umbrellas and reflectors

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by puyjapin, Jan 27, 2010.

  1. puyjapin

    puyjapin TPF Noob!

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    i managed to pick up some old bowens monolites....with old stands in working order. please could someone answer a couple of questions

    firstly if i buy some umbrellas to diffuse the light what is the relevance of the different colours...i was planning on buying a couple of white ones initially...
    and also i notice there are no silver dish reflectors that fit on the end of the flash head... are these essential??
     
  2. Christie Photo

    Christie Photo No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    It's pretty much what you might imagine. White umbrellas will give you a softer, less directional light than silver. Gold umbrellas will provide warmer light than white. Don't forget to consider size too.


    Essential? Well, no. They would help direct all the light into an umbrella. I take them off when using a soft-box.

    -Pete
     
  3. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    The need for umbrella reflectors (usually around 5 to 7 inches in diameter) when used with umbrellas depends somewhat on the length of the flashtube and the design of the "face" of the monolight, in the area where the flash tube plug into the monolight itself. On some flash units, with long, large flashtubes (like Speedotron 100 series flash heads for example), when you use an umbrella without a 7 inch reflector, the flashtube disperses a pretty fair amount of light that goes all around the shooting area. On some monolights that have a very short, compact flash tube which is set into kind of a slight depression, that depression and the compact,short flash tube acts almost like a reflector. Some monolight systems have what is known as a "spill-kill" reflector, which is often a very short,compact,simple reflector that is designed to prevent spill light from flooding the shooting area.

    Enclosed umbrellas like the excellent Lastolite Umbrella Box, or the Photek Softlighter, can be used with or without a reflector. I highly recommend the Lastolite Umbrella Box. it produces a nice light quality, and since the entire flash head is enclosed, it keeps all the light going "forward" toward the subject, and prevents a lot of stray light from bouncing around the shooting area. Lastolites are manufactured in the UK.

    Silvered, metallized umbrellas, like the Speedotron Super Silver model for example, produce bright, crisp, somewhat specular light that will reflect a bit more off of skin on noses,foreheads, etc. This is an excellent type of umbrella for using on B&W shots. Dull-finished white interior reflecting umbrellas with black backs tend to give softer,more-diffused light that is less-specular than the Super Silver type umbrellas. Shoot-through umbrellas tend to send half of the