Red and Blue

by Gordon

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17

Soft boxes typically have a more focused and sometimes more powerful quality of light while remaining soft. The biggest reason you might want to use a soft box over an umbrella is to control the spill of light. Where an umbrella will reflect light into a scene as well as transmit through the material, a soft box will force all light to either die or be ...


12

The benefit should be a bit better effectiveness of the umbrella and less spill outside. If your flash isn't significantly off I doubt that the change will be noticable.


12

You have more control over spill and hot spots with a softbox. The hot spots are much less significant with a softbox.


10

Are you planning to shoot indoors or outdoors? Umbrellas are difficult to use outdoors as they act like a sail and it only takes a slight breeze to send your umbrella - and flashgun crashing down. You either need a serious stand weighted down, or someone holding the umbrella. Even so I'd go with the smaller size for shooting outdoor. A larger umbrella gives ...


8

The wide beam is going to fill the umbrella more completely than the narrower beam, creating a better spread. I don't think you would get a hotspot, as such, with a narrow beam but it wouldn't spread and soften the light as much. Scantips has a pretty good writeup on umbrella and softbox usage.


6

catch lights: round/octagonal with umbrellas, square with softboxes ease of setup - umbrellas are generally much easier to set up and attach to a stand stability - umbrellas tend to catch the wind outdoors and tumble more than soft boxes spill - umbrellas will spill more light which can be a problem in close quarters (however there are so-called umbrella ...


6

Asymmetric lighting of umbrella may also show up as asymmetric catchlights in subjects' eyes.


5

Probably the best source of free information on shooting with a Speedlite and umbrellas is David Hobby's Strobist site. http://strobist.blogspot.com/ Do you have two 430s? If not, how are you using the three umbrellas? Most folks put a flash in each umbrella (that they are using) and shoot though the white, so that it diffuses the light. Typical sets have ...


5

The ribs will be visible if you shoot a photo of the umbrella, but they are not visible on a subject in the normal position. See http://www.flickr.com/photos/the_old_curmudgeon/5207772689/in/photostream and the following photos, where I varied the zoom level of the strobe to see how much coverage of the umbrella as its varied. The light is uniform for all ...


5

One option is called "bookends"; 4x8 sheets of foam board, hinged together with tape. Leave one side white and use it as a reflector, paint the other side black and use it to eat light.


5

As light intensity falls off faster when you're close to the light source, you can minimize the effect of wall/ceiling reflections by putting the umbrella as close to your subject as possible. Another very low cost option is to wait for the night and shoot outdoors.


5

You're correct. When the black covering is on, the umbrella is intended to reflect the light. When the black cover is off, you change the orientation of the umbrella so that your light goes through it instead (shoot through). Your linked item describes that in the product description. It's a handy feature to have (I have a couple of the Paul Buff ones) ...


4

That's going to vary a great deal depending on whether it's a bounce or shoot-through, what material is used, etc. In general, the range can be as little as 1/2 stop (or less) through to several stops. If you're interested in a particular brand, you can probably find details on light loss in the product literature. Lastolite, for example, will supply the ...


4

A larger umbrella is more flexible - you could zoom your flash or put it closer to umbrella and get lighting equivalent to a smaller umbrella, but not vice versa. Using a larger umbrella is similar to using a larger softbox - you can either have softer, more even light at same distance, light fall-off towards edge of light beam is slower thanks to the ...


4

Another thing to look out for is positionning the flash too close to the umbrella. If it's too close, the beam won't fill the whole umbrella and you end up wasting the outer rim, as it were. In practice this will probably mean putting the flash further back than the edge of the umbrella fabric. ... A bit of experimentation will make it pretty clear what's ...


3

I did some experimenting in order to answer basically this for myself in the question Is the Deflector Plate recommended when using a Westcott Rapid Box with the cover on? — where the "Rapid Box" in question is an internal-umbrella style softbox as you describe. Here's one of my experiments from that answer: You can see that with the bare flash, the ...


