Home Arts & Crafts The right tools for serious photographers: SnapIt Boards

The right tools for serious photographers: SnapIt Boards

by Leanne

Almost two decades ago, my husband taught me that buying the right gear for the task ends up saving you money in the long run. This lesson came in the form of a snow-covered overnight hiking trip in which every piece of gear I bought was wrong. Shoes with no traction, a sleeping bag that left me freezing, and clothing that wasn’t nearly warm enough for our altitude. I was miserable, I swore I would never do an overnight hike again, and I was scarred after my night of freezing temps in a sleeping bag meant for sleepovers in a heated living room. 

Over the years, I have come around to the idea that spending the money on the right gear makes sense. So, now I’m all decked out for the outdoors and I happily spend the money to make hiking and camping with my family fun and enjoyable. But, for some reason, this theory of spending the money on the right gear somehow didn’t translate into my work.

Spending money to make money

However, when it comes to spending money on items that will {ironically} make me money, I tend to skimp and save. We’re talking spending precious time making dollar store items work instead of spending $5 on the correct item, and refusing to buy items I can’t get a deal on. I know, I know, it’s crazy, right? These are items I can *write off* as business expenses and for some reason I shop the dollar store knowing that they don’t have any real camera gear, photo accessories, or vlogging tools. 

Frozen layflat

This year, I have tried my best to shift my thinking. As my dollar store items show their age or become annoying having to rig a setup instead of just doing it correctly, I have removed them completely from my photography tool kit. Life’s too short to spend hours photoshopping just because you used the wrong background, tabletop setup, or photo board to save money.

Those $1 foamcore boards were the first to go. In theory, they work just fine for a lay-flat or tabletop setup, but in practice they are more trouble than they are worth. I’m quickly retiring my stash of inexpensive foamcore boards in place of my new secret weapon: SnapIt Boards.

These are just a few of the reasons why you shouldn’t go with a paper- or cardboard-covered foamcore:

  1. The foamcore boards aren’t waterproof. Literally any teeny tiny drop of moisture will ruin them. No kidding, it just has to be slightly damp on the surface you set the board and it will end up in the trash. The moisture will cause the board to ripple, leave raised water spots, and it will make it so your foamcore board will be relegated to trash with the slightest mishap. SnapIt Boards are coated so you can use them for food photography, take them outdoors, and use them even when they might get a little messy. 
  2. The foam boards are much too lightweight and that makes them hard to setup. Even someone merely walking by will cause your carefully set up boards to fall over. As you can imagine, this is really, really frustrating. Even for a short shoot, I would find myself constantly setting the boards back up, which gets more frustrating the more intricate a shoot is. SnapIt Boards are just the right weight. Super easy to transport with you wherever you need them, but just enough weight to keep them from toppling with tiny gusts of air. Also, you can buy convenient brackets that allow SnapIt Boards to connect to each other so you don’t even need to lean them in order to use them. 
  3. The foam boards are extremely fragile. I swear they get dented, bent, and misshapen if you even look at them funny. Good luck trying to clamp them somewhere, tape them together, or even put heavy stuff on them. You will end up with boards you throw in the trash after just one or two uses. SnapIt Boards by contrast are super tough and can withstand actual use for years and years. 
  4. The foamcore boards bounce light back. Even the darkest color foamcore board catches light in an annoying way that makes it look like it’s ombre or mis-colored. This is especially true when you’re using artificial light instead of daylight so lights bounce off the surface and look “off”. This may not sound like a big deal to you, but having weird lighting and streaks of light on what should be a solid color board causes a lot of unnecessary photoshopping in post. SnapIt Boards take away all the glare and bouncing light and makes for a nice, rich backdrop for all sorts of uses. 
  5. Covering the foamcore boards doesn’t work, either. Covering them requires contact paper, vinyl, or decals, all of which are expensive and typically look terrible up close. Any reasonably priced options look super cheap, which defeats the purpose because you will just have to photoshop out areas that don’t look quite right. SnapIt Boards give you an amazingly detailed board that you can use either up close or use as a background that’s slightly out of focus, with no need to photoshop. 

Logitech MX Vertical Mouse

Using the SnapIt Boards has made this whole busy holiday season so much more bearable. Instead of wasting all my time setting up my layflat boards over and over during the shoot and then photoshopping them so they aren’t lighted weird, I’ve been loving SnapIt Boards. With SnapIt Boards, you truly get the best of all worlds with a portable, washable solution that you can utilize the brackets for to set up your “studio”. 

I’ve experimented quite a bit and I love that you can light the SnapIt Boards so they are light and airy or you can darken them so they are dark and moody. And, no matter which extreme you go with, the designs and colors are amazing. Because there’s so much depth to the design, the SnapIt Boards are so versatile and can go from lighthearted to serious in just a small change of lighting. 

To buy: shop the SnapIt Boards collection here.

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