Search “macro flash bracket” on Google and you will pull up over 390 000 results. Switch to ‘Image’ search and you will see hundreds of photographs of different commercial and home-made variations of brackets designed for use with macro photography. They vary in degrees from the basic to the bizarre, but they all are meant to achieve one thing: moving the flash off the camera and placing it closer to the subject. In an earlier post, I covered many of the different commercially available units. This time, I want to show how to make a simple single-flash bracket.
You need a few parts:
The articulated arm has a removable flash foot. Remove the foot and the knurled spacer until only the 1/4″ screw and tightening-disk is left. Screw this into the end of the straight base bracket (or the cool base bracket) and then tighten the disk securely. If your base bracket has no tapped 1/4″-20 hole, remove the tightening disk, place the screw through the base plate and then tighten on the disk from the bottom. Now add the cold shoe to the top of the articulated arm and tighten. The finished result should look something like this:
If you have integrated wireless flash, just add the flash to the bracket, pop-up your built-in flash and change the flash menu settings in your camera, and you are ready to go. If you don’t have integrated wireless, you can use a flash cord.
Another option if you don’t have integrated wireless is to purchase wireless transmitter/receiver kits. Slide your flash into the wireless receiver, and attach that to the cold shoe. Attach the wireless trigger to the camera’s hot shoe, position your flash over the focus point, tighten the articulated arm, and you are ready to begin. If you have a macro lens with a tripod mount, you can skip the base plate and go directly to attaching the articulated arm to the tripod mount. Just loosen the mount and turn it so it is on top of the lens, thusly…
Don’t forget that flash and flash brackets are just the beginning of gaining more control over lighting. The next step is getting good diffusion, and that will be the subject of another post.