Don't Overlook the Power of Umbrellas for Lighting Your Photos

Most photographers forgo using umbrellas for one reason or another, generally opting for other more advanced and expensive modifiers for their work. However, you might be surprised by the professional-level images you can produce with umbrellas. This excellent video will show you the stunning photos you can create using umbrellas and how they are made.

Coming to you from Lindsay Adler with Adorama TV, this awesome video will show you what you can accomplish using a simple reflective umbrella with some diffusion fabric. A lot of photographers dislike using umbrellas not so much because of the quality of light, which can be made to be quite flattering, but because they tend to throw light everywhere, making the spill rather hard to control and possibly contaminating the shot. However, I think it is important (particular for newer photographers) to remember that umbrellas are highly portable and very inexpensive, and it is well worth keeping a few of them around your studio. They are also quite versatile and can fill in in a variety of situations, ranging from fashion to group portraits, despite the difficulties you sometimes encounter while using them. Check out the video above for the full rundown from Adler. 

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Lorin Duckman's picture

Lindsay is great, but here she assumes we all have barn sized studios.

joseph ayres's picture

I love platon's work his set is pretty small and uses a single shoot through umbrella

LA M's picture

Don't overlook the power of rehashing other people's work...instead of creating original content ;-)

Alex Cooke's picture

Check back in 9 minutes for original content from me. ;)

David Love's picture

Kind of funny to talk about umbrellas as a low cost alternative but then use Profoto umbrellas as if they are better just because they have the Profoto logo slapped on them. Never met a client that knew the difference between buff or profoto so save your money. Looking posh to other photographers isn't worth it.

Motti Bembaron's picture

Call me cynical and criticize all you want but I knew before even clicking on the 'play' button that I will see the Profoto logo at least 10-15 times in the video. Lol, it was shown twice in the first 16 seconds.

And calling it 'affordable' while asking hundreds of dollars for large umbrella is laughable. I have an excellent 180cm (6') umbrella with a diffuse that cost me the equivalent of $56 USD as a set. Profoto Umbrella Diffuser alone is over $100.

Vincent Alongi's picture

There is paying for brand and paying for build quality. I don't own Profoto gear, but will pay for Westcott. There will be difference in quality from one brand to another. Umbrellas are mechanical devices; the ribs / whatever you want to call them, along with the release/lock will matter here. Can't underestimate how crucial this will be if you're making an investment in umbrellas. If you can, get to a store and check them out vs. just reading online reviews.