How To Build A Photographer’s Standing Desk

I built a standing desk for photographers and wanted to share the what, why and how.

Ever since getting a job at Photocrati as the Community & Blog Wrangler aka Community Manager, I have wanted a standing desk.  There are many reasons for using a standing desk, like strengthening the back, better posture, not sitting on your butt all day, and so on.  All of this is even more important when your job is sitting in front of a computer nonstop.

Fortunately I worked for a company who sold many photographic accessories in their retail store and had the opportunity to jump on some pretty incredible deals.  I also have the great fortune of receiving and reviewing products to review here on my blog.  So between the two I was already a step in the direction for the perfect standing desk for photographers.

So I took a step back from what I had so I could think about how to piece it together.  In the end, I have an amazing standing desk that I can use for photography, blogging, writing or other things.

Don’t Sit Forever

My standing desk is portable and easy to assemble and disassemble.  It’s multi-purpose as mentioned, and although it winds up coming out to the price of an already built, standard standing desk, because of it’s multi-purpose, it is more valuable and useful in my opinion.

In the end, here are the components that are used for the standing desk:

  • LumoPro C-Stand is a heavy-duty light stand designed to hold big studio lights safely as is or on a boom attached to the stand.  This is the ideal support system for the standing desk.  The LumoPro C-Stand costs $99.
  • The Gitzo Laptop Platform is one of the products I already had from my time working at a camera store.  I have always used it with my old workhorse tripod from Manfrotto.  However, to use it with the C-Stand, I needed an adapter.  If you don’t already have a laptop platform, I highly recommend the Aero kit from Tether Tools.
  • So I picked up a $10 Manfrotto Rapid Adapter which connected quickly to the top of the C-Stand, and to the bottom of the laptop platform.  While both are easily removable, they’re tightly connected.  If you pick up an Aero kit from Tether Tools then it already comes with an adapter for light stands and the Rapid Adapter is not needed.
  • The Tether Tools Aero Accessory Tray is used to hold my wireless keyboard so that I am not uncomfortable by having my arms up high to type.
  • The Manfrotto Super Clamp is used to hold the accessory tray by clamping to the C-Stand at any height.  That makes it easy for me to raise or lower as needed and rotate the location of the keyboard.

If needed, a second Aero Accessory Tray and Super Clamp can be used to hold a mouse, Wacom tablet or Magic Trackpad.  Typically when I want to stand for a while I am not using a mouse (only typing) so a platform for a mouse is not as important.  So for the few times throughout the time standing where I need a mouse, I am using the laptop’s trackpad.  If you prefer something wider to hold your keyboard and mouse easily then check out the Tether Tools Aero Master. Or you can do what I did and use a clamped mousepad and an Apple Trackpad which is easily removable when not needed.

The photographs are not the most appealing ones I could capture, but there isn’t a place in my house where it would be more appealing.  So I brought it outside to show just how portable it really is.

standing-desk-01 standing-desk-04 standing-desk-03 standing-desk-02

Standing Standing

To stress the point of my reasoning for this method of standing desk…why this route instead of a real desk? Because each part of this setup can be used for photography as well as a desk. The components can be used together for photography and individually. Not a single part has only one purpose. I also already had the Gitzo laptop platform from my days working at a camera store, so it was a start in this direction.

The clamp can be used for mounting lights when on the job.  The accessory tray can be used keep lighting power cells off the ground, or my iPad with lighting diagrams and photo shoot details close to where I am shooting. The entire setup could be used for when tethering my camera to the laptop. The possibilities are endless for this setup, and I am glad to be standing more often while I work.

Just keep standing, just keep standing

One tip, for anyone who uses a standing desk on a hard surface.  If that is you, then be sure to pick up an anti-fatigue mat from a local store.  Bed Bath & Beyond, Wal-Mart and many other stores carry inexpensive mats. They are useful because they take some of the hard pressure off your feet, making it more comfortable to stand longer.  If you are on a carpet then you should be ok.

Of course there are many other types of DIY standing desks.  Christine Tremoulet of Vivid & Brave created a standing desk from books and Ikea products. If you Google DIY standing desks you will find many custom ideas. If you are a photographer then I suggest trying my method.  But if you need a more traditional standing desk then a Google search will get you in the right direction.

Brian Caporicci purchased an UpDesk which serves his needs well.  I’d love to have one of those!

Either way, stop sitting all the time and start using a standing desk instead.

Thanks for reading and happy shooting,


This Post Has 6 Comments

  1. omg I LOVE it!!! Great Ingenuity, Scott!!

  2. I love how small and portable your desk is! I live in such a small house, making my desk was tight because of the limited space for a desk top. This would have been perfect! Thank you so much for sharing this!

    1. You hit the nail on the head. With this method I can move locations anytime!

  3. That’s great! However I need a larger desk than that :D

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