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Best Flash Bracket For Weddings?

Manuel Neace , Jul 17, 2009; 06:56 p.m.

My wife is a prosumer (to the max) and her best friend is getting married next year and she told my wife she wants her to shoot her wedding. My wife has a great eye but her technical ability is less than zero. I typically set the camera for her when we go from indoors to outdoors. We have a Canon 40D and bought a 580 speedlight and we would like to know which bracket is best for wedding photography. We have an entire year to get up to speed on this and my wife is such the perfectionist it’s going to take that long I’m sure.

As a side note, neither one of us is any good at using that 580 but I do have a DVD that explains it but have yet to watch it, after 2 years. Most of our indoor shot with that 580 are deer in the headlights type stuff. But we will learn, and master that. Anyone have any suggestions on the best way to learn how to use that thing?


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Scott Turner , Jul 17, 2009; 07:25 p.m.

no idea about the bracket, sorry.
On the other matter, start with a diffuser for outdoor fill flash and avoid direct flash indoors. Bounce off of the roof etc.

Bob O'Sullivan , Jul 17, 2009; 08:46 p.m.

The bracket won't matter. They all do the same thing, it's a personal choice.

I do however think you/she should let the bride read this post. Most people (non photographers) have absolutely no idea what it takes to take proper photos especially at a wedding.

They make an assumption that the shots will be fine. Shooting a wedding is far more complex than shooting anything else becasue there are no second chances and you can get some of the most difficult lighting situations.

I would strongly suggest setting appropriate expectations so as not to put the friendship in jeoapardy.

Francie Baltazar , Jul 17, 2009; 08:53 p.m.

There are many forum about flash brackets if you search you will find many discussions with many ideas

Nadine Ohara - SF Bay Area/CA , Jul 17, 2009; 08:56 p.m.

Brackets are hard because it is a personal thing, but let me suggest the Flash Frame Hand On Top, or H.O.T. bracket--available at B&H. Or the Demb Flash Bracket. Keep in mind that you turn the camera to the left when shooting verticals, and you need to keep the flash over the camera, so a 'regular' flip bracket isn't going to work.

As for flash, spend a lot of time reading the articles at planetneil.com about using on camera flash. Otherwise, use the flash direct, use Program, specifically NOT aperture priority, and use One Shot focusing. Use ISO 100 outside and ISO 400 or 800 inside. Don't forget to change when going from one to the other. Bouncing and diffusion have a few complications, and a total beginner or technical newbie is not going to be able to deal with both the complications and shooting a wedding for the first time. Be realistic about your or your wife's level of expertise. If, after a year, you aren't that far along, use the settings I just described.

Ben Goren , Jul 17, 2009; 09:49 p.m.

Consider skipping the bracket entirely and just bounce the flash. Look at the subject and say, “Gee, I sure wish I had an umbrella / softbox / something right over there!.” Now, point your flash at wherever it is you wish the light to come from, and shoot. Assuming there’s a wall or ceiling or something at that spot, you’ll generally get exactly the effect you want.

You’ll need to keep the ISO on the high side for it to be effective, but the D40 should be able to do the job just fine. Shoot manual. Pick the widest aperture that gives you acceptable depth of field and a shutter that underexposes the ambient light by a stop or two. Use the flash in E-TTL mode and use flash exposure compensation to balance flash and ambient to your liking. The higher the ISO, the less power your flash will have to use, leading to farther flash range, faster recycle times, and longer battery life.

Also check out “A Better Bounce Card.” Indoors use it as a baffle to keep from blinding those between you and the bounce spot; outdoors to create a larger light source for fill flash (though you're much more likely to need the power of a full-on flash outdoors than indoors, of course).

Oh — and practice, practice, practice. Chimp shamelessly — it’s what it’s there for.



David Schilling - Chicago, Illinois , Jul 17, 2009; 11:19 p.m.

I like the Stroboframe camera-flip model. If you've got this DVD, then by all means watch it: http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/414626-REG/Blue_Crane_Digital_BC201_DVD_Understanding_the_Canon.html and be sure to look at all the first weddings/newcomer posts here on P-net.

John Deerfield , Jul 18, 2009; 12:10 a.m.

If this is your wife's BFF I strongly suggest you advise the bride to choose a professional wedding photographer. Offer to help find one that is willing to work with your wife and perhaps just turn over the files at the end of the day. Seriously, the are just so many things that can go wrong. Most professional photographer's won't shoot the weddings of family & friends. It's not worth the risk. That said, in terms of flash brackets.... I can't stand them! But we have used quite a few different models over the years. My wife's current favorite is the Really Right Stuff Wedding Bracket, but it's expensive as it requires an L-pate + the bracket. Prior to RRS bracket, the favorite was the Custom Bracket CB Junior.


I would caution against using an ABBC card outside. The ABBC is really for bouncing flash and there isn't anything to bounce off of outside! I do like the ABBC inside (however the fill going forward is still hard [though indirect] light- the only way to get softer light is by having a light source larger in relationship to your subject).

Dawn Kelly , Jul 18, 2009; 02:45 a.m.

I prefer the Stroboframe VH 2000 bracket when I use one, but I now use the Gary Fong Lightsphere.

That said, I have to agree with what the others are saying about being a prosumer and shooting a first wedding, especially for a best friend. You do have at least one year, but ask yourself and the bride this realistic question - If the photos don't turn out for some reason, whether it be camera malfunction of your one camera and/or flash (making assumption that you don't have a backup camera or flash just in case), the photos are over/under exposed from using the flash, people have that deer in the headlights look, photos just look like snapshots, on the wedding day you realize that posing people is much harder than it seems like it should be, on the wedding day you become very stressed out from everything that you have to do, possibly stressing out the wedding party because of taking a long time between the wedding and the reception while taking the portraits, or something else, WILL THE "BEST FRIENDS" FRIENDSHIP SURVIVE?

I am not in any manner saying that you can not do this, but I am saying there is a LOT to consider. If something were to happen, maybe the bride is fine with things if the pictures don't turn out as good as hoped for, but how will your wife feel knowing that possibly it was her fault that they didn't turn out? Yes, something can happen if you hire someone else, but at least the possible loose-or-hurt-your-best-friend factor wouldn't be there. Is possible damage to the friendship worth it?

Is your wife not going to actually be in the wedding since she is the bride's best friend?

Maybe consider hiring a pro for the very important pictures, and then your wife take the getting ready pictures, some posed portraits, and more. If you do this, you would need to discuss it with the hired pro photographer, just so that both sides understand what to expect, and so they don't end up feeling like they are competing.

Since you have a year, take a photo class or two at the local junior college. You say your wife is a perfectionist, but her technical ability is less than zero. This would be a very good step.

I do personally know a bride and groom who did this. Groom wanted me to shoot the wedding. One of the Bride's other friends bugged her to take the pictures, mostly because the friend really wanted to break in to wedding photography from her baby portrait and other portrait business. It did not go well on the wedding day, took over 1 year before she handed over a CD with the images she took, which were not good, and they are no longer friends. Again, I am not saying this will happen to you, but it does happen. This is something that you should seriously consider since there is currently a lack of ability on your wife's part.

Bob Bernardo - LA area disabled , Jul 18, 2009; 03:00 a.m.

http://focuscamera.com/product.asp?id=964703233 Pretty inexpensive, only problem is the camera moves around a bit, slips. You have to keep tightening the screw.

If you want the best, check out Johns recommendation, another in the same class is http://www.custombrackets.com/Scripts/default.asp?storemode=y

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