Speedlight and brolly combo

Oct 31, 2008 | Flash, Studio | 12 comments

I’ve been asked the question “How do you use a Speedlight with a brolly”. Well I thought I’d share a few pictures of my system taken on my new Canon G10 with an STE2 fitted to trigger the flash.

Even illumination of the whole umberella canopy is the aim of the game.

Even illumination of the whole umberella canopy is the aim of the game.

I use this rig for interior portraits that require a quick setup. Outside shots require a calm day and the Speedlight soon runs out of puff. Forget using it on a sunny day outside when taking full length portraits. I use my Broncolor Mobil kit at 24 times the power of a Speedlight for those shots.

An Arri stand, a Manfrotto hinged bracket designed to take a brolly, a standard 16mm spigot, a manfrotto camera support and my usual flash bracket.

In the picture is the top of an Arri stand, a Manfrotto hinged bracket designed to take a brolly, a standard 16mm spigot, a Manfrotto camera support and my usual flash bracket. See the separate post for details.

A close up view of the bracket system showing my 580EX2 flash. Note the flash infra red receptor can be angled to face the camera in any position.

A close up view of the bracket system showing my 580EX2 flash. Note the flash infra red receptor can be angled to face the camera in any position.

Keeping the flash unit at a distance from the brolly allows an even illumination. I've used a 28" translucent white brolly

Keeping the flash unit at a distance from the brolly allows an even illumination and balances the weight distribution on the stand.

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I've used a 28" translucent white brolly here. Silver brollies tend to have a more uneven light pattern when used in this way with Speedlights.

12 Comments

  1. damien

    Hi Ion,

    Beware of metal contacts shorting out Speedlight pins. I now use the insulated Hama cold shoe mentioned earlier in these comments.

    Cheers,

    Damien.

    Reply
  2. damien

    Hi Tim,

    Thanks for your question. Yes, a radio trigger on the wrong frequencies can play havoc with local taxi firms and get triggered by erranious transmissions. That is why it is best to buy your system in the country you are going to use it in.

    These anomolies would be fairly unlikely however and radio triggering is by far the most reliable. I have used lots of types and I have found the Pocket Wizzard to be the best. Another system worth lookig at is the Elinchrom skyport, it gets rave reviews.

    One day we might be able to buy Radio Poppers in the UK. When it happens we can all celebrate because radio TTL will be available to all.

    Don’t rule out the system from Quantum. It is the only fully featured radio driven TTL system available and it works well with a Quantum flash unit.

    Most radio systems work at ranges exceeding 300m. The cheap ones on Ebay work up to about 10m for a while but soon fail to work at all. I’ve tried several and experienced a very high failure rate.

    I hope this helps,

    Damien.

    Reply
  3. Tim

    Hello Damien, I have a non direct question to ask regarding off camera flash & wireless flash units.

    Are there any situations where a radio signal wireless unit used outdoors could run into some problems?

    Interference from building structures, direct sunlight, distance between the camera & flash etc

    thanks

    Tim

    Reply
  4. Sean Bolton

    Hi Damien

    You need one of these……

    http://www.brewerbracket.com/

    I ordered and received mine a couple of weeks ago. A solid and well made bit of kit which ;

    1. positions the flash head in the centre of the brolley

    2. allows 2 flashguns at once, more power or faster recycle

    I would recommend this if to anyone you regularly uses a flashgun+umbrella combination, a bit pricey (about £70 with shipping) but worth it IMO.

    regards

    Sean

    Reply
  5. Stuart

    Looking through the links it can be quite confusing for me anyway trying to find the right part for the right job. I know reading through the comments that there are numerous variations however I would like to touch on this months recent article in Professional Photographer where you talk about the blog and the future plans etc.

    I know you mentioned about linking to certain sites like you have with warehouseexpress etc but what about a Damien Lovegrove light system, it’s a kit with all the pieces required to make a stand and try some of the techniques mentioned contained on your DVD and from this very blog. I guess I’m saying it’s like when you purchase some furniture from IKEA and the instructions say tools required. Well you can direct clients to go online and purchase the stand, spigot, oofa doofa, the zibby zang zing zang spillit etc. All with one easy click! I know some may already have the kit but there are some beginners out there like me who haven’t even got a stand. :/

    The last few posts
    https://www.prophotonut.com/2008/10/26/fashion-influenced-portraits-the-easy-way/

    and this one umbrella etc. have been excellent.

    I believe for all the information you provide it allows users like me to give something back for all your time.

    Thanks

    Reply
  6. Paulo Mota

    With this system I think I can find a way of attaching mi Mini Soft Box..

    The flash can “surf” in the top of the hinged bracket so we can put the head inside de box. And it seems more robust then the Photoflex I use.

    Thanks again!!
    Paulo Mota

    Reply
  7. damien

    Hi John,

    Here is a good place to start. If you scroll down you will find all the bits. Plus more sources are listed in the post and comments here

    Damien.

    Reply
  8. John

    Brilliant that has mad my day (sad I Know) just love the grip gear, all very reasonable prices too.

    Thanks John.

    Reply
  9. John

    Thanks Damien for the quick reply. Is there any chance that you could post the details for the camera support bracket you mention. I have been able to source the ball head from your last post but this one is a bit harder to find.

    Thanks John

    Reply
  10. damien

    Hi John,

    That is correct. It’s the small round black disk that you finger naturally rests in that needs to be in sight of the camera. On the SB900 the flash head will rotate the full 360 degrees. You can modify your SB800 to do the same but it involves a bit of thuggery.

    Kind regards,

    Damien.

    Reply
  11. John

    Hi Damien. This is a great tip, I was not even aware of the significance of this until Rory pointed it out. I am a Nikon shooter, I take it that it’s the small cell on the side of the SB800 that’s important to me, and of course the camera.

    Great post thanks John

    Reply
  12. Rory ODonnell

    Thanks for the tip Damien. i could never get my head around getting the IR of the flash facing towards me. i am using a standard brolly head connection and it only allows the flash to be mounted forward. it works ok in small rooms where the IR can bounce. but at any distance its hit and miss.

    Thanks again for sharing the info.
    Rory

    Reply

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