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How to Use Photography Umbrellas With Lighting

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Feb 07

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Using Lighting for photography

Umbrellas can add a lot of depth to your light sources, and they are the least expensive light modifier.

Today we are covering the differences between white shoot through umbrellas, silver umbrellas, shooting bare bulb, using small reflectors, and a parabolic reflector.

Sekonic Light Meter

Paul C. Buff Parabolic Reflector

  • Heraconstantino

    nice lighting! georgeous model…

  • Milla K

    Agreed ;)

  • Eli

    Nice tutorial, thanks!

  • Christian Noval

    “This is just a regular lightmeter” lol. No, it’s one of the best and most advance and thus most expensive lightmeters you can buy. The lightmeter of my dreams :-)
    For those just starting out, buy an older used lightmeter. You can get then really cheap in e-bay etc. Many photographers don’t use lightmeters at all, but look at the histogram. But the big advance with a lightmeter is that you can measure the difference between more light. That is especially an advantage if all the lights aren’t the same model.

  • Andrea Peipe

    A self-confidence meter :D I want one ;)

    Cool episode guys! I love learning about stuff like this cause I now hardly anything about that…

  • Anonymous

    I’m pretty sure there’s a wrong way to do a shoot-through umbrella. I could do *that* tutorial. I shot indoor team photos for the first time the other weekend and I’m … not very pleased with my work.

  • Aaron Nace

    haha, what did you do?

  • Christopher Odd


  • Michael Anthony

     How does the PCB Cyber commander work as a light meter for say, einsteins?

  • janiecakes

    Question:  I have the combo white umbrella with the silver umbrella cover.  I can’t figure out how to take the white umbrella off and just put the silver umbrella over the top, so REALLY it is silver umbrella behind white umbrella.  I like the look of it, but I’m pretty sure I’m not supposed to have the white part in there, am I?  If so, how do you remove the white umbrella from the umbrella frame?

  • Anonymous

     My first mistake was setting up in front of the windows. They all had blinds except for the one next to the backdrop so the light kept fluctuating on one side. I had the umbrellas close to the strobes which I wish I wouldn’t have done now. In the team shots, the kids closest to the lights were blown out (especially if their skin color was on the lighter side to begin with). I didn’t notice how bad it was till I got them on the computer. The individual shots weren’t as bad but I had backdrop issues as well. I’ve spent about 4 days photoshopping over a hundred pics so far. It doesn’t matter how much I studied before the event; experience shows me what I missed!

  • d.j.

    great info. i phlearned a lot.

  • B Jenks

    Nice change from photoshop.

  • jared

    ac-nac – can you stitch the images form above shoot together so it will be easier to distinguish the difference b/w the mods?

  • jared

    I have the same umbrella… you cant remove the white part because the cap actually is crimped over the white material…

  • Epiphany_media

    Westcott 7 foot white interior umbrellas are better than Paul C Buff

  • janiecakes

     Thanks.   I’m glad I didn’t try ripping it off of there.  I often break things that way :)

  • Jeremy Cupp

    I have this one I took over the summer. When I took it I had the repunsil (sp) idea with long hair wrapped around and her little lizard sitting on her shoulder. I wanted to work on my editing skills before I touched it so I could really do what I wanted. I should have taken a better angle and I wish I had more of the house in the shot. I have landscape and portrait versions and many of them. I have the RAW files, but I’m uploading a small jpeg. It’s more of a shit angle the more I look at it. Lol. There just isn’t much room to work. 

  • Greg Smith

    This is about the Contest that is ending today!
    Do we really want to see Aaron edit the same kind of running through fields, with a large sky shot in the background photo that is repeated in a lot of his work? We want some change! Introduce some really gory horror imagery, add some disturbing element to a new theme of photography. If you want something different in the next Phlearn Pro please follow this link and like my photo…. 
    Thank you, Have a good day

  • Jeremy Cupp

    This is SOOC also. Thought I would mention that. 

  • Reem

    I had this idea for a while, warrior princess theme! this is SOOC

  • Sebastian Ortiz

    Cool episode… Loved the Yawning and how he tried to cover it up… LMAO !!! 

  • Mark O’Donnell

    There is also the white shoot through with the removable black cover.   This is imho the best of both worlds with an added bonus that you can pull back only portions of the umbrella cover to control the size and shape of the light output.
    Don’t forget the catch lights.

  • Anna Äärelä

    I think you should take a photo where that reaaaaalllyyy huge “umbrella” acts as an actual umbrella :D would be wicked!

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