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What Is a Flash Bracket and When Do You Use One?

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Related course: Photography for Beginners

There are a few ways you can attach a lens to your camera. You can place a flash unit on your camera via the hot shoe connector, or you can use a flash bracket.
To find out what a flash bracket is, you need to keep reading. It might just be the thing you are looking for.
A man beside a DSLR camera with an attached flash bracket, taking a photo of a sprawling cityscape
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What Is a Flash Bracket?

A flash bracket is a device that attaches to your camera and allows you to keep your flash at a distance. By placing the flash unit on top of your camera, you have a limited angle of light.
By placing the flash on the bracket, you achieve a more attractive and consistent light. But, you are adding extra weight to an already heavy equipment base.
The bracket is typically made from a metal frame that fixes to your camera. It attaches via the tripod screw on the undercarriage of your camera. The flash unit sits on the bracket, via a cold shoe.
As the flash unit and camera are not connected in this method, you will need an extra accessory to complete the setup. This could be a dedicated TTL cord, sync cable or wireless radio transmitter.
Once set up, you will feel like a 1940s journalist or a Weegee fanatic.
A vintage film camera with a flash bracket

When to Use a Flash Bracket?

Knowing when to use a flash bracket will depend entirely on what type of photography you pursue. A flash bracket will give you predictable and consistent lighting.
Event photographers may benefit from this setup more than others. This is due to lighting conditions invariably changing between areas.
A red carpet event is a great place to use a flash bracket. This is because photographers will have no control over the ambient light. Portrait and landscape orientations are possible, and with this type of event, it is necessary.
Some photographers hold their flash units to the side of the camera when they shoot. Bruce Gilden is well known for this. It is a great way to shoot. But expect your hand to fall off after a while as the flash units only get heavier with prolonged use.
The flash bracket stops the necessity for an assistant.
Without a flash bracket, the flash unit stays with your camera. Shooting in a portrait orientation might give you a sideways shadow. Some Speedlights don’t rotate 90°.
To keep your flash consistent between horizontal and vertical images, you need to pivot the flash.
A paparazzi style shot of a female with her hand covering her face - what is a flash bracket

Recommended Flash Brackets

Custom Brackets Digital PRO M Rotating Camera Bracket

The Custom Brackets rotating camera bracket is optimized for DSLRs. This system rotates the camera around the center of the lens axis. This allows for use in portrait and landscape positions, with everything between.
With this system, you get the plate, off-camera flash cords and the QR quick release system. This is for tripod mounting.
There is also a maintenance-free roller bearing rotation system. It will stand up unaided when the fold-in legs are deployed.
Custom Brackets Digital PRO M Rotating Camera Bracket - best flash bracket

Vello QuickDraw Rotating Flash Bracket

The Vello Quickdraw is straightforward. It places the flash unit above the camera’s lens axis. it can easily rotate as you change from horizontal and vertical orientations.
This, thankfully, removes side shadows while providing a well-balanced light system.
There are five mounting holes on this platform. They accept cameras from a wide variety of sizes and shapes.
The flash arm rotates 180°, and a padded grip offers comfort, which is great for long sessions.
Vello QuickDraw Rotating Flash Bracket - camera flash bracket

Stroboframe Quick Flip 350 Flash Bracket

The Stroboframe Quick Flip is a sturdy, popular bracket with a flash arm that swings. This keeps the flash above the camera. this is beneficial for both horizontal or vertical positions.
You’ll find mount is precision machined and covered with a textured rubber material. it grips your camera tightly, meaning no anti-twist plates are necessary.
This kit includes a foldaway and very convenient kickstand with solid aluminum construction and total weight of 14 oz.
Stroboframe Quick Flip 350 Flash Bracket - camera bracket review
 

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