Securing your off-camera flash

One of the great advantages of on-camera flash is that there’s somewhere to mount your flash built-in to the camera. With off-camera flash many people start with cables, leads, radio triggers but the most important bit is how to put the flash off-camera and it stay there. Nobody has produced the self-levitating flash that just holds itself in mid-air exactly where you place it – but if they do, I want one.

Often I use the Manfrotto 026 umbrella mounts for my flashes, there’s two permanently on the lightweight stands in my easy to carry off-camera flash stand bag. Howver the 026 umbrella mounts are a bit heavy and there’s plenty of knobs to turn to get things moving. What I wanted was a simple mount that would move easily and since I’m using Speedlites with grids, gels or snoots mostly these days I don’t need the umbrella mount.

My solution is a combination of three independently useful elements.

  • Manfrotto adapter 5/8″ to 1/4″  [link]
  • Novoflex 19 mini ball head  [link]
  • Enlight Frio cold shoe  [link]
Manfrotto, Novoflex and Frio combination

Manfrotto, Novoflex & Frio

Fitting them all together makes a strong secure place to put a flash, but one that it highly flexible for positioning, with only one control to move the flash in most directions. I’ve also found that it let’s me put a flash even closer to a ceiling, but still pointing down at more of an angle than the umbrella mounts, great when trying to emulate street lights indoors.

I found all the bits at SpeedGraphic who I have bought several bits of clamps and support accessories from over recent years. I’ve got a big bag of various clamps, shiny brass bits, adapters, joints and other so called “gripware” that travels with me if I’ve got the luxury of shooting indoors, or the bag is raided for specific bits for location work.

The bit of string you see tied to the Frio, that lets me secure a bunch of Frio shoes together. Got any favoured bits of support kit that you ‘can’t leave home without’?