|Alien Bees B800 on Ceiling Scissor Clamp|
When we moved into our studio we knew we were dealing with a space that had lower ceilings than we would have wished for. The ceiling was one of those suspended t-bar kind of things. We could have removed that ceiling and gained an extra 14 inches of space, but the original ceiling was a real mess and we didn't want to spend the money, at least for now. So we found some Scissor Clamps online and ordered them. Originally we thought we would just use them for speedlights, worried about the weight on the ceiling but eventually we worked up the nerve to hang our alien bees studio lights on them. Large light modifiers won't fit that close to the ceiling, but reflectors and umbrellas do. As a bonus the light is off the floor, no lightstand so no tripping hazard. We keep a small step ladder around to adjust it.
|Wire to strengthen your ceiling supports|
To combat our concern for the safety of hanging lights above peoples heads and not wanting to break our lights we went to our local home improvement store and bought some t-bar support wire. Then we went into the ceiling and added wire where needed and bolted it into the original ceiling to make sure the areas where we were going to hang lights were safe and secure.
This isn't a perfect solution as you can't use those big softboxes up that close to the ceiling, but it does work well and has been a lifesaver for us in a small studio space. Not having three or four lightstands is a big plus for a clumsy photographer too! The exact clamps we ordered can be found at Midwest Photo Exchange here. We put some tape on the clamp to ensure it stayed shut. Not sure if it was necessary as we haven't had any problems with them opening but we did it anyway.