Umbrella effect outdoor?

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by SlimPaul, Oct 9, 2009.

  1. SlimPaul

    SlimPaul TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2008
    Messages:
    437
    Likes Received:
    0
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    Hey,

    I'm planning on buying an SB-600 soon, for some more creative shots outdoor. I was wondering what I could use with the speedlight to soften the light. I know I can get an umbrella pretty cheap, but that's not really going to work too well in the field. I've also read about diffusers (like omnibounce) but I'm not sure if it's going to bring the best results. If you know any good ways to achieve great lighting from one flash without any umbrellas please let me know. Help appreciated.

    Thanks, Paul
     
  2. Buckster

    Buckster Been spending a lot of time on here!

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2009
    Messages:
    6,399
    Likes Received:
    2,334
    Location:
    Way up North in Michigan
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    What is it you're planning to shoot, and why won't an umbrella work?
     
  3. Garbz

    Garbz No longer a newbie, moving up!

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2003
    Messages:
    9,713
    Likes Received:
    203
    Location:
    Brisbane, Australia
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    You need to increase the size of your light source. The Omnibounce does this to a very very very tiny extent compared to an umbrella.

    As Buckster said why wouldn't it work? A fast shutter speed to bring down the ambient light, and a silver reflective umbrella for maximum efficiency is something a lot of other people use just fine with their Speedlights.
     
  4. Double H

    Double H TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2007
    Messages:
    550
    Likes Received:
    24
    Location:
    Around the corner from the Turkey Hill, PA
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    SB800 through a 40" umbrella camera left, I think I was at about 1/2 power, fired by pocket wizard plus IIs. Works great for me!

    [​IMG]
     
  5. IgsEMT

    IgsEMT No longer a newbie, moving up!

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2009
    Messages:
    2,694
    Likes Received:
    48
    Location:
    NYC
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    Umbrellas are great both indoors and outdoors. The only issue I can imagine you might have using one, is time. My kid is 2 and setting up one (2minutes) means she lost the interest thus at home I don't use it much.
    Omnibounce is really nice indoors but leaves ugly shadows behind the subject if you're subject is close to the wall.
    My solution is foam paper and shooting through it at around full power. It softens up the light really nice, costs about $0.99 thus if gets destroyed its only 99cents. You can get one at Arts&Crafts store.

    Good Luck
     
  6. Buckster

    Buckster Been spending a lot of time on here!

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2009
    Messages:
    6,399
    Likes Received:
    2,334
    Location:
    Way up North in Michigan
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    I don't see how that would give a very large source of light relative to the subject, especially if you're using it on camera somehow.

    The stofens and other small-head style diffusers work okay if you're bouncing off ceilings and walls, because they effectively turn ceilings and walls into very large sources of light, relative to the subject. Outdoors, without a ceiling and walls to bounce off of, they aren't nearly as effective, and it's usually necessary to break out a bigger panel of some sort. The easiest, quickest and least expensive of those is the umbrella.
     
  7. NateS

    NateS TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2007
    Messages:
    2,753
    Likes Received:
    40
    Location:
    Missouri
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    Merely bouncing the light off the ceiling or wall is what makes them the large sources of light. You don't really need an omnibounce for that.

    Outdoors, the omni bounce does very little except rob usable flash power. I did a test on some outdoor macros awhile back and I got identical harshness/softness from using the omnibounce versus no diffuser.

    Indoors the only time that I find the omni bounce useful is if the ceilings are too tall to bounce well, or if you need a bit of catch light forward for the eyes when bouncing to the ceiling. I personally think a bounce card style "diffuser" to throw some light forward would be better indoors.....my problem is that I swictch between portrait and landscape modes a lot when shooting with kind of throws the bounce card type out the window (doesn't work so well in portrait).

    I used to use the omnibounce outside ALL the time. Now I just use the bare flash ....or just get out the umbrella.
     
  8. Buckster

    Buckster Been spending a lot of time on here!

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2009
    Messages:
    6,399
    Likes Received:
    2,334
    Location:
    Way up North in Michigan
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    While you don't need it, it does help spread the light more than the direct light without diffusion by bouncing off in all directions, not just in the direction the light is pointing, and every bit helps.

