By its name, the idea of this blog is to explain how to light a scene when we remove the flash shoe of the camera. But sometimes it is desirable that the flash is – if not in the shoe – at least close to the camera. The use of arms to separate the flash of the camera to give some volume to photographed reason comes from afar, like the use of cables to separate further.
But what should we do when we want the lighting to be very flat and direct, and we don’t have a ring flash? In these cases the idea is to get the flash as close as possible to the optical axis to minimize the projected shadow. Terry Richardson took many photographs at the beginning of his career with a small film camera Yashica T4 and he used it to photograph countless celebrities and models that he would position standing by a white wall. This camera has the built-in flash slightly away from the optical axis, but when shooting from a distance and the body of the model is perpendicular to the optical axis, the shadows effect on the wall is minimized.
He eventually went on to shoot with a DSLR digital camera and there the problem arose. How to position the flash off the optical axis? Then, came the solution with the strip CB mini RC Custom Brackets!
As shown in the above image with this strip the flash torch stays very close to the lens and shadows are minimized.
Regarding those made for the famous Pirelli calendar 2010, these pictures reveal how this technique works outdoors. As can be seen, he set the exposure to the available light at the location while the front is filled up with the flash. This gives a great shine to the body of the model and eliminates shadows caused by sunlight.
There are other systems that allow speedlights to move from the hot shoe of the camera with great flexibility. One of these arms combined with a strip is the Manfrotto 233B which in this example is positioned to a shooting of macrophotography combining two Nikon R1 macro flashes with one of the standard SB series.
Also the option of the Olympus bracket FL BKM03 is very interesting, like the Ray Flash Rotator model.
Olympus FL BKM03
The option of Pro Media Gear with the Boomerang model is very robust. Boomerang de Pro Media Gear
Finally it is worth highlighting the catalog from Really Right Stuff with a huge variety of photographic accessories including the WPF-QR strip bracket specially relevant for this post.
This bracket keeps the speedlight aligned with the optical axis but with a noticeable parallax. I have used it, with a flash standing in front of a light box OctoDome mini Photoflex and has worked nice on a project I’m doing of circus portraits .
WPF-QR with softbox Octodome mini
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