POLL: (yes/no) Do you use a flash bracket and why?

Discussion in 'Wedding and Event' started by rick_shanahan, Aug 29, 2008.

  1. I always thought I would love to use one, but now that I have one, I find it cumbersome, heavy, and unwieldy. Do
    I really need this thing? Please reply if you do or do not use one, and also why...Thank you.
     
  2. No. Same reason as you have.
     
  3. I use one when it makes sense and not when it doesn't. I have many and I've made my own from various parts. Sorry to screw up your poll.
     
  4. Like Nadine, I use when when I need to. If I'm indoors and can bounce the flash, I don't use one. If I'm outside, I might use one to give the flash a little separation. However, the one I have isn't adjustable and doesn't give more than an inch difference with a camera grip attached.
     
  5. Directly, it keeps subjects' eyes from turning red or purple. I use it for weddings, directly or bouncing off walls for soft lighting. It
    helps me see people better than having the flash camera mounted. With zoom tuning, it creates a vignette. But I generally don't use
    them. Weight doesn't bother me. Check out some of those people wielding hi-end video stuff! So, no.
     
  6. hate it, hate it, hate it, but have to use it sometimes if I don't want the side shadows.
     
  7. I use one whenever I use flash.

    If you are concerned about weight and bulk, take a look at the RRS wedding pro bracket .

    It's the lightest, most versatile, and stowable bracket I've seen.

    http://reallyrightstuff.com/flash/04.html
     
  8. You don't mention which bracket you use. They really do come in all size and weights. Look at the Stroboframe VH 2000 Stroboflip Flash Rotator. This is THE lightest bracket made. Will barely add any weight at all and easy to use.
     
  9. I use it when I need flash. I have the camera flip model. Love the fact that the flash stays in one place. It's heavy at first but you get used to it. I used to haul a broadcast camera around for local TV. It's not that heavy. Nice handle to hld while your waiting. Second camera has prime. It hangs off right shoulder. Would not shoot events with out it.
     
  10. I have one and use it. I was introduced to the wonders of the Stroboframe by a former boyfriend who was an art photographer. It's particularly handy if you hang an external battery from one of the tripod mounts.

    For what its worth, people seem to pay more attention to you when your camera looks bigger. To many non-photogs, even an EOS 400D looks "professional," on a bracket with an external flash. :)
     
  11. I don't use one but should in some instances. When doing those vertical shots you have to figure out a way to minimize the hard shadows and uneven light you can get. I usually try to bounce the flash behind, to the side or use the creative lighting that the un-natural flash position creates as part of the image.
     
  12. I've never owned one, and never will. I use the Gary Fong Lightsphere pretty religiously, but occasionally will just bounce off walls or ceilings. With the Lightsphere, you don't need a bracket because of the way it works. I use it sometimes on the flash mounted ON the camera, but often holding the camera off to the side with a sync cord (my flash does wireless, but it's IR, so not as consistent in firing that way). Whether the flash is on the camera shoe or handheld, you really don't need the bulk of a bracket, and can hold it high enough to control shadows. Plus, if you watch what you're doing and don't shoot people against walls, you won't have shadows to worry about anyway. I turn them down a hallway or into the room to shoot them, so shadows disappear.

    In my experience and opinion, brackets are passe. They do serve a purpose, but there are many tools and techniques that eliminate the need for one.
     
  13. of course, you get used to the weight, it dimished harsh shadows, and eliminates red eye. J
     
  14. Well - I guess I am going against the grain - I love my bracket - I love carring my camera on it (I don't use a camera strap) and I love that it flips - I like the stablity that I get using a bracket and think I get sharper shots because it helps me steady myself... II use the same bracket as Dawn above I attache my flash and I am set to go for the entire wedding - if I need the flash I use it - if not... I turn it off... I don't have to worry about shadows or red eye...
     
