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Alternatives for Putting Your Flash on a Door Top

June 27th, 2017

Bob who purchased Lighting Interiors said:

One bit of advice in the book that bothered me was the suggestion to balance flashes from the tops of doors. I’ve attached my alternative in case you are in a mood for a DIY solution. (See image to the right)

Bob, you are the latest of a long line of people who have come up with great alternatives for balancing your flash on the top of a door as Scott Hargis suggests in his book. Putting the flash on top of the door is a great fast way to light small bathrooms and small bedrooms but many people have broken flashes this way. So here is a recap of ways to keep the flash from falling:

  • Manfrotto 175F-1 Clamp: This is one of my favorites because it easily clamps to the top of doors (if you are tall enough to attach it). It also easily attaches to a light stand. It also easily attaches to a light stand. You do have to be careful that you don’t make marks on the tops of the door because the spring is strong.
  • DIY door top flash holder by Mark Cornwell: This is a very inexpensive approach and very easy to make.
  • Rich Baum’s DIY clamp: Rich’s post explains nicely what you want in a clamp… won’t harm the door and has a very nice inexpensive solution. Recently Rich has changed to using a flash on a stick (monopod) so he gets the very best location for the flash.

In summary, there are many solutions for protecting your flash from falling off the door but with a little care, you can get by with just setting it on the door.

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11 Responses to “Alternatives for Putting Your Flash on a Door Top”

  • https://www.flickr.com/photos/89572435@N07/12042282724/in/dateposted-public/
    https://www.flickr.com/photos/89572435@N07/12042282604/in/dateposted-public/

    The hook is from Home Depot and the cold shoe from eBay. I’ve since put a little felt pad where the bottom contacts the door to keep from scratching the finish. Now that I typically use a hand-held remote, I mostly hold a flash in the other hand to find the best position for the flash, but this holder still comes in handy from time to time.

  • Flash on a monopod – never thought about that before – will start implementing immediately…

  • I just put a white umbrella on my lightstand and set it right behind me. Then I never have to worry about damaging client’s door.

  • Nothing beats the good old fashioned hand. Free, and I always have a spare available. I use the other hand to hit the shutter on the app on my tablet.

  • For years, I’ve used a modifed monopods for all my RE work. The goal was to have the smallest footprint, without having to handhold, or or have the LARGE footprint a lightstand or tripod has. I have built about a dozen of these things. Enough to light a monster sized project.

    I found you can mate a Monopod $15, to a Vangard VS-82 mini tripod $29, and get a stand that is 5ft high, with a 1ft footprint. Or smaller even (the legs on the mini retract). You have to remove the very bottom section of the monopod, and then remove the head and shaft from the mini tripod, and then it’s a perfect fit. Best of all, the stand is practically weightless. You do have to be more careful around it though, because the gain from the small footprint means it can tip over easy, but in time, even a monkey with a tail-swing could master it. 🙂

    Because the height is somewhat low, I have a strip of self-stick velcro on all my speedlights, which I can put a black vinyl half-wrap around to keep light off ceiling fans etc.

    These are the right fit from amazon.
    http://a.co/g08kVo5

    http://a.co/gcqS0IE

  • Tether tools has a range of products to put flashes on walls or other surfaces

  • @Suzanne, the Tether Tools mounts are on the expensive end of the spectrum and don’t look like they can be installed and removed nearly as fast as some of the other designs posted here. I wish the Jerk Stoppers were less money. Those things are a great idea.

  • I only use one back-bounced flash mounted on my camera’s hot shoe for the majority of my real estate work. Multiple light setups are reserved for commercial clients. “A” for effort to anyone who’s running around shooting real estate with door mounted flashes, multiple flashes, light stands, etc.

  • I use none of the above – although a close variation of the hand held. While I did try the door mount, I found it time consuming to put on the special mount, limiting for optimal positioning particularly in bathrooms with mirrors, and ultimately settled on what I already had set-up. I do set up one flash with the shoe stand that came with it, typically used in adjacent rooms for lighting so could hand hold that. Typically, I hand hold the lighting stand with the flash attached to it. While physical placement in tight spaces may be limited to front of camera and in camera view, hand held it becomes an extension that can snake past the camera. Thanks to pixels being cheap, I can take multiple shots to determine the optimal position to eliminate burnout/shadows in mirrors, fans or lights etc. Occasionally will have to clone out a small portion of the light stand at the top of a doorframe showing in a mirror, or blend 2 shots to eliminate burnout areas as optimal placement wasn’t possible.

  • Hey Everyone, I’ve been working on getting these custom brackets done from my nephew for some time and finally got around to it. We are at the near end of testing and final mold. Any input or questions would be great.

    Please take a look here. https://www.flickr.com/photos/matteostallone/35740830372/in/dateposted-public/

  • @Matthew – looks great!

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