Camera flash bracket: what you need to know before getting one
Attaching a flash to your camera is as simple as sliding your external flash into the camera’s hot shoe. But for more freedom in your lighting, a camera flash bracket can do wonders.
Using external flash units is one way to elevate your images. It can be directed towards the subject or bounced off the ceiling for a softer look. However, having it mounted on the hot shoe can limit your lighting angles. During these times, a camera flash bracket is a huge help.
What is a flash bracket?
A flash bracket is an accessory you can attach to your camera plate to keep your camera flash away from the hot shoe. The external flash connects to the bracket's cold shoe. You may then use a flash sync cord or a remote trigger to use your flash.
With a flash bracket, you can have a more flexible flash setup. Despite having the flash mounted on your camera, you can control the angle and the direction of the flash.
However, using a flash bracket adds extra weight to your camera.
Flash brackets are usually made of metal. But some manufacturers like ProMediaGear prefer aircraft-grade aluminum to reduce weight while maintaining durability.
When should you use a camera flash bracket?
Not all photographers benefit from a flash bracket. Obviously, you will not use one if you are shooting landscapes or wildlife. The main users are event photographers, portrait photographers, and in some instances, street photographers. But that does not mean you could not use one. Here are some of the benefits of using a camera flash bracket and when you should use one.
Fully controllable lighting
If you are shooting events, the flash bracket provides consistent lighting all throughout the occasion. Despite having rapidly changing lights, you can rely on your flash to provide the lighting you need.
Direct the flash lighting
With a flash bracket installed, you will have more freedom in the direction of your flash. It also helps to maintain the same lighting whenever you shift from portrait to landscape. Without a flash bracket, doing so will change the angle of the flash.
External flash units only rotate 90-degrees to the left or right. Some models can rotate 180-degrees. But that is not enough to fully control the direction of light.
No need for an assistant
There are photographers who love holding their flash instead of using a bracket. That is understandable as every photographer has their own style. However, if you are going to go this route, you might end up getting tired easier. The longer the shoot is, then the longer that you have to hold your flash. It might feel easy at first. But as the event goes on, then you will feel sore after.
Easy shooting in portrait mode
Shooting vertically with an external flash attached turns the flash unit sideways. From then on, you can only tilt it up or down, or further to the side.
Shooting with the flash on the side will result in subjects with shadows on the side. That is not the ideal result unless intended to be. Tilting the flash upwards to eliminate the shadows and red-eye may work. But it may still end up with side shadows that are angled downwards.
With a flash bracket, you can solve this problem. You will have the option to keep the flash on the top despite shooting in portrait mode.
Bouncing your flash on the ceiling results in softer lighting. However, not every place has a ceiling low enough to bounce on. Sometimes, the ceiling has a different texture or color that will affect the image.
With a flash bracket on then bouncing it on the ceiling, or through a flash modifier, will end up with a more flattering image.
If you do not have a bracket, you can bounce the flash to the wall to diffuse the light. But it does not guarantee great results. It might soften the light, but the side shadows will remain.
What flash bracket should you get?
There are countless camera flash brackets available today. There are models made for specific cameras, but there are universal models to choose from as well.
ProMediaGear Boomerang Flash Bracket
Now if you are on the hunt for a new flash bracket, then the ProMediaGear Boomerang Flash Bracket is worth checking out.
For only $299.95, you can have a flash bracket that easily rotates as you change from landscape to portrait mode. Besides, the mount is fully adjustable so you will not have to worry about the specific camera you have.
The Boomerang’s cold shoe fits all brands. Whether it is from Canon, Nikon, Sony or third-party brands like Godox or Nissin, the cold shoe fits it perfectly. Even the large Profoto lights are compatible.
The BBX Boomerang Flash Bracket is made of aircraft-grade aluminum with professional-grade bearings for smooth adjustments. It comes with a ProMediaGear PBX3 plate by default, which does not cover the battery compartment. But you can also choose camera-specific plates for cheap.
However, the great thing about this type of bracket is it works well with units with battery grip attached.
One of the issues with a camera flash bracket is the added weight. Now that is not a problem as it only weighs 432 grams.
For cameras with external battery grips, or built-in vertical grips, the BBGv2 Boomerang Flash Bracket is for you. It has the same features as the original Boomerang bracket, but with a higher base.
Because of its build quality, the flash brackets can support portable softboxes from Profoto or something of similar size.
ProMediaGear Boomerang Dual Flash Bracket system
For advanced users with multiple flash setups, the ProMediaGear BBG2J Boomerang Dual Flash Bracket system is for you.
Having one flash bracket is already great, but why stop there if you can double it and have your own clamshell lighting?
This flash bracket expands the capabilities of your camera. While the BBX Boomerang fits on the right side, this dual flash bracket system attaches to both sides of your camera.
There are a lot of possibilities with this dual flash system. Attach two Speedlites with different color gels and you can play around with the results.
When shooting portraits, you can attach a large softbox on top while the bottom flash serves as a fill flash. This setup eliminates shadows and gives a pleasant-looking light to your subject.
The dual flash system comes in with the PBX3 Universal Plate as well.
Boomerang Flash Bracket accessories you should get
Besides the standard cold shoe mount for your flash, there are multiple accessories you can add to your ProMediaGear Boomerang Flash Bracket.
The first one on the list is the ProMediaGear BLSA Spigot for the Profoto B2, Elinchrome Quadra flash head, or something of similar size.
If you need a higher placement for your flash, the ProMediaGear BLSA5A adds five inches to your standard setup.
Moreover, the ProMediaGear BLS3 Tilting 1-axis adapter allows you to direct your Speedlite up or down. It is a huge help especially now that external flash units have a limited tilt down motion.
You can also mix and match these accessories to create your own setup. You can combine the BLS3 and the BLSA5A accessories for a longer tilting mount. Mixing and matching the equipment all depends on your creativity.
Do you need a camera flash bracket?
Now that you know what a flash bracket is, it is up to you to decide if you need one. If you are shooting in places that you have no ambient light control, then a flash bracket is worth getting.
But if you shoot in places where you can work at your own pace and set up your own strobes or lights, you probably do not need one. Though that does not mean that you cannot own one. Even if your usage is limited, then having a camera flash bracket is a great tool to have when the need arises.