For many years one of our most popular camera accessories was a car window camera mount. This was a simple gadget that had two rubberized legs that would clamp onto a car’s side window and then support a camera by means of a ball head located on the top of the legs. We sold hundreds of them over the years, and then the manufacturer went out of business. We went out looking for a replacement but what we found was much, much better.
The Promaster Clamper is an odd looking contraption. Made of metal, the Clamper has one longer leg of about 10 inches with a ball head at the top. Just below the ball head is a pivot joint with two clamping legs attached. Each leg is about six inches long. The short legs attach at the pivot joint with a tensioning thumb screw that allows the short legs to be positioned wide or closed as needed. One of the short legs also has a thumbscrew controlled tensioning joint that we’ll get to in a moment.
With the three legs of the Clamper opened it becomes a tabletop tripod. In this position the ball head is about eight inches off the surface that the tripod rests on. It is very stable and the ball head and leg locks will support up to eight pounds which is more than I would suggest mounting to a car’s window.
If the Clamper were just another tabletop tripod we would have taken a pass, but as the name implies this tripod alternative has quite a grip and it can be clamped onto any support that will fit between its jaws.
Tree limbs, sign posts, fences all become potential Clamper supports. The shorter legs act as the clamping jaws and that tensioning thumbscrew I mentioned earlier is used to put just the right amount of squeeze on to hold everything firmly in place. The Clamper can grab onto any object up to six inches in size and use it as a support.
The Clamper not only grips tree limbs, it turns out that it is ideal for car windows too. Again, using the clamp legs to pinch the car’s window it is possible to support your camera firmly and securely. The rubberized clamp feet won’t scratch the glass and their slightly sticky material all but eliminates any creep.
As with any device that clamps onto glass care needs to be taken not to over tighten the clamping jaws. Otherwise the Clamper not only replaced our defunct car window camera mount it also could replace a number of our tabletop tripods too. For smaller cameras Promaster offers the Clamper Jr. designed to hold compact cameras and other gear up to four pounds.
Do you dream of earning a living leveraging your photography skills? As many pro shooters will tell you, it’s a tough time to make a living behind the lens but there are also many benefits–artistic freedom, flexibility to experiment and using your creativity to earn a living.
One decision to make early on is how to differentiate your skills in a crowded and competitive marketplace. Many times people start to offer their services as a second (or third) shooter at weddings, doing portraits for friends or presenting themselves as a ‘jack of all trades’ photographer. While it’s wise to try different arenas to figure which areas offer the most potential, you may also wish to consider concentrating on a certain niche.
Take a look at the professional photographers in your area. A simple online search will likely bring several photographers’ sites offering their services. What do they claim as their specialties? Do see an area that isn’t strongly covered? In that gap you might find an opportunity to fill a void that others have yet to recognize.
Corporations often need executive headshots and supporting images to be used in company brochures, financial reports and for their online presence. If you have a passion for furnishings and interiors, there are opportunities in architectural photography. Each niche requires specialized skills and those will only come through practice, but all acclaimed photographers had to start somewhere. Sports event photography for youth leagues, as an example, is competitive but quite profitable for those who establish themselves in a particular territory.
Once you find a niche, consider finding a mentor. Get involved in a regional or national professional organization such as the PPA (Professional Photographers of America) so that you can surround yourselves with experts who are willing to share their expertise. These conferences include seminars and presentations by working professional photographers. Strong professional support can be invaluable to someone who is just getting started in the industry.
As you practice and hone your skills, you’ll need to make sure your website, Facebook profile and other social media tools include searchable phrases and tags that point to your specialty. This will take a bit of time but consistency and persistence can yield substantial results and put you on the path to success.
Cast your net wide in the beginning while keeping one eye open for those niche opportunities. You may find yourself one day as a professional offering counsel to someone just getting started.