Shoot through umbrella question

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by schuylercat, Apr 22, 2008.

  1. schuylercat

    schuylercat TPF Noob!

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    Anyone use shoot through umbrellas? I have a pair of 580EX's and a ST-E2 remote, and am looking for solution for shooting couples/family shots of 4-6 people max. Strobist has a couple of articles about using shoot throughs for a single sitter (including the one stating he'll never shoot reflector again, but that's another story), and the look of the example shot was simple, contrasty, and tight.

    Anyone here use shoot throughs for larger groups/more complex arrangements? Please tell me about it.

    Better: how about an engagement shot (in dress/tux or out of dress/tux: whatever), indoor, location shot? I am looking to buy a pair of 45" Westcotts/Photoflexes, and would like to hear your experience/suggestions.
     
  2. gryphonslair99

    gryphonslair99 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    I think you are going to have a hard time getting good lighting for a group of 4-6 with that small of shoot thru and 580's. I have only done groups that size with an 86" shoot thru and studio strobes. Maybe someone else knows a technique that you could use with the equipment you mention that would work.
     
  3. Village Idiot

    Village Idiot No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    A 43" collapsible that they use on Strobist can cover a wide area if you position it correctly. I did pick up a 60" that I'll probably try using with two strobes. At least with the 60", you don't have to worry about over spill from the flash.
     
  4. gryphonslair99

    gryphonslair99 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Now you are going to make me go try it just to see with a pair of 580's or 383's for that matter and my two 43" convertable's. :D
     
  5. schuylercat

    schuylercat TPF Noob!

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    Thanks guys - I have done some more reading and as long as I only have the two 580's there's no need to get shoot throughs larger than 45". At full power these flashes make a pretty big pop, but I suspect it'll never be big enough unless I reflect rather than shoot through. I have a very old pair of 40" silver reflectors (no swivels or stands yet), and no experience with them.

    The shoot I'm scheduled for is up in Alberta in June, and there are tons of well-lit outdoor spaces I can go to for natural light shots. I'll use the umbrellas for bride/groom portraits I think. I'll have a month to experiment as well, so long as I place my order today: pair of 45's (I'm gonna go look at Strobist and see what that 43" was, VI), three swivels (one spare), three 9' stands (two for ligths, one for a 55" Photoflex white/gold reflector that's been rotting in my closet).

    Gryphonslair - if you do any experimentation...can you share it please? I'd love to see what you come up with using 580's, and any advice you gather would be greatly appreciated.

    And another question: convertables or just plain old shoot throughs? I have the silver ones, but I've read they are a little more harsh than white.
     
  6. Village Idiot

    Village Idiot No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    The 43" ers collapse. The stem slides into itself and folds down. it's like 12" long when carrying it.

    It doesn't matter how powerful your flash is for the coverage, it matters on the size of the umbrella and the positioning. There's an article on the strobist blog that details this. But the farther away the umbrella light source is, the more coverage and more power you'll need. It's completely possible to overshoot your umbrella as well. Set the 580EX to 24mm zoom and but the umbrella close to a wall and shoot. You'll see the shadow of the light affected by the umbrella and then on the outside you'll see the hard light you get from firing over the edges of the umbrella.
     
  7. Early

    Early TPF Noob!

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    I see no mention of using a flash meter. It will take the hit or miss out of your group shots.
     
  8. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    A photography instructor of mine (and long time pro) said that he always preferred to reflect from an umbrella, rather than shoot through.
     
  9. schuylercat

    schuylercat TPF Noob!

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    VI - that's my first task: setting the whole mess up and experimenting with light overflow and such. I have one unobstructed big wall in my house (um...it's pink. Daughter's room) - I have some learning to do.

    Mike: I have read about a few different schools of thought. Strobist had a recent entry that stated "90% of the time..." he'd use shoot-through. I've not done either, so it's off to practice, practice, practice. I will be getting a pair of 45" convertibles to start, and I have a pair of VERY old 35" silver umbrellas to play with too (inherited them from an old girlfriend's brother). It'll be fun!
     
  10. JerryPH

    JerryPH No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    shoot through an umbrella with battery powered strobes and 6 people? Not going to happen... well not if you want good results.

    You will get a little improvement if you bounce off an umbrella and an even BETTER improvement if you shoot WITHOUT an umbrella at all !

    Shoot direct flash and enjoy the best results your strobes can offer you. Set the strobes to shoot medium-wide, BTW. ;)
     
  11. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Good point.

    Hot-shoe flash units can put out a lot of light...but their affect is greatly reduced when you use a diffuser. This is partially because they use a front lens element like a Fresnel lens, which focuses and directs the light. When you diffuse the light beam, a lot of the power is lost because it's not a focused beam anymore.

    Of course, not using a diffuser will mean harder light...so, like everything else, it's a trade off.
     
  12. schuylercat

    schuylercat TPF Noob!

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    Hmm.

    Outdoor, then. Late afternoon. Have to find a good spot. Speedlites on stands on my right and left, parallel for fill. I'm going to gather a group of my neighbors and pratice, see where ETTL takes me, then transit to manual from there. Thanks Jerry & Mike.

    The couple, on the other hand, will be indoors for a few sessions. This is going to get tricky. Maybe that Strobist article on hacking my flash to 12,000,000 watt/sec of output will help. What the heck. They're only $400 a piece... :er:
     

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