3

Shadowless lighting requires a broad light source directly in front of the subject or a high enough volume of (omnidirectional) light coming from all around the subject to wash out any shadows. A speedlite and on camera flash combination is unlikely to be made sufficiently broad or produce the volume of light necessary to get the shadowless effect you ...


3

For me the main difference is a softbox generally has better control of the direction of the light. The softbox will have a flat diffusion panel on the front and possibly a raised edge that stops light spilling off to the side. You can add a grid to it to control the spill even more. While an umbrella, has a curved surface that reflects or diffuses light in ...


3

Maybe try hanging some fabric remnants (I got 2 yards of black velvet for 5$ from hobby lobby) or some landscaping fabric from your walls. Anything black and non-specular (I think thats right?) will do. If your wife / roommate / mom won't permit such a thing, consider placing something closer to the light source, in a smaller format. Zack Arias recommends ...


3

Yes, it does. It won't really create a visible hotspot, but will allow you to change the apparent size of the light source to get different effects independently from the light distance. This allows you to control the highlight-shadow transition independently from the light fall off rate. Also, if you zoom too wide, you will get light spill outside of ...


3

I've used the cheap Impact Light Stands for a few years now and haven't had any real issues. Here's links to a few sizes on B&H Photo: (6 foot, 8 foot, 10 foot). I do a lot of headshots and use the Impact 32" white umbrellas - here's a link (again to B&H) - other sizes are available as well.


3

There are two different kinds of shadows that you will care about with portraiture. One kind of shadow is shadows of facial features on the face itself. These shadows are often consdiered desirable, as they give shape and dimentionality to an otherwise 2D picture. Typically there will be one major light source that is away from the camera and pointed ...


3

The ability to remove the umbrella cover gives the umbrella more flexibility. If you are asking why would you shoot through the umbrella, one major benefit is you can put the white surface of the umbrella closer to your subject. Using the umbrella in its reflective mode, the white surface part of the umbrella will be farther from your subject - the ...


3

Most umbrellas I've seen are white or silver to maintain whatever color is directed at it. So if you gel your flash it should be relatively unaffected by the umbrella. However, if your umbrella is a different color, then that would affect the color of the light hitting your subject. Or think of it this way, the umbrella material is often like those 5-in-1 ...


3

Short answer: It can, depending on the color of the umbrella. If the umbrella is a neutral color then the color of the flash will be unaffected. Neutral would include black, grey, and white. The various wavelengths of light that the flash emits will all be absorbed by the umbrella in equal measure. If the umbrella is any other color, such as gold or silver, ...


2

This one seems good for the umbrella adaptor: Interfit STR117 Umbrella Bracket with Hot Shoe Adapter. I'd also recommend getting a sandbag or two if you don't want the whole rig either blowing away in the wind or getting knocked over by a passerby. Bear in mind that umbrellas are among the least sensitive mods in terms of quality and can be pretty ...


2

This is the lightstand I use: http://www.mpex.com/browse.cfm/4,11667.html It's pretty lightweight, collapses well, reasonable weight, cheap and air-cushioned. It's easy enough to stuff into a tripod bag with an umbrella swivel and an umbrella. For umbrellas, I prefer using shoot-throughs and the Westcott double-folds are what I suggest: ...


2

I often use black wrap to prevent spill. Great for general shaping of light. Black wrap or black foil is a black aluminum foil that's primarily used to block out light and is attached to light fixtures and/or their barn doors.


2

Open-n-use has a similar meaning to the much more common "plug-n-play" adjective of computer peripherals, it means you just open it up like an umbrella and start using it right away. Essentially it's an umbrella softbox hybrid that opens quickly like an umbrella, but has a front diffuser screen like a softbox, giving a softbox like quality of light but ...


2

You're heading in the right direction! There is a whole website/blog that talks about using small portable lighting gear for everyday use and getting the most out of simple elements. The "Strobist" site has many resources for what kind of kit to get and how to use it. Here's the deep link for the basic kit that they say you'd do well to get for the ...



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