How To Connect Small Flashes To Tripods And Light Stands

January 18th, 2016

JustinClampWaldo recently asked:

…I generally do what the “Lighting for Interiors” guy does and it has taken a long time for me to even begin to get comfortable withe technique – a long learning curve as you put it.

I had been mounting the camera and my main flash on an L bracket and then mounting the bracket to the tripod. An electronic trigger is on the cameras hot shoe and it controls all the flashes including the one on the bracket. The bracket made by Quantum has a detachable handle to which the flash is mounted. This allows me to hold the light in different positions if required. But most of the time the light stays on the bracket. This bracket is just worn out from continuous use and quantum doesn’t make them any more. I’ve been looking for another bracket which is sturdy enough hold the light and be steady on the tripod or lightstand. … I wonder if you might have any recommendations. At this point I don’t care if the flash is easily detachable, I just want it to be off-camera and steady on the tripod.

What I would suggest is that you use a light stand rather than a tripod for holding your small flashes because there more handy clamps for mounting flashes on light stands than on tripods. Here are a couple of my favorites:

  1. The Justin clamp: This is a versatile little gadget that connects to the flash and to the light stand and has a spring clamp that you can also attach it to chairs, doors etc. It comes on and off the light stand quickly. It also has a rotating socket so you can move the flash around in any orientation you need to. The one I link to here is made by Manfrotto and is the top of the line and very sturdy. There are other cheaper versions of this.
  2. Flash Hot-Shoe Slave Umbrella Holder Swivel: These are made to mount umbrellas and flashes on light stands but work nicely for just putting flashes on light stands.

What is your favorite?

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5 Responses to “How To Connect Small Flashes To Tripods And Light Stands”

  • I agree with Larry’s recommendations for attaching your flashes to light stands. As for mounting them on tripods I just attach the little foot that came with the flash to the tripod’s QR plate. If you don’t have the feet then I suggest you look for the Nikon AS-19.

  • I use #2 on light stands for several reasons, light stands are more light weight, portable and cheaper. The hot shoe slave umbrella bracket (there are many different brands) are great. They are cheap (under $10) and the ability to hold the umbrella is a must. The brackets bend so you can focus the light in the direction you need. Sometimes I have to use the umbrella for real estate shoots, but I use them all the time for portrait sessions. I use a minimum of 3 flashes on lightstands plus I always carry with me 2 flashes that just sit on the foot it came with (nikon sb900) and just wrap the pocket wizard around the flashes. The quantum lights also fit on theses hot shoe brackets.

  • Check out the Frio Cold Shoe. Cheap, small and light. $13 at B&H. Add a couple of eye hooks to your tripod light stand to hold umbrella’s.

  • I purchased a 5-pack of the Frio (v2) a couple years ago. Three of them broke almost immediately even though I was being quite careful with them as I do with all my equipment, and one broke while it was just sitting there on a stand holding a flash. Luckily the flash was sturdier than the cold shoe and wasn’t destroyed when it crashed to the floor.

    The moral of the story is DON’T use cheap-ass plastic to hold your expensive equipment. 🙂

  • I use a cold shoe/umbrella mount that fits on a standard photography light stand. The ones I like are from the eBay seller “DSLRbaby”. They’re round and made entirely of aluminum except for the screw handles and they are sold singly or in pairs for about $7ea. The square ones are plastic and the ones with a ball joint just don’t stay put with an umbrella attached.

    It’s not just using a cheap-ass plastic thing to hold expensive equipment, it’s using a cheap-ass plastic thing that leads to the breakage of the cheap-ass flash right in the middle of a job or pulling your light stand out of the bag with half of the mount still attached and the other half floating around in the bottom.

    I just added a couple of all metal tri-flash holders. There have been a couple of occasions where I needed two flashes in the same place and the holders were found cheap on eBay. They were mostly bought for other things like sports, but they’re small and no problem to keep in my small flash kit.

    I love to DIY unique lighting mounts so I have also a fair stock of cold shoes. Again, all metal and purchased via sellers on eBay for around $1ea in 10 packs. The creation I use the most is a flash holder made from a cold shoe and a double bike hook bought at Home Depot. It’s perfect for holding a flash at the top of a door.

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