Frio Cold Shoe Mount Review | The Most Unique Tool for On-the-Go Lighting Solutions
I can’t be the only one that has been caught in a moment of frustration when I’m in a tricky lighting scenario. It’s a feeling that I find myself in quite often and that excites me, oddly enough. Half of our responsibility as wedding photographers stems from problem-solving: whether that be finding the most flattering light, choosing clean backgrounds, creating unique compositions.
Frio to create a lineup of incredibly innovative and resourceful lighting tools to do just that: solve problems. Each cold shoe mount is designed to help navigate through tough lighting conditions to make your job a little bit easier. Let’s take a look at why these tools deserve a permanent place in every pro’s kit and what solutions the lineup has to offer.
Frio Cold Shoe Mount Setups
- Frio Grasp Mini: With 360° base articulation and non-marring pads, this little wonder can make a big difference. Think outside the conventional shot and attach Frio Grasp Mini to anything round or flat, including table edges, stair railings, poles—pretty much anything short of the neighbor’s cat.
- Frio Grasp Bigi: Just like its pint-sized counterpart, the Frio Grasp Bigi mounts on anything round or flat—just bigger things. The Frio Grasp Bigi can also stand on its own, doubling as a mini-tripod. Even better, its adjustable stabilizer claw creates a third contact point for extra-secure mounting, giving you even more flexibility. Attach the Frio Grasp Bigi to everything from table edges and chairs to beams and stair railings for a strong, sturdy mount.
- Frio Cling: The Frio Cling securely attaches to smooth and nonporous surfaces like mirrors, windows, countertops—even car hoods. It’s perfect for portrait shots in which there’s no room for setting up a stand, mounting to a mirror in a bride’s makeup room, or even lighting up intricate auto engine shots.
- Frio Arch: With 360° base articulation, you can position the Frio Arch in any direction, providing you with countless ways to direct light in the most dynamic shoot environments.
Portable & Undetectable
All of the cold shoe mounts are meant to be transported and portable. I threw mine in my light stand bag, with no compartment for them to sit in, and they managed to make it through a month of travel banging against my light stands and tripod. It almost felt like I had a trick up my sleeve when I would pull out my flash, attach it to the Frio Cling and set it up on the window.
The best thing about being able to mount your flash on surfaces is how inconspicuous they are. If you analyze spotlights on stages or in restaurants/hotels you’ll notice that the best ones are undetectable. Light stands sometimes take up too much space in a small room or can get tripped over (speaking purely from personal experience). You can see in the image above that I was able to attach the Cling to the window and still give the videographer and my second shooter plenty of space to shoot.
Efficient & Easy to Use
I think it’s safe to say that wedding photographers are constantly on the lookout for tools to speed up their processes and add function and purpose to their workflow. The Frio cold shoe mounts all provide a different solution for the tricky lighting situations we often come across. Not to mention, when you are working solo and don’t have assistance, the Cling and the Grasp make it simple to light without fussing over setting up light stands. When I think about what’s missing in my toolkit, I always fixate on how my setup and workflow can become even more seamless. These mounts are simple to set up and easy to use when you are under a time crunch or working in tight spaces and therefore deserve a spot in your kit. I will say there were two major cons I found when I put these into practice:
- Cling suction too strong: While this is more of a pro for those worried about their flash falling, I was a little worried about it getting stuck to the window I attached it to. I ended up having to use a card to wedge between the window and the suction cup and wiggled it off.
- 360 degree rotation: While this is an ability I appreciate, I often use my flashes with an umbrella and when the flash is in Frio Hold (the blue portion of the mount) the hole for the umbrella isn’t in the right spot. You have to rotate the head of the flash in order for it to align. While this is an easy solution for me to figure out, some of my newer assistants or those that aren’t familiar with this mount might not find it as intuitive.
Unleash Your Creativity
One of the hardest parts about being a wedding photographer is providing overflowing creativity, wedding after wedding. Burnout is real and gets worse as you progress in your career as a wedding photographer simply because you feel as though you are repeating images and techniques from years past. Surprisingly after I put these mounts in my lighting bag, I found myself reaching for them trying to find unconventional ways to light scenes. It almost felt like being a kid and receiving a new toy to experiment and play with. It’s rare that we get moments like that in a career that is somewhat monotonous and repetitive.
For this example, I had about 10 minutes with the couple to get a variety of couples’ photos. Although the gazebo looked fine in natural light I wanted to go for a more dramatic vibe and decided this would be the perfect opportunity to use the Frio Grasp Bigi. Attached to the mount are an off-camera flash, MagSphere, and MagGrid. The reason I prefer this to a light stand with the same flash and modifier setup is that it took less than 30 seconds to get into place. Additionally, there is no Photoshop required, I actually edited this during the reception on my phone using Lightroom Mobile and was able to send this image as a teaser to my clients on the day of their wedding! In my eyes, this mount is what is all possible because it turned my vision into a reality.
I highly recommend scoping out the entire lineup and selecting which tools best fit your needs. The two I know will have a permanent place in my kit are the Frio Cling and the Frio Grasp Bigi. I find that these two are by far the most innovative of the bunch, providing a creative solution for lighting in tough scenarios. I can’t wait to find more ways to utilize these mounts and get creative with my lighting setups.