A Simple $3.99 Fix To Help Improve Your Styling Prowess

A Simple $3.99 Fix To Help Improve Your Styling Prowess


Styling and propping is important for every architectural photo, and as anyone who’s photographed on location knows, some things are out of our control – such as the weather, the wind, the quality of construction, and the angle at which doors are installed.

Bare with me…this is an easy trick and costs nothing, assuming you already own some $3.99 A-clamps.

One minor annoyance I have on pretty much every shoot is getting the photo perfectly styled, only for a doorway in the frame to get blown open or closed. This is laughably simple, but a quick fix for this problem is the trusty A-clamp. It may be tempting to run for a sandbag or door stopper, but a well-applied and correctly-sized A-clamp does a much better job. Here’s an example:

So you get photos that look like this:

Instead of this, (unedited raw file), where they swing all over the place in the breeze and become death, destroyer of fingers and bringer of misery:

Here’s my solution. I’ve got big A-clamps which work for about a thousand other things, and little A-clamps which fit in smaller doorframes. Here’s how I jam an A-clamp below a door to get it to stay put – instead of using the tension in the tip, I use the tension in the grip to wedge the clamp between the door and the floor. Move over Bernie Taupin, I got rhymes. The spring is usually more than strong enough to keep the door put in a nice breeze.

A few more examples of perfectly styled doorframes, because I’m extremely in tune with the high-paying niche of door propping:

Swung out wide to clear the way
Positioned perfectly to allow dappled sunlight in
Open to show joggling board, a historical staple in Lowcountry homes, but not open too far, so we see there’s actually a door there
Clamps are far easier to photoshop out than sandbags or assistants
Some doors, like this massive front door, are set up to automatically close via spring or tension. The A-clamp is an easy way to fix this temporarily so you can snap a photo without it getting in the way.

You can get them at BH, Home Depot, Amazon, wherever – they’re pretty ubiquitous and this is just one more reason to have a few in your bag at all times.

About Mike Kelley
Mike Kelley is an architecture and interiors photographer who has photographed projects all over the world. He is a self proclaimed airplane food enthusiast and the founder of the Architectural Photography Almanac.