I’m always looking for new ways to streamline my process for assembling my gear, especially my lighting equipment. I’ve become acutely aware that if I don’t get things together quickly, I could miss a moment at a wedding (or other event), leave my clients waiting, or simply just wasting my own time.
One thing that has always annoyed me when attaching a speedlight to a light stand is that it felt like I only had a couple of options. One is the typical cold shoe adapter that most people use that you have to hand-tighten. I have, on multiple occasions, had flashes fall off of stands because I, or an assistant, didn’t quite get the flash secured to the cold shoe mount.
The second option, I would consider my backup plan. If a cold shoe mount fails or I lose one, somehow, I can always use the plastic “foot” that comes with each of my flashes. This is only ever a backup plan because they are weak, therefore, easily broken. I am reluctant to use anything in my setup that isn’t sturdy, as this can mean a flash, or other equipment, might be broken.
Enter the Frio Cold Shoe. I don’t remember how I heard about it, but I was instantly excited about the idea. The idea is that you can quickly slip your flash’s shoe into the Frio’s slot and it clicks into place. You should tighten it down, for sure, but using it still saves time and frustration.
As far as durability goes, I’ve only had one break on one occasion. I had a 60” Westcott umbrella (a.k.a. a wind sail) on my stand, and of course, the wind, predictably, pushed it over. The Frio broke off and my flash fell (thankfully) into the umbrella.
Here’s the thing, though: the people that designed it tell me that the way it broke is by design. It is meant to break at that threshold because, otherwise, you could risk breaking the shoe right off of your flash, instead. Other than that, I’ve never had one wear out or break for any other reason.
The Frio Cold Shoe now dominates my lighting kit. There is not one light stand, boom arm, or “flash clamp” without one.