  15. I use one, but I sort of have to, because I'm using Quantum flash units. Once you get the feel of using a bracket my feeling is the photos look a bit better. If I were to use a Canon flash or a Nikon flash it's harder to bounce vertical shots resulting with a chance of red eye and harsh shadows.
     
  16. Like Nadine, I use one when it makes sense. For awhile I stopped using one and used various Fong solutions, but I don't
    like that for everything ... in fact I'm liking it less and less.

    My main use for a flip bracket now is with a wireless Nikon Commander unit and a SB900 ... PLUS a Hensel Strobe Wizard
    radio transmitter to remotely control monoheads. The Hensel radio system allows you to increase or decrease power to
    each head independently at the camera. So I needed a place to mount the transmitter, and re-engineered a Stroboframe flip
    bracket to do that job.
     
  17. I almost always use a camera flip flash bracket at weddings. It keeps the flash above the lens, and the shadows directly behind and below the subject where God intended them to be. :)
     
  18. No, I never want to use flash and never like the flashed photos, even a very few times when the shot is important and when I have to capture handheld wiothout much light then the pop-up flash is fine for me, I sill not bought any additional flash. Studio light setup is different thing.
     
  19. No. I looked at several but never felt comfortable with any of them. A 580 EX with a Gary Fong Light Sphere attached works well for me and gives me the feel and control of the camera I want. Switching from horizontal to vertical with the light sphere on is a simple movement.
     
  20. I almost always use my camera flip model and it allows me to position the omnibounce at the correct angle/position for bounce and fill. My second camera doesn't go on a bracket and it's used when I want a different lens, or for available light, or with the omnibounce taking horizontal shots. It's also true that Uncle Bob rarely shows up at a wedding with his camera mounted to a bracket.
     
  21. I always use a flash bracket. Its not a flip model, I hated using that one, its just a simple cheap video light bracket. I still bounce when I want since its not a flip bracket your not fighting the flipping thing to angle the head on the flash.

    Its all personal prefrence I guess
    Dan
     
  22. Pankaj, you can create somewhat studio-like lighting on location with 2-3 remote flashes. When I use on-camera flash, it's
    always with a bracket. The bracket improves vertical shots by repositioning the shadow to where it is not as obstructive.

    When I have the possibility, I position three flashes and use an SU-800 on the camera to fire the flashes. This is because I
    am used to available light which doesn't change when I move the camera; using remote flashes with no on-camera flash is
    easier for me to understand the results from shot to shot. Unfortunately as the action changes place, I don't always have
    time to move the lights. I'm working on it ;-)
     
  23. I do not use a flash bracket. I have several, and all are bulky and complete with dangling cables - like a Red Skelton skit. I get excellent results using a diffusion cap (e.g., Sto-Fens) on a shoe flash for candids, and monolights on stands for formal group photos.
     
  24. Yes, always. Back in the days when I used 35mm, I would often remove the flash from the bracket to get better depth and
    a different feel, less like a flash shot. But now that I shoot with a 6x7, just the weight and cumbersomeness(?) of the
    camera/flash combination make such manipulation impractical. I am diligently studying ways to use my auto strobonar
    more effectively, bounce flash, diffusion, etc.
    Mike Best
     
  25. If you use a Lightsphere, bounce card, or bounce the flash, you won't have redeye to worry about. Any time you point
    a flash directly at a subject, redeye is a possibility. Deja vu, this has been discussed so many times here before...
     
  26. No flash bracket here. Unless it is very unwieldly, a bracket still won't get a flash far enough from the lens axis to provide exceptional lighting.


    Eric
     
  27. Nope. Got one, never use it. Since learning how to use a better bounce card, I find that simpler is better. There are situations where I can see using it, like at an outdoor reception where the bounce card and Stofen fail. But even then, light is usually so good that redeye is uncommon with standard flash anyway.

    Dave
     
  28. Yes & No.

    When I bought my EOS 1, I also bought the 430EZ flash to go along with it. How often have I used the 430EZ in the past 18 years?
    Maybe 20 to 30 rolls of film.

