One of the downsides of using a small strobe is that you don’t get the nice modeling light like the big studio guns.
That means that you have to pre-visualize your light. If you are new to strobes this may not be trivial even on a bare strobe, but throw some modifiers in (e.g. a softbox or an umbrella) and it get even harder. This is why a modeling light is can be your best friend as you make your first steps into the modifiers world. In this tutorial I will explain how you can add a modeling light to a strobe using a DIY Double Flash Bracket, but any double flash bracket will do.
The build is really straight forward, say 5 minutes of work (20 if you count the round trip to Home Depot), but involves live wires. That means that the usual disclaimer applies – either know what you’re doing or get help from your local electrician. Modeling light is great, but it is not worth dying over.
- 1 CFL Lamp (saves on both heat and power vs. Tungsten)
- 1 Lamp Socket
- 1 Plug
- A Short Power Cable
- 1 Extension cord (optional if you made the short power cable long).
- Pliers, screwdriver and other tools.
- Optional: Double Flash Bracket.
The first step is to equip the socket with a short power cord.
Expose the wires on the short cord
Screw the wires into the socket and tighten the screws. If you have a cable that is already attached to a plug, great! Recycle it into this project. If not, screw the other end of the cable to a plug.
Here is what the project looks like without a strobe, just the modeling light and bracket.
Remember, we are using the Double Flash Bracket here, but this is just one way of doing this. A pony spring clamp will probably work just the same if you clamped it to a light stand and attached the socket on the clamp’s legs.
Now you can see how the construction comes together, a strobe on one”leg” of the bracket and a lamp on the other. In this specific one I used a tungsten lamp, which is really hot, so be careful. In the images below I opted for the CFL type as it is easier to handle.
In the image below, you can see me using the same device for modeling a Westcott Apollo 28″. In this case it is even more critical to use a CFL bulb as heat from a tungsten bulb will build up and eventually set your box on fire.
There you have it, instant modeling light.
About The Author
Ray Panduro is a photography hobbyist who adopts the analog passion to the digital era. You can follow his stream here.