This holiday season, I've made a project for myself in getting started with strobist photography.

So far, all I have in terms of strobist equipment is a Nikon D80 and a Nikon SB-800. I've previously used the flash off-camera by putting it on a table or another flat surface. However, after reading Lighting 101 at Strobist, I want to make the jump to light stand and umbrella.

As I'm just getting started, here's what I'm looking for in a light stand and an umbrella:

  • cheap
  • portable
  • somewhat reliable - doesn't haven't to be perfect, but should be stable

Any recommendations?

  • \$\begingroup\$ I have been wondering the same. \$\endgroup\$
    – BBischof
    Dec 11, 2010 at 20:34

3 Answers 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.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Great, thanks! According to strobist.blogspot.com/2006/03/…, I will need an umbrella stand adapter, too. Could you recommend a good (but cheap) one as well? Thanks so much! \$\endgroup\$ Dec 12, 2010 at 0:31
  • \$\begingroup\$ Look at B&H for the Impact "umbrella brackets". They're probably not the cheapest you can get -- all you need is something with a hole in the bottom with a screw clamp, an adjustable hinge, another hole for the umbrella shaft and a something that looks like a hot shoe to hold your flash -- there are a lot of makers, and if you're paying more then twenty bucks (often a lot less) you're being taken for a ride. \$\endgroup\$
    – user2719
    Dec 18, 2010 at 1:48

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: http://www.mpex.com/browse.cfm/4,4643.html

(I don't have any affiliation with MPEX other than being a very happy customer, and you would've seen them on Dave Hobby's site anyway :)

  • \$\begingroup\$ Spot on. There's a lot of great ways to spend money in photography, but a modestly priced lightstand and umbrella will serve you just fine. \$\endgroup\$
    – kubi
    Dec 12, 2010 at 23:09

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 inexpensive without being useless. It's not like you can't upgrade later. One feature many people like in an umbrella is a dual-purpose reflected and shoot-through umbrella. Almost everyone makes one. Dynalite has one (Dynalite Umbrella (40")) that isn't completely bank-breaking if that's a feature you want.

Umbrellas provide pretty hard light with moderately rapid fall-off so you'll need to keep it focused on the victim's subject's face.


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