    When I owned my 20D, I did find that I did use it's built in flash quite often.

    Now that I have my 5D, in place of the 20D, I'm not in a huge hurry to the buy the 580EX II.

    Reason, same as you, to cumbersome and heavy. But for some strange reason, I don't want to purchase a smaller flash to use the 5D.

    If I'm going to need a flash, I'll just pull out my EOS 1 and use the 430EZ.
     
  29. A picture is worth a thousand words. Here is an example of a flip bracket used for a specific reason. This is a Stroboframe flip bracket modified to use with both a Nikon SB900 that's iTTL controlled by a Nikon SU Commander in the cameras hot shoe ... ... and a Hensel Radio sender to independently control up to 3 mono heads from the camera so I can adjust separate heads or all of them at once without going to the heads to do it. The mono can be set up at receptions to provide background lighting, which is how I use them. (the sender is mounted upside down to keep it out of the way and is connected by means of a sync cord to the camera's sync port.) The SB900 is up high to drop shadows behind the subject, or can be swiftly removed and held anywhere that I want without the restrictions of cord attachments. It can also be turned off if I want to just use the Hensel Monos alone for directional or dramatic back lighting. Because of the Quick release connections, it all breaks down in seconds, so the Strobo can be set aside while using the camera alone for available light shots.
    00QgPz-68083584.jpg
     
  30. Yes and no. Too bulky but when the lighting isn't very good or the mood doesn't warrant it, I use my 580Z. I prefer not to use one though so that makes my response no.
     
  31. Yes.

    When I was in high school I shot a lot of sports photos for the yearbook and school paper. Most of which was under stadium lights or indoors with poor lighting. Having the flash on a bracket got rid of the "alien eyes" look. This was B&W film days.

    One thing I learned real quick was paying attention to what is going on around you is very important. Getting plowed into is not fun when you are lugging around a bunch of gear. Also after a couple of hours of holding up the camera arms also became very tired.

    So the solution was to change my shooting style. I started setting the bracket on my left shoulder and focused with my left eye. I also kept my right eye open so I could catch any approaching danger. The added bonus is seeing exactly what I caught on film when the flash went off. Of course this was long before chimping :) Holding the camera on my shoulder also created a more stable platform. Back then flash sync was 1/60th for most cameras. Camera shake was always an issue.

    I still shoot with both eyes open. Makes it much easier to catch squints and look aways when taking pics of people. Now that I'm somewhat older the stable shoulder is still important.
     
  32. Since we're sharing images, here is my latest cobbled bracket--in this post.

    http://www.photo.net/photography-lighting-equipment-techniques-forum/00QUgW
     
  33. Definitely! Using it in the hot shoe can only yield less than professional/acceptable results, unless it's used for fill-light outdoors.

    I've used a Jones circular bracket for over 25 years (yes, the same one! It's indestructible!). It keeps my flash directly above the lens axis,
    10-12" (in vertical AND horizontal shooting), prevents red eye, practically eliminates shadows or at least pushes them down behind the
    subject with insignificance, is easy to hold with my Nikon pistol grip attached and no one else seems to have one (making it a great
    conversation piece!).

    Richard
     
  34. Yes, In most of the venues where I shoot the ambient lighting really is terrible. I like the camera flip with a
    great big Qflash mounted on it that I bounce most of the time. It has the effect of raising the ambient light
    levels. When the flash way up over the lens you never have to worry about unnatural shadows or red eye.
     
  35. No, unless absolutely necessary. I would rather use faster glass.
     
  36. I broke my stroboframe bracket last weekend and tonight broke my back up I used to use them all the time then started using a Gary Fong lightsphere which I love. So when i broke this one it was no biggie. However my back is killing me from using my new f 2.8 70-300mm. I was using it on a tripod during the cermony -no flash and used it hand held for some formals and reception stuff and my bakc hurts soooo bad. That thing is heavy! But I got some great images!
     