    For the situation that I think he's going for (portraiture), we're in agreement, though I've seen Joe McNally use them outdoors, stating that while they don't help much, they do help some, and he'll take it as a quick resort. Again, it goes to the "every bit helps" idea.

    I've done the same tests, and found that there was enough of a difference in diffusing and softening the light for me to use them for my macro shooting.

    I'm getting better results with them than you are, I guess, because I see a noticeable difference between using them and not.

    Twist your flash head sideways and then when you go into portrait mode just flip it 90 degrees.

    Gary Fong demonstrates the technique in this vid:

    When using anything more than natural light, I prefer to use an umbrella, softbox or even a panel, even outdoors, except for macros as noted above. My last resort in any situation is a bare flash, but that's just me.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 11, 2014
  9. SlimPaul

    SlimPaul TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2008
    Messages:
    437
    Likes Received:
    0
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    Thanks for your replies guys. I guess an umbrella is the best way to go after all. Buckster, I wanted to shoot my friends outside the school, and we'll probably be moving a lot so setting up and moving an umbrella might be a bit of trouble. I might just buy a small umbrella (without the stand) and ask someone to hold it for me.

    P.S. Just in case I couldn't bring an umbrella with me, do you suggest getting lightsphere over the omnibounce?
     
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2009
  10. Double H

    Double H TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2007
    Messages:
    550
    Likes Received:
    24
    Location:
    Around the corner from the Turkey Hill, PA
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    A single stand and umbrella are not that much work, and if you are shooting a group, there's always someone willing to help you out. And a stand can get higher than someone's arm. I use one anytime I shoot portraits/wedding formals outdoors, and I have never had to carry my stand.
     
  11. Buckster

    Buckster Been spending a lot of time on here!

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2009
    Messages:
    6,399
    Likes Received:
    2,334
    Location:
    Way up North in Michigan
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    That's a great solution. Nothing easier and more versatile than a light stand you can move and reposition with just your voice! (assistants are great!) ;)

    Something to keep in mind on any occasions that you do actually use a stand with umbrella outdoors though - weight it down with sandbags, bricks, rocks, backpack or whatever else you can find, so that a breeze doesn't catch the umbrella like a sail and blow it over and bend up your umbrella ribs or stem or something.
     
  12. NateS

    NateS TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2007
    Messages:
    2,753
    Likes Received:
    40
    Location:
    Missouri
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    Omnibounce works fine for me indoors, I just lose too much light above and too much gets sent forward leaving me with more shadows behind my subject than by using only the flash head itself with bouncing.

    Outdoors....well, you really aren't getting a larger source of light by much with the omnibounce. I think the biggest difference you see is with the fact that you are getting less light from the flash which is obviously going to make it not as harsh. I've gotten nearly identical results from just using my flash at -1.7 without the flash as with 0 and the omnibounce.

    For the macro tests....I did the exact same shots with and without the omnibounce....literally no difference. Not sure why we are getting different results. I use my shoot through umbrella on macros when I can and THAT makes a huge difference for softening the light on bugs and flowers.

    With a bounce card type (not the Gary Fong type) diffuser, you are still in a pickle when you twist the flash head to bounce the celiing. You end up with the bounce card pointing light toward a side wall instead of in front when you go into portrait orientation. No way around this without twisting the bounce card on the flash head each time you swith orientation.



    All of that said, there is no harm in using the omnibounce outdoors unless you are having problems with getting enough flash power. If you are getting enough light output out of it and think it's helping, might as well keep using it.


    Edit: Just watched the video and his style of bounce card is different than the ones I usually see. I'll have to check into that.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 11, 2014

Share This Page

Search tags for this page
effect of umbrella flash
,
omnibouce sb800,omnibouce sb800,
,
sb800 on umbrella reflector outdoor
,
umbrella for outdoor photography
,
umbrella lightstand for outdoor photography
,

umbrella outdoor photography

,
use of umbrellas in outdoor photography
,

using flash umbrella outside

,
using umbrella flash outdoors
,
using umbrella outdoor photography