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Umbrella and soft-box use
Old 08-06-2007, 01:24 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Hi,
As me being an amateur who want s to learn more about photography and studio shooting I have a few questions with some photos and would appreciate your comments:

1. What is the difference when using the umbrella like on the photos shown below? (SORRY FOR BAD PHOTO EXAMPLES)

a. regular use when umbrella reflecting the light from a flash

b. use the reflecting of light from umbrella when umbrella is half opened

c. use of umbrella when shooting through the umbrella like diffuser I think




2. What is the difference when using different size of umbrella?

3. What is the difference between umbrella and soft box and how the different size and shape (rectangular or square shape) of soft box influence on photo shot.

4. Is there any difference when placing the light source (umbrella) closer or further from the model or it is only in the power of the light you have to use?

Thanks for your time……
Regards Zak
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Re: Umbrella and soft-box use
Old 08-06-2007, 01:38 PM   #2 (permalink)
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The larger the light source relative to the model, the softer the light. So whether using the softbox or the umbrella, the distance to the model will be a major factor. Naturally, the further away the light is the less power it exerts on the scene, but also the more harsh the light becomes.

The umbrellas will tend to scatter light all over the place and it is thus harder to control the spill. The softboxes give you more control of the light. A shoot through umbrella can give a similar result to a softbox, but with more light spill so generally the softbox works better.

The big advantage of umbrellas is that they are much cheaper than softboxes. But because of the light control issue, I would recommend getting softboxes as soon as you can afford them.

Shape will often determine what the catchlight looks like in the model's eyes and that can be important to some. It can also change the way light wraps around the model. You have to experiment to see what you like and as well the situation may determine what is needed.


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rfs
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Re: Umbrella and soft-box use
Old 08-06-2007, 03:21 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I use umbrellas alot! I also use a beauty dish and softboxes, they are good tools, you just have to figure out which ones do what for you, and use that to your best advantage...the first image you posted is a bad example of using the umbrella because there is no reflector to confine the light into the umbrella so hince you'd be scattering light everywhere....
Example of using an umbrella....in the image below I used a 60" umbrella camera left and 90 degrees from the model just out of frame the strobe was pointing into the umbrella and the umbrella was positioned just like it would have been raining.....yup right against the ceiling...to camera right and 90 degrees from the model I used a strip light 16x48" softbox and for background just a bare bulb with reflector on the background.
experiment with your modifiers and their positions and fstops for different effects! one mistake people make with umbrellas is having the strobe too close to the umbrella so not utilizing the entire surface of the umbrella, but you can also use your umbrellas closed down for hair lights and such...
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Re: Umbrella and soft-box use
Old 08-06-2007, 06:54 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DDCStudios View Post
I use umbrellas alot! I also use a beauty dish and softboxes, they are good tools, you just have to figure out which ones do what for you, and use that to your best advantage...the first image you posted is a bad example of using the umbrella because there is no reflector to confine the light into the umbrella so hince you'd be scattering light everywhere....
Example of using an umbrella....in the image below I used a 60" umbrella camera left and 90 degrees from the model just out of frame the strobe was pointing into the umbrella and the umbrella was positioned just like it would have been raining.....yup right against the ceiling...to camera right and 90 degrees from the model I used a strip light 16x48" softbox and for background just a bare bulb with reflector on the background.
experiment with your modifiers and their positions and fstops for different effects! one mistake people make with umbrellas is having the strobe too close to the umbrella so not utilizing the entire surface of the umbrella, but you can also use your umbrellas closed down for hair lights and such...
Man, the light quality in this image is exactly why my favorite modifyer for the moment is my 60" Westcott Optical White Shoot Thru Umbrella! The light Quality is almost sureally soft!
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Re: Umbrella and soft-box use
Old 08-07-2007, 02:53 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Thanks for reply, I really appriciate it.
For sure will follow instructions how to use an umbrella... and will practice a little bit.... but will consider obtaining the soft box also...
Regards Zak
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Re: Umbrella and soft-box use
Old 08-16-2007, 09:50 AM   #6 (permalink)
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One additional question to the same matter. since tomorrow I will buy one umbrella.

Considering the umbrellas, I have founded that there are several types of umbrellas to buy:
1. Grained umbrella
2. reflector umbrella with gold/black or gold/silver or black/silver or regular white color.

What is differance in between.
I mean what is the differance in light cast, when I use gold or silver or white umbrella.
Thanks
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Re: Umbrella and soft-box use
Old 08-16-2007, 03:30 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Honestly? wouldnt waste my money on Gold umbrellas..Im sure some will argue with me...but the light from them SUCKS! the difference between the white and silver is contrast....silver will provide a higher contrasted light..and the white will be softer closer to a softbox....
size? well that depends on what you want to achieve..
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Re: Umbrella and soft-box use
Old 08-16-2007, 03:46 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Right on time.... thanks,
I'm just about to start traveling to capital and to choose something....
Regards Zak
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Re: Umbrella and soft-box use
Old 08-17-2007, 05:19 AM   #9 (permalink)
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One of the things that I've also noticed about things like umbrellas and softboxes is that bigger is better. You can have a smaller umbrella and move it closer to the model and it will still give the same angle of light cast onto the model as a larger umbrella that is further away. The problem is that the smaller umbrella up close has faster light fall-off than a larger umbrella further away. This is because of the inverse-square law of light.

If the light source is at lets say 2 feet away from the model, then at 4 feet away from the light source (2 feet beyond the model) the light will be approx 2 f-stops down (1/4 the light intensity). But if the light source had been a larger umbrella at 6 feet away, then at the same 2 foot point beyond the model the light would only have fallen off by a little more than approx 1 f-stop (approx 1/2 of the light intensity).

That is the advantage of using a larger umbrella or softbox at a greater distance from the subject.

PTL,
Lee
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