  37. How did you break 2 brackets? Hitting the bride over the head? hehe

    I actually broke one bracket, a Jones bracket that I dropped. Since then I've only used Custom and Just Right brackets. They are heavy which can add stress to ones shoulders and back.

    Maybe I'm too darn picky, but I don't like the Fongs. To me the skin tones are off, favoring red tones and I hate color correcting in Photoshop. Takes too much time. Because of this I'm still using brackets and I like the color tones of Quantums. I surely would love to lighten the load, but for now I'm staying with what works best for me.

    This was for sure interesting in reading all of the different responses.
     
  38. Sure the flash and additional support bracket and handle can be quite cumbersome but it does make a difference. Even outdoors the flash helps fill in all those little shadows that hide much detail. Take a few shots with and without, after that I bet you'll always have your flash at hand.


    -Joe
     
  39. I mostly (>90%) use a bracket when using flash. Coming from the days of shooting medium format, bracket and Metz 60 and battery pack, a Canon 5D with 580 flash on a bracket is childs play. I guess it's what you get used to.
     
  40. I have a cheap L bracket that I use sometimes. I think it improves steadiness a little. I crop verticals out of horizontal shots- saves the bother of tipping the camera and flipping the flash. If you have a 10 mp camera the short dimension of the frame is about 2600 pixels- enough for an 8x10 in my opinion.
     
  41. I use a stroboframe camera flip whenever i shoot weddings or outdoor portraits. i really don't have a problem using it and
    there isn't a better substitute for verticals with flash.
     
  42. Take a few shots with and without, after that I bet you'll always have your flash at hand.
    No. Hand-held or camera-mounted flash creates an unnatural "needle-pierced" catch light and glare in the skin, unless you're using the flash with a large reflector. I would prefer to wait until the subject is looking into the (natural) light in such a way that the light fills the eyes a bit. Or use umbrellas or other large reflectors. But never a small hand-held flash for outdoor shots. YMMV
     
  43. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    Ilkka, can you show us a few of your wedding shots that demonstrate this technique.
     
  44. Ilkka, unless I read your post wrong are you saying you don't use flash? I too would like to see some samples.
     
  45. Bob,

    It was the darnest thing I just picked it up and heard a snap. The piece that holds the flash head has a lip where you can adjust the screw that part. It snapped just as I was picking the camera up off the pew in the middle of formals. I laid the camera down so it wouldnt fall over and I guess the wieght of the flash or something snapped it. The first one I broke last weekend? Same break same spot and I have no idea... I have had both brakets for about two years.
     
  46. Tiffany, wow, weird story. Thanks for responding. I'm glad your camera didn't fall off and hit the floor. That would not have been a pretty sight, trying to set up another camera while the people are waiting during the very limited time given for the formals.

    Just for my own curiosity what brand were/are you using?
     
  47. Tiffany, wow, weird story. Thanks for responding. When my old Jones bracket broke I was using Hasselblads then and the Hassy body was dangling from the Metz 60 CT4 sync cord, which seemed like a long time, but it was probably less then a second. Had just enough time to get my right hand under the broken camera bracket and catch the camera.

    I'm glad your camera didn't smack the floor.That would not have been a pretty sight, trying to set up another camera while the people are waiting during the very limited time given for the formals.

    Just for my own curiosity what brand were/are you using?
     
  48. Bob, what I was trying to say I don't use direct flash for outdoor fill. I do use flash in the studio and for
    indoor photos as in those situations I can create a large light source. I won't post wedding images online (as I
    haven't made, and won't ask for such agreements from the subjects) but I can look up some of my other images to
    demonstrate my point.
     
