Sunday, June 28, 2009

Lighting Notes - Part 1 of 3 - Umbrellas

I'm just going to do a little three part entry talking about a couple of modifiers I used for my shoot the other day and how the compare to the full-sized versions. If you want more of a full lighting tutorial look for the Lighting 101 series at Strobist.

I'm not a huge umbrella fan but I thought I'd revisit them for this. They're cheap, and outside they tend to catch the wind and fly away (!) and indoors they tend to spew light all over a small space. On the plus side they're the easiest way to have a pretty big light source, and maybe you don't care about light spill for a lot of fill purposes.

Note that I use shoot-through umbrellas - so the light is flashing into the inside of the umbrella, the light shoots out what would be the top if it were a rain umbrella, and that's pointed at the model.

With the color one it's just one light behind and to the left of Maria, with the light sweeping across her. Looks good, but with a more directed source (anything with a grid, really) the background would have been black instead of dark grey. We'll actually see this tomorrow when I use a different modifier from the same position. With the black and white shot it's the same thing, but there's a second light to the right that's sweeping right across her. Note in this shot the light's hitting the background in kind of an unfortunate way - you can just make out the shadow of an umbrella cast on the right hand side of the model.

Basically my conclusion is the same as before - they're fine, they work, but given the kind of control and look I like they're probably not going to be my go-to modifier.

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