Quick Photo Gear Tip – Pocketsize Gaffers Tape

You keep a pen in your camera bag, right? Now with this fancy little trick, you’ll always have your gaffers tape with you, too.

I always have a pen in my camera bag. I never know when some teenybopper will recognize me and scream, “OMG! You’re like totally that hunky guy from Nice Photo Mag, right? OMG! You totally are!” Then they demand an autograph and if you don’t sign it right away, they’ll have time to get on their new-fangled battery powered telephone-a-ma-jigger. Next thing you know, you’re swamped with perfume drenched girls in day glow mini-skirts trying to tear your soul apart just to be closer to perfection.

Ahem. Where was I?

Oh yes, I always have a pen in my camera bag. However, I frequently try to travel light. You know, keep the gear down to under 100 lbs. That means I can’t always take everything I’d like to take with me. Who suffers? That poor old roll of gaffers tape, that’s who. Sorry fella. It’s just that you’re too big around the midsection.

The problem, of course, is the international rule of photography. It’s truer than the Inverse Square Law, the Rule of Thirds, and even The Golden Rule: If you don’t bring it, you’ll need it.

Gaffers tape is the photo world’s Macgyver. A few examples: Use it for blocking to mark where you want your model to stand; cable ties; secure a flash to a wall in a pinch. You can even use it for a make shift disguise when you want to blend in with the “normal” folks at the local mall. Like so:

The perfect disguise for the celebrity Photographer!

Yes. That is a gaffers tape eye patch. Thanks for asking!

The truth is I don’t use gaffers tape all that often. But when I do use it, it’s a superhero. Hence, this quick tip. Here is the 5 step guide to creating your pocketable gaffers tape roll.

Take your pen.

Take your gaffers tape.

Stick the sticky to the pen.

Roll it. Keep rolling.

Tear it off.


Video included for those like myself with absolutely no common sense whatsoever.

Music in this video is by Unruly Helga. Check out her great music.

Make it as long or as short as you like. You can even do a few rows on the same pen.

“Thanks Mr. K.”

You’re welcome.

“Can we have your autograph now?”

Can’t a man eat his hoagie in peace!

How has gaffers tape gotten you out of a pinch? Let me know in the comments below.


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  1. I use it to tape wires to the carpet rather than duct tape (which leaves a residue that really annoys people). Keeps folks from tripping and calling 1-800-lawyers.

    I also use bright yellow gaffers tape and run a small strip on everything I own. When shooting with others it makes it easy to spot my stuff.

    Finally, I run a long strip down the sides of my tripod legs (to the first joint). Easier to strip off and re-use than something rolled around a pen or such.


    PS Thanks for the blog. Nice style and lots of useful info. Much appreciated.

  2. I do the exact same thing in this video, but I use a prescription bottle. It’s bigger, so rolling a few yards onto it is easier, and the bottle can hold other small things you may need. I posted about it on my blog when I first started it.

    It’s definitely cheaper than buying the mini rolls.


  3. It silences those annoyingly chatty models very effectively..