  49. Professional Photographers have been using outdoor flash ever since there was a flash.

    See thread on "OUTDOOR FLASH" : http://www.photo.net/nikon-camera-forum/00N6qH
     
  50. Bob, perhaps you could clarify the issue you say the Fong LS is giving you with color tones. Are you using the amber dome or white dome? Are you using auto WB or a tungsten WB? Have you tried adjusting your color balance in camera? I'm just trying to think of some things to help. Generally, the Fong device is just a white diffuser, and the amber dome colors it a bit toward tungsten, so when you use the tungsten WB on your camera, colors come out more neutral. I'm actually experimenting with some very light amber gels on the lens of my flash with the LS in place to better match the tungsten tone for indoor shots. I'd like to warm them up just enough, but not too much.
     
  51. A few images to illustrate my point. They're runners, but equally the point is valid for wedding images shot outdoors in similar conditions. A) Image with no flash, natural light doesn't reach the eyes. The darkness is accentuated by the rain reducing the reflected light from the ground B) Fill flash used. Eye area shadow is opened up but there is a needle-point like catch light. If teeth are visible, they show similar direct reflections from the flash. I find this terribly ugly. C) An example of the same situation but the photographer moved to a different position and waited for the subject to look into the light provided by the sky. No flash. Natural catch light, natural shadows. The differences between A and C here are basically caused by the choice of camera position, subject position, and timing, though the subject is different in all the cases here (doesn't affect the general point). If outdoor fill flash is used, I would think one should make it so that it creates a natural catch light and no unpleasant reflections from the skin. In image D, I have put a crop of a portrait lit with umbrellas, though this is shot indoors. The catch light is now comparable with the size of the natural light catch light in C) but the brightness is too high compared to natural light; but this is due to the fact that it's the main light here, whereas in an outdoor situation the reflector or flash would play a smaller role and display a dimmer catch light. I'll experiment as I would gladly simulate result C) with flash, if possible.
    00QhnN-68607584.jpg
     
  52. Steve, the clear fong with a white dome. I've messed with the custom WB and set the color to 6400. I still can't get true whites on the dresses and decent skin tones. Like I said I'm probably too picky, Probably too much of a purist. I also played around with the Fong experimenting with adding white inside the dome and also tried several different ideas to get the color to my liking. All of the ideas failed. So for now I'm stuck with the heavy Quantums.

    Also Steve, even on Fongs videos one can see how the skin tones turn warm. I guess the people that use this like it, because Gary probably has made millions off of this.
     
  53. http://store.garyfonginc.com/ls2-p.html Click on the video,
     
  54. No I'd rather do 5 red eye corrections than carry that thing around. I carry two cameras all the time and 2 flash brackets would just be to much.
     
  55. Bob--what flash were you using with the Lightsphere? I've found that the 580EX does give yellowish color balance, not only with the Lightsphere. I shoot RAW so it doesn't really bother me. However, my Metz 54MZ4-i gives very neutral color balance most of the time, even with the Lightsphere. I have the clear version. I think it is more a result of the typical white balance used by the flash/camera than the Lightsphere.
     
  56. NO >> Once in my life though, .......anyone wish to buy my PRESS T Stroboframe :)

    I just simply move your subjects further from the background .
     
  57. C Jo, moving subjects isn't always an option with candid work.

    I cannot tell you how many Reception Halls place the Bridal table on a raised platform up against a wall ... resulting in ugly drop shadows unless you get the flash up high and centered over the
    lens.

    The Fong doesn't solve this issue ... especailly in the portrait orientation where it's off to the side rather than centered above the lens.
     
  58. Bob, you may feel you're being picky, but in the market and price range you work in, you have a right to be! What
    Nadine says about that flash being a little warm may have some bearing on it. I've never shot with a Metz flash, so I
    can't speak about their color temps, but she may have something there. But I don't think the Fong is warming up the
    shots at all with the white dome. That's about as neutral as you can get to my thinking. I actually want to warm it up
    a bit more on my rig, but you and I aren't shooting with the same cameras. With mine, I find that AWB gives me the
    best color balance in indoor tungsten lighting with the Fong and amber dome. On mine, the tungsten setting even
    with a plus 3 compensation is too cool.
     
