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Standing Tall with the Head Brace

Dale Wilson ambrotype antique collodion dale wilson head brace headbrace historical photo processes pictureology studio studio equipment wetplate

Living quite a distance removed from the North American major population centres is a mixed blessing.  It also comes with challenges, such as accessing goods and services required for making wet plates.

With that in mind I set out to design a head brace that was not only functional, but would also be light enough to not require a second mortgage in shipping costs.



Our head brace went through several versions before I was finally happy with the product. It is a head brace I have tested and use in my studio.

The first realization was that if most photographers already have light stands and grips in their studio, they only require the head brace and not the stand.  Therefore, I designed the brace to be attached to any heavy light stand using an Impact Grip Head. If you don’t have a grip head, we recommend the KCP-200B available through B&H Photo in New York.  If you also require a heavy light stand, the A2018FCB would be a good choice. It also is available from B&H Photo.

In our testing we did not find a need to have a heavy cast iron stand, however we can see where those used to a heavy base would have challenges adapting to a lighter stand. When we used the brace el fresco we tossed a sandbag on the stand feet for added stability; however, we still don’t believe they were necessary.

The reason this light head brace works is because of the unique downward angle, it lowers the centre of balance. The primary reason for the downward bend, however, was to position the stand and grip head below the shoulders of the subject. By so doing it is less challenging to hide the hardware, and thus provides more flexibility and versatility when posing the sitter.

We also think it is fun that each head brace is hand forged by a local blacksmith using repurposed farm equipment. This head brace is a mix of traditional and contemporary.  

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  • Mat le

    ignore my last comment!

  • Mat le

    Hello, do you currently have one available for sale? if so, how much and do you know the approximate shipping cost?

    Thank you!

  • Dale le

    Hi Cary,
    Apologies for long delay. No excuses.
    Yes, the hand forged head brace is in our inventory.
    Thank you for your enquiry.

  • Cary le

    Are you still selling these?

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