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The Best Photo Umbrellas For Your Studio and Outdoor Shootings
Last updated: 27 Sep 2021
Have you ever paid attention to how skilled photographers get that perfect light for their pictures? How do their portraits look so natural and attractive? Well, all these professionals use photo umbrellas to modify the light according to their requirements to get an ideal portrait. They act as great light modifiers to achieve the right light intensity for perfect photos. Since numerous such products are already available in the market, finding the best one can be daunting for you. That is why we have created a list of the best photo umbrellas in 2021 to narrow down your choices. Besides, we have compiled a complete buying guide that will help you focus on the important factors to consider while purchasing an ideal item for you.
Lightweight, durable, and portable light stands that are perfect for outdoor shoots
Provides an all-in-one bag carry bag with a special pocket to carry bulb for outdoor use
Two types of umbrellas to achieve the best lighting experience
Adjustable socket holder to direct light at different angles
This professional lighting kit is specially designed to provide premium light to achieve the best portraits. It is a pack of four umbrellas – two white and two black, three bulbs, and three light stands. The white umbrellas help the camera to capture the full spectrum with neutral skin tones. In contrast, black umbrellas help to prevent unwanted lights from reflecting in the photos. They work efficiently with contrast highlights and provide evenly distributed soft light, making them ideal for all studio flashes.
Moreover, 45 Watts CFL photo bulbs help to save up to 80% energy. They also do not make noise and flicker so that you can click pictures without any interruption. Among the three light stands, two of them are 83 inches in length and the other one measures 33 inches. Moreover, they come with a lock design to adjust the height of the reflector, which makes them convenient to use. The combination of white and black umbrellas is perfect for all levels of photographers as it helps you get the best of portrait photography, product photography, video shooting, and so on.
Offers one bag to carry photo bulbs to save them from shattering
Umbrellas are made with high-quality fabric to give perfect light
Provides bulb sockets with 9ft long wire
Easy and quick installation of equipment
This kit is ideal for streamers and photographers and helps to create images with soft light using lighting umbrellas. It is a pack of three light bulbs, three bulb sockets, two white umbrellas, two black umbrellas, three light stands, five velcro cable ties, and more. The 45 watts CFL light bulbs help to save a maximum of 80% of energy.
Besides, the 33 inches wide white reflector umbrellas are made up of top-quality nylon. They work well to diffuse soft and even light, giving a natural finish to your photographs. On the other hand, black umbrellas come with a silver inner lining, out of which the black part of light checks the light spills and the silver part adds extra light compared to white umbrellas. With the help of these umbrellas, the camera will capture a broad spectrum of colors to embrace all skin tones for portrait shooting. Moreover, if you’re fed up with the mess created by the tangled cables, use velcro cable ties to keep the leads organized.
7mm tip helps to easily fit the shaft in the flash bracket
A wide umbrella diffuses soft light over the large surface area
Convertible umbrellas hence save extra bucks on two different products
Withstand rain and wind due to high-quality shaft material
This is a large oversized umbrella specifically designed to bounce the light back on the subject, offering perfect light for your shoots. It is a white satin umbrella that is 45 inches in diameter. It works perfectly to spill the light on the greater surface area and diffuses evenly distributed soft light. Thus, it is specially manufactured to maximize the light output.
Moreover, it comes with a removable black cover.it Hence, it works as both a white and black photo umbrella, saving you from spending extra bucks on different umbrellas. If you love to shoot with a strobe and flashlight, this item is perfect for you as it comes with a hole to easily mount the photo equipment. When it gets too dark, you can also use speedlights for more exposure to light using mounting brackets. Besides, the umbrella ribs are constructed with flexible fiberglass and steel shaft, making them a durable product.
Suitable for light bulbs and different types of brackets
Shafts made with aluminum offers great durability
Create images of low contrast with soft light
This package has a pack of two translucent white shoot-through umbrellas with 33 inches diameter each. They are constructed using high-quality nylon that bounces the flashlight to produce soft, even, and low contrast shadows over a large area. They allow up to 50% of transmission of light to achieve natural and attractive photographs.
Moreover, the photo umbrella works similarly to a large softbox at a low cost. It is also a multi-purpose product that is ideal for portrait photography, product photography, video shooting, and live streaming. Furthermore, this product is highly compatible with light bulbs, S-type brackets, and the strobe flash bracket.
There are various things to keep in mind while buying the best photo umbrella to get the perfect light for photography and videography. Below we have discussed different types of umbrellas, how to use them, and the factors to consider while looking for an ideal photo umbrella for you.
What Are The Various Types Of Photo Umbrellas?
Regardless of the type of photo umbrella you will use, the lamp or bulb always directs inward direction, i.e., towards the umbrella's ribs. Now, the question arises which side of the umbrella points to the subject? It relies on the type of umbrella you are using for photography. Below, we have discussed the various umbrella types and how to point them towards the subject while taking photographs.