  59. I use a Strobo flip and like it but I use it only occasionally. I don't find the weight and bulk to be an issue since the handle actually comes in handy when toting it around. If I am inside, I usually bounce at 1.0 EV with no Strobo and get great results. If the room is especially dark, though, I will use a camera mounted flash at reduced power for fill and then mount another flash on the bracket for bounce. Unfortunately, this makes the rig very heavy but it's a good setup if you need to be mobile. Outside, though, I almost always use the bracket and get the flash up as high as I can.
     
  60. MARC :: Yes, difficult to avoid the shadow with candids > especially with a crowded room .....I try to
    shoot only horizontals and use a Quantum w/ diffuser and a large bounce (white reflective) card > softest shadow
    possible.<p>
    I believe the modern bride realizes the shadow is a product of the flash > they have experienced the same harsh
    lines with their cameras. Nothing new --it's physics :) <p>
    I do think someday my cameras' shoe ~~ will leave my
    cameras mount ~ from the weight of the Quantum strobe locked in place. But, too much for me to carry around a
    stroboframe. Remember I use the ^^ one camera-one lens ^^ approach.
     
  61. Nadine I was using both the 580 EX and the 580 EX 2. Maybe I should look into the Metz. Can you use pocket wizards with the Metz or do you plug the sync cord into the camera body? Thanks Nadine. Oh I do shoot raw, and batch process the color temp, but it still takes time, which I'm avoiding using the Quantums.
     
  62. Yeah Bob--those 580EXs do go yellowish in auto white balance mode. Using that same auto white balance mode, my Metz is pretty neutral. Given white ceilings and walls, I don't touch the white balance in RAW conversion. The Metz is like the 580EX (original) when it comes to use with a camera--it has a hot shoe but no PC sync port. I have had Michael Bass install a PC sync port in my SCA module, to trigger a wireless transmitter/
     
  63. Think I'll get one and try it out. Thanks Nadine.
     
  64. Nadine, I just ordered one! You should go into sales! Are you using your's a lot? I remember you were using the Subpak 120J
     
  65. I use my Sunpak 120Js as off camera lights nowadays. I do use the Metz 54 a lot, even though I have a 580EX. I'll e-mail you the low down on the flash.
     
  66. Thank you!
     
  67. Nadine

    I'd love to hear or read your review on the Metz 54.

    Thanks
    Russ
     
  68. I use the Custom Brackets Digital Pro. Honesty, in most situations where I can't bounce flash I've found it very useful as it gives a much more realistic look to my images. True, it is bulky and cumbersome, but I think that the inconvenience is a reasonable trade-off. The only thing that I don't really like about the bracket itself is that you need a Phillips screwdriver to attach/detach the camera, so you can't just snap it on and off if you don't need it.
     
  69. Anyone looking for a Fong ( 580 EX) and a Stroboframe Press T.....email me .
     
  70. I have custom designed my own brackets and camera support systems for years. I had a streak where I was using the fong modifier for most of my journalistic approches but I've scaled back to using a bracket about 25% of the time. When I'm in a journalistic shoot I use fill flash on most shots so a comfortable & functionable bracket is a must.
     
  71. Bob,

    It was a strobo frame 350 flip bracket. I had it for a few years and will get the replacement parts. I think it lasted a long time considering the wear and tear.
     
  72. Don''t use a bracket any more! Back when I was using direct flash the bracket made sense because it kept the shadow
    from framing the subject in an unnatural way. Now that I bounce or shoot direct from an angle, I hand hold the flash all the
    time. Instead of using the swivel on the flash head I just turn my wrist and point the thing where I want it to go. If I use a
    pocket wizard in tandem with the flash, I have velcro attached to stick them together. I find my way of doing it a lot less
    cumbersome and "organic" that sad I do use a pouch/holster for the flash when I need my hands free. It is kind of
    liberating not to have that great big rig assembled all the time.
     
  73. I agree. I always bring my bracket to weddings but have never ended up using it. It's heavy and awkward. I bounce off of the ceiling, walls or a white card taped to the flash.
     

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