Lighting Blueprints + Concept Inspiration
Yes, they spill light all over the place. And an umbrella’s beam is hard to control, and modifying the light’s (or shadow’s) characteristic is impossible. Especially the basic, generic white shoot-through fellow presents himself as a dull tool.
But, besides being a criminally cheap modifier – the small generic umbrella, that is – it’s also the most underrated one. And almost all of us have some of them lying around.
So, as always, let us take you on a short journey through different lighting setups. The intent is to nurture your inspiration and convince you to try to shoot an umbrella light setting yourself.
From beauty to low key to undershirt: Posing, framing, casual styling – and light setting (obviously 😉).
Shooting With Umbrellas: Why + Is It Worth It?
Umbrellas provide you with a broad and soft light source that closely emulates outdoor lighting. Unlike softboxes, which give you directional control, umbrellas produce a more unrestricted type of lighting that will pretty much go everywhere (as mentioned earlier).
Umbrellas also come in a variety of different sizes. Like any diffuser, larger means softer light – if you don’t move the umbrella 20 meters away, that is.
Now let’s make the case: a small shoot-through fellow costs you around 12 bucks – which is great because they break and get damaged all the time. That wasn’t precisely the argument; the point is: add some cheap umbrellas to your arsenal for experimenting with other lighting qualities. Or, if you are just starting, buy one umbrella (well, 2) and use just one strobe. Start exploring lighting directions and shadow quality when shooting portraits.
Need more convincing arguments? Or just some additional inspiration on how to create simple umbrella lighting setups yourself? Here you go, over at our friends on ISO1200:
Female Photo Shoot: “The Underrated Umbrella: Studio Lighting Made SIMPLE”
Male Photo Shoot: “Portrait Lighting in 10 Minutes: 1 Light – 5 Setups”
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This post is also available in: German