Shoot Through Umbrellas
These umbrellas are mostly white in color. Their outer part faces the subject. It is done to lighten up the whole photo umbrella that illuminates all the walls and ceilings, reflecting the light towards the subject. If the walls have color tints, it impacts the shade of light falling on the subject.
The light spilled by the umbrella can also be used as the background of the subject. Since controlling the light in a shoot-through umbrella is a bit harder, we can control the light exposure with the change in the distance between the flash and the umbrella. The smaller the distance between them, the harder the light. Similarly, the farther the light source, the softer the light.
The reflective umbrellas are black from the outer side to prevent the light from escaping. Their inner part is directed towards the subject to throw the focused light. Thus, they give defined shadows of the same size, unlike shoot-through umbrellas that provide the broader soft light. Moreover, the reflective umbrellas offer more control and focus over light.
The inner part of the umbrella comes in three colors — white, silver, and golden. White inner offers the soft and broad reflected light, while the silver one is the brighter version of the white color. However, the golden umbrella provides warm source of light.
The parabolic umbrella is the same as that of the reflective umbrella, with the difference that it is rounder and deeper. Also, it has more fabric panels as compared to reflective one. We can easily adjust the lamp in the umbrella. When the lamp is at the focus of the parabolic umbrella, the light jumps off after reflection to form a soft-focused beam light that falls on the subject.
Some of the parabolic light reflectors come with an inner diffuser to make the light softer. We can adjust the distance between the bulb and umbrella to do experiments with light.
Sliding the light source right into the umbrella produces a hard light.
When the bulb is placed at the center of the rod, it lightens up the outer edge of the umbrella to give a soft directional light.
Placing the light source at the outer edge of the shaft throws light on the surface of the umbrella to create a focused soft light beam.
What Factors Should You Keep In Mind While Purchasing Photo Umbrellas?
While you are working in the studio, there won't be an issue with the umbrellas. But, when working outdoors, it is important to look for the product's durability as the wind, rain, and physical pressure have higher chances of ruining your umbrella. So, you must always look for umbrellas with top-quality fabric and strong frames for on-site shoots.
The size of the umbrella depends on your requirements. If you want a photo reflector that is easy to carry and gives a focused beam of light, you can look for solo models that are small in size. On the other hand, if you want to keep it in your studio and spill the light over a greater surface area, you can go for larger models.
Since there are many photo umbrellas available in the market, you can hit and try on the different umbrellas to see which umbrella is perfect for you. And, if you find your ideal umbrella, you can further upgrade the model of the same. This way, you can save your money from investing in some model that you no longer want to use.
How To Use Photo Umbrellas?
Mount The Photo Umbrella To The Light Source
Most of the strobe lights have a small hole to adjust the photo umbrella. But, if you want to achieve attractive and consistent light, then a flash bracket works best. It is a device that allows you to keep flash at a greater distance than the shoe-mounted or built-in flash. Moreover, it helps to control the light and lets you direct the flash according to your project. There’s a small hole in the flash bracket to slide in the umbrella and a knob to tighten up the grip.
Placing the Umbrella Towards The Subject
The placement of the umbrella towards the subject depends upon its type. If you are using a reflective umbrella, then the inner side of the photographic umbrella will face the subject. On the other hand, if you are using a shoot-through umbrella, then the outer part of the umbrella will face the subject.
Use Different Angles And Height For Different Patterns Of Light
Experimenting with different angles of light helps to create different patterns. For instance, facing the reflector towards the subject creates focused light, while facing it slightly away from the subject creates soft shadows. Moreover, the height of light also impacts photography. If you want the light to get more dimensions, make sure the height of the flash is higher than the subject. Likewise, if you need even light dispersed in the room, adjust the flash height lower than the subject.
What Is The Price Range Of Photo Umbrellas?
The cost of the most photo umbrellas available in the market range from $22 to $56. The variation in the price range depends on the number of products in a package. You can find one or two photo umbrellas for under 30 USD. However, you can get a complete lighting package that includes photo umbrellas, light stands, CFL bulbs, bulb sockets, and more for $30 to $60.
Photo Umbrella FAQs
Does the size of the umbrella matter?
Yes, the size of the umbrella makes a huge difference. The larger the size of an umbrella, the softer the light. Similarly, the smaller the size of the umbrella, the harder the light.
Does the distance between umbrella and light affect the pictures?
The distance between umbrella and light affects the reflection falling on the subject. The lesser the distance, the harder is the light that falls on your subject. To get soft shadows and evenly distributed light, you need to increase the gap.
What is the difference between shoot-through and reflective umbrellas?
Shoot-through umbrellas are white in color that gives soft shadows and large exposure of light. In contrast, reflective umbrellas are black in color with a silver inner lining that offers focused light and shadows of the same size as that of the reflector. There is less control of light in shoot-through umbrellas, whereas reflective ones offer more control of light.
Jordan and his wife own a small business that they run from their home. With a toddler underfoot, they’ve learned a lot about what equipment and organization helps to keep their business running and their home office setup family friendly.