Monday, March 29, 2010

For Photographers - Footswitch Shutter Release

With the growing popularity of photo booths at weddings and events, many photographers are looking for a good way for the subject of the photo to also trip the shutter. The self timer doesn't work for this and using a set of Pocket Wizards introduces other problems. (1.Someone inadvertently walking off with the transmitter. 2.Tying up $400 in radio equipment to cover a 6 foot distance.)

The other problem I see in many images from photobooths is that people often stand out of the area of sharp focus and the area where the light is set for a good exposure. Often, the people aren't even in the picture. With a radio remote in someone's hand they can stand anywhere and still trip the shutter.

I thought about how to do this and figured a footswitch would be the perfect answer. It's cheaper than a set of radios, requires no batteries, and the person tripping the shutter has to be in one place to trip it. The best thing is that an inexpensive, durable footswitch is readily available. I found the perfect one at Amazon: Casio SP-3R Sustain Pedal for Casio Keyboards

This isn't the only pedal that will work but I have tested this one and know that it does. Many of the other pedals have automatic polarity switching so they can be used with different brands of keyboards. This is good for keyboards, bad for cameras.

To make it work you will need the pedal, a motor drive cable for your camera (the same one you use for Pocket Wizards will work) and an adapter to mate the 1/4 phono plug of the pedal to the 1/8 mini plug of the motor drive cable.

If the thought of soldering connectors gives you the shakes, I'll make up a 5' cable for you for $25. (E-mail for details.)

If you are able to do a little soldering you can save $25 and do it yourself. You can make an adapter cable with a 1/4 mono phono jack, a 1/8 mono mini jack, and some two conductor wire. They have all of this stuff at Radio Shack. Or, you can cut the 1/4 plug off the pedal and replace it with a 1/8 mono mini jack.

I'll post a video about this if there is any interest. Let me know in the comments or by e-mail.

For Nikon 10 Pin - Pocket Wizard Motor Drive Cord

For Canon - Pocket Wizard Motor Drive Cord

3 Comments:

Blogger Tim Harman said...

Great idea Hassel! I may have you make a cord for me. Would love to try it out!

9:28 AM  
Blogger Daniel Berman said...

A good idea is to frame up your shot and then using gaffer's tape, tape off a loose border for your subjects to stand in and still be in the frame.

4:56 PM  
Blogger Hassel Weems said...

Tape on the floor is a good idea but it won't keep your PW transmitter from disappearing.

5:47 PM  

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