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DIY Flash Clamp

by Gisle Hannemyr

While lighting stands are the most obvious choice for getting the flash off camera, they are not the only way to hold a light. In cramped conditions, I often use a simple home made light stand based upon a spring loaded clamp.

To build one of these, this is what you need:

  1. One accessory shoe mount with 1/4" tripod socket (e.g. Hama Adjustable Shoe Mount 1 – HA-6891).
  2. One spring loaded clamp.
  3. One BSW 1/4" x 20 (0.05" pitch) bolt about 15mm long.
  4. Two 1/4" lock washers.

I got the Hama shoe mount from my favourite photographic webshop, and the rest from my local hardware store. I believe the spring loaded clamp is intended for holding glued surfaces together while the glue dries. The Hama cost me around 16 euro, the clamp 3 euro, and the bolt and washers 1 euro. Total cost: 20 euro.

You should be able to use almost any type of accessory shoe mount for this project, but I like the Hama because it has built-in tilt.

DIY flash clamp
The clamp in action.

To construct the clamp, drill a whole in the handle of the clamp just large enough to fit the 1/4" bolt. Use the lock washers on each side of the hole to clock the bolt firmly in place. Then fasten the accessory shoe mount to the bolt, and you're done. The result is shown to the left, with a Nikon Speedlight mounted in the accessory shoe.

I use this type of clamp to mount Speed­lights on anything that has something to clamp on: branches, shelves, cabinet sides, doors, etc. I also use the clamp to add a second flash to an existing lighting stand or a tripod.

For alternative DIY light stands, fasten an accessory shoe mount to a coffee jar lid, a spatula, a bottle cap, a gorillapod or a mini-tripod.

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