Using Flash Softboxes With Triggers

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By Johannes Wienke

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Many softboxes designed for hot shoe flashes suffer from the same problem: their mounting system for the flash does not cooperate well with longish flash triggers like the popular Yongnuo RF-602 or RF-603 and various others. As these triggers extends the flash to the front, they collide with screws or other parts of the mounting construction. I’ve seen some solutions proposing to build a custom metal bar to move the flash up, but actually there are two simple ways that don’t require any custom parts at all.

The “suboptimal” way

The suboptimal way

This solution works as soon as you have a flash where the head can be turned around by 180 degrees. In that position the flash trigger extends to the back of the softbox mount and doesn’t collide anymore. However, flash controls are basically blocked and often the head is too short to actually enter the opening of the softbox, wasting a bit of light. Even for the monster-sized Yongnuo YN560-II…

The “right” way

Many of the flash softboxes, especially the cheaper (Chinese?) ones from Walimex, Delamax, Alzo or whatever names exist, use a mounting system where the flash bracket is attached to the ring using a single screw. Hence, in this case the ring can be turned to point slightly off-axis from the vertical mounting bar:

The right way

This allows us to mount the flash perpendicular to the axis of the softbox with the flash head turned around to one side so that the controls are easily accessible:

The right way
The right way

Without twisting the ring, this usually doesn’t work for modern flashes as the flash head most often doesn’t rotate directly on the axis of the hot shoe and hence the flash head wouldn’t enter the ring correctly.