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Reflected vs Shoot Throughs
Old 06-01-2008, 09:56 PM   #1 (permalink)
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I need to draw upon the opinion of the Group. I am picking up a small studio set up so I can do headshots here at my condo. I am also going to use this set up for limited location shooting.

I have already decided on the monolights and the tripods but I an having a hard time deciding on the umbrellas.

I have chosen the Studiomax 160 lights. From my research this appears to be a good light made by a good company and it will serve my needs for years to come.

I have ruled out softboxes because in my experience they are cumbersome and best used in an environment where they can be set up and left there for months on end. My experience has also shown me that softboxes do not travel well either which leaves me with umbrellas.

I used a pair of 45" white reflected umbrellas when I was doing a lot of corporate event photography and I am comfortable with reflected umbrellas and I know their pluses and minuses but I have run across several photographers recently who are using translucent "shoot through" umbrellas and the idea intrigues me. It would appear that I can get some of the benefits of a softbox by using a shoot through and get around some of the drawbacks but I would like to hear experience and opinions from the Group so go ahead everybody, feel free to jump right in and as always thanks.
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Re: Reflected vs Shoot Throughs
Old 06-01-2008, 10:05 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I just got my first set of monolight strobes through Calumet, with umbrellas. But I've been using strobes at work for about a year now, and I've worked with professional commercial shooters for 25 years. The only thing I'd say is...never say never when it comes to softboxes.

For product shooting, you have to think beyond just throwing up the lights and popping away. The boxes do diffuse the best, but you'll do different things depending on the subject.

I've been "lurking" on G1 long enough to recognize that the really good people shooters here that you can learn from, all seem to use softboxes like the commercial shooters.

Sure they take up more room to store than umbrellas, but it's not like they take up a lot of room. Think flexibility for your overall kit.
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Re: Reflected vs Shoot Throughs
Old 06-02-2008, 02:31 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I prefer to use one main light and one fill light, so I can control the amount of fill consistently. Therefore I prefer reflected light umbrellas with a white interior and black back. This keeps light from reflecting back into my camera lens and gives me some more control over spill.

I find shoot thru umbrellas scatter too much light back to camera and around the room for my taste.

Soft boxes will allow you greater control over the edge cutoff and usually more uniform light. Westcott makes some that fold down real easy and set up quick. Boxes are also usually more efficient and allow the use of lower power settings.
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Re: Reflected vs Shoot Throughs
Old 06-02-2008, 08:16 AM   #4 (permalink)
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FWIW, I started using shoot-thrus, and switched to reflected 'brellys because the bounce from the shoot-thrus off the walls and ceiling of my small studio area was too difficult to control. I'm toying with the idea of getting the Wescott Halo or similar.
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Re: Reflected vs Shoot Throughs
Old 06-02-2008, 10:16 PM   #5 (permalink)
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This may not directly help, but I tried a few brand name umbrellas (for Bounce, not shoot-thru) and the best I found was a Calumet 46" black with a silver back and a translucent, well this one:

http://www.calumetphoto.com/item/AU3046/

I am thinking about getting their 60" Silver umbrella next...
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Re: Reflected vs Shoot Throughs
Old 06-05-2008, 12:45 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kgphoto View Post

I find shoot thru umbrellas scatter too much light back to camera and around the room for my taste.
There are plenty of inexpensive and compact shoot-thru's on the market that have black backs that will prevent the umbrella from reflecting back.
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