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What Are Some Different Ways You’ve Secured Flashes to Door Tops?

Published: 29/06/2019

Author: Tony Colangelo

One of the first “tactics” that many, if not most, of us learned when we started to use flash, was to secure a flash to its kickstand and then place it carefully on the top of a door, in whatever room we were shooting. It’s a great way to add flash to a smallish space and I’m guessing it’s become a constant within many real estate shooters’ tool-kits. As valuable as this technique is, the first time a flash falls on the floor from the top of a door and crashes into several pieces when it hits the floor, we scurry to find new and better ways to ensure that the next flash won’t suffer the same fate.

If you’ve been a regular PFRE reader, you’ve seen a number of different solutions presented over the years. Some are geared for those that want a ready-made gadget that’s specifically designed for the task and easy to use. The one that comes to mind right off the top is the Manfrotto 175F-1 Clamp. This tool attaches to the top of the door using a spring clamp. While many shooters have come to rely on this device, one of the downsides to it is that it can leave marks on the door. Another useful and less expensive product that can be used to securely place a flash on a door top is to use a Gorilla Flexible Tripod. There are also a whole host of DIY solutions, including an oldie-but-a-goodie from Rich Baum and his DIY Clamp.

I was wondering if there were any other new DIY inventions or ready-made products that folks could recommend. Thanks!

Tony Colangelo is a residential and commercial photographer, as well as a photography coach, based in Victoria, BC, Canada. He is a long-time contributor to PFRE and is the creator of The Art & Science of Great Composition tutorial series.

6 comments on “What Are Some Different Ways You’ve Secured Flashes to Door Tops?”

  1. @Tony C.
    We need a good way to post photos for something like this. I built a top of door mount with a bike hook and a cold shoe. I had thought about a clamp, but there just isn't a reason to fasten the speedlight that securely if you plan to just place it, make a photo and take it down. With mine, I just mount the flash to it and hang it from the top of the door. I use a Pony clamp to adjust the angle if I need.

    A non-pimp link for the Manfrotto is: "https://www.manfrottospares.com/175f-1-parts.html". I really hate those tiny ball mounts. Even you you tighten the snot out of them, they often don't hold.

  2. @ Ken Brown,

    "We need a good way to post photos for something like this"

    Good call! it's actually a feature we are working on for the PFRE 2.0 site!

  3. Bogen Superclamps.
    Not cheap, but it will support at least ten pounds and not leave a mark on whatever you are putting the clamp on. and if you have lights that heavy you need to reconsider your equipment.

  4. Hold the flash in your hand, high over your head and aimed behind you at the juncture of the two walls. It won't fall off the door. The only way you can harm your flash is to let it slip out of your hand. No extra equipment, fast and easy.

  5. I use a tether tools product. Here is the link (not my affiliate link) . https://www.tethertools.com/product/rapidmount-slx-3-pack-bundle/
    We have been using these since we beta tested them years ago when they first came out. The other thing we do sometimes is use an over the door hook device from bed bath and beyond. We stick it on backwards so the hook is on the wrong side of the door. We then have velcro attached to the flat side of the hook and the flash. It works really great because you can slide the hook left and right. We have an extender to raise and lower the flash as well. A piece of flat plastic that attaches to the hook by velcro and then attach the flash to the plastic with velcro. This allows us up and down range in height as well.

  6. @Brandon
    @Tony C
    I made some new photos of my top of door hook today while on a job. I can send the images if you want to make a small gallery of DIY mounts.

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