of torn jackets, and on the front of my airplane in the wintertime.
However, Gaffers Tape does have its place in my photography. Where many rock climbers use little strips of colored tape to mark their climbing gear, I use Gaffers Tape to label mine. The cloth tape is easy to differentiate when seen next to regular thin, black electrical tape, which is what many people seem to use.
What's this got to do with photography? After going pro, I fed myself for the first few years primarily with my climbing photography. During that time, I never mixed up my gear with anyone else's gear. I owe it all to Gaffers Tape.
You can follow Dan's blog for more reviews and tips.
David H Wells
Before digital, and before entrepreneurial companies made actual boxes just for the purpose of holding rolls of film OUTSIDE the plastic film cans that the film originally was sold in, we would use the plastic boxes that processed slide film would be in when it came back from the labs, and use them to hold four or even six rolls of film. For many reasons, we used to cover those boxes with Gaffers Tape. One reason was to create the hinges that opened and closed the box while keeping the 'lid' handy. Also, the hard plastic boxes were rough bouncing around in camera bags, jackets, pockets, etc. Lastly, the silver of the Gaffers Tape was very visible, so we were less likely to lose them. This predated colored duct tape.
David contributes to BHInsights, and also has a great blog.
I once had a careless intern whom we gaff-taped up, and left in an equipment truck for days! It worked great!
Joey is an extremely successful young photographer, and you can see more of his work on his website.
John Paul Caponigro
Wherever I go, duct tape goes with me. It holds all kinds of things together. I consider it a creative challenge to think of how many different ways I can use it—it’s a tool and a toy. Cap or shade a lens. Flag a light. Hold a curtain or screen. Fashion a lanyard. Fix a shoe, coat, or sunglasses. Shut a box. Secure a bag. Protect a paint brush. Create sculptures. Make a ball. Shut someone’s mouth—or my own. I’m still counting the ways to use it.
John has lots more to talk about at his creativity workshop and on his creativity resources page.
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this piece do not necessarily reflect the views of B&H Photo Video Pro Audio