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Photo hack: make a flash clamp for off-camera strobe photography

Photo hack: make a flash clamp for off-camera strobe photography
(Image credit: Digital Camera Magazine)

Off-camera flash is one of the most effective ways to introduce extra light into your shots - and particularly if you are being forced to work indoors. 

However, with one hand taken up by holding the camera and the other directing the light, it’s often a juggling act to get the composition and the direction of the lighting to work in harmony. 

The solution is to use a simple flash clamp, which you could make at home – with bits you may well have lying around. We converted a spring clamp (usually used for DIY) using a bolt, a few nuts and washers, a mini ball head we found in a drawer, and a handy cold shoe adapter called a Frio. You can find links for stores offering the key components online, if you don't have these.

(Image credit: Digital Camera Magazine)
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1: Prepare the clamp

Drill a 1/4 inch hole through one of the handles of a clamp. Don’t make the hole too large because you want as little play as possible. Screw a nut onto a 1/4 inch bolt.

(Image credit: Digital Camera Magazine)
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2: Fit the bolt

Now push this bolt through the hole in the handle, then thread a washer on, then screw on the second nut. Ensure that there’s little or no movement once the nut is tight.

(Image credit: Digital Camera Magazine)
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3: Add more nuts

Add another nut, a washer, and another nut. Doing this will enable you to tighten the group under the small ball head once attached, keeping the whole unit tight.

(Image credit: Digital Camera Magazine)
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4: Attach your head

The ball head should have a standard 1/4 inch thread at the base. Attach it to the bolt, then adjust the group of nuts with a spanner so they sit tightly under the ball head.

(Image credit: Digital Camera Magazine)
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5: Add the cold show

Once the ball head is secure, screw the Frio coldshoe directly onto the top of the head. Make sure that everything is tight and secure. Your flash will now slot directly into the Frio.

(Image credit: Digital Camera Magazine)
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6: Put your clamp to use

The clamp is now complete and ready to use. Simply use the clamp jaws to attach your flashgun to any available object, then you’re ready to shoot.

Perfect the strobist look with off-camera flash photography (opens in new tab)

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The sister print publication to this website, Digital Camera Magazine (opens in new tab) is Britain's best-selling photography publication – and it can also be purchased outside the United Kingdom as Digital Camera World.


Digital Camera Magazine is packed with more expert advice and more inspirational images than any other title, with the sole aim of helping you become a better photographer. Every issue we also bring you a selection of great gifts which are designed to help you get more from your photography – everything from tips cards and cheat sheets to free software and bookazines.


In addition to inspirational images, interviews, projects, mini tests and tutorials, each issue is packed with news, reviews and comparisons, as well as photographer vs photographer shootouts and head-to-head challenges using the best photo editing software.


The magazine is captained by Editor Niall Hampton (opens in new tab), with Technique Editor Alistair Campbell (opens in new tab) adding his own expertise.