Becoming a better photographer means owning the right equipment. However, occasionally a photographer must improvise on the job.
In the middle of a project, I realized I didn’t have a tripod clamp for my smartphone. That’s when I went scavenger hunting for odds and ends to make my own smartphone clamp. As it turned out, I had an old metal bracket laying around that I painted black, and enough Velcro and double-sided tape to complete the job. It proved to be much cheaper, stronger and less hassle than most of the plastic store bought clamps.
Here’s a step-by-step look at how you can make a super easy clamp in less than 15 minutes for $5 or less.
1. Look for a 1/8th inch thick galvanized metal L-bracket or U-bracket. Any hardware store carries these if you fail to find one on a hunt around your garage. The correct bracket should cost under $2, often less. Size does matter, it should only be large enough to securely hold a smartphone (see photo for an idea).
2. Drill a ¼-inch hole in one of the ends of the bracket. Center the hole. Your tripod quick release plate or grub screw will mount in the hole using a ¼-inch threaded nut to secure it (as shown).
3. Next, I suggest painting it black to eliminate any reflective surface.
4. Go hunt around for a one-inch strip of Velcro, or a strip of double-sided tape. The tape or Velcro ($2 to $3) holds the smartphone in position, and can be used repeatedly or peeled off immediately. Use enough tape or Velcro to ensure the camera doesn’t move in the mount.
5. Now simply attach your quick release or grub screw to the new bracket using the ¼-inch nut, and mount the assembly to your tripod.
6. Finished. You are ready to shoot with confidence (vertical or horizontal) without worrying about shaky video and out of focus images.