There are a ton of different modifiers available for working with artificial lighting, and it can be a bit overwhelming (and expensive) to pick one when you are just starting out. Umbrellas are some of the cheapest modifiers out there, and as such, they are a fantastic tool for learning how to work with artificial light, and they can do a lot more than they often get credit for. This excellent video tutorial will show you how to create compelling portraits using just one light and an umbrella.
Coming to you from Jay P. Morgan with The Slanted Lens, this great video tutorial will show you how to create interesting portraits using one light and an umbrella. Most photographers move on from umbrellas fairly quickly, but that is not because they can't create nice light. Rather, umbrellas tend to throw light eveywhere, making it tricky to control the spill or combine them with other sources precisely. However, if you can deal with the spill, they can be quite effective, particularly for the price (just don't take them outside on a windy day), making them an ideal tool for learning the properties of light. Check out the video above for the full rundown from Morgan.
If you would like to continue to learn about lighting for portraiture, be sure to check out "Illuminating The Face: Lighting for Headshots and Portraits With Peter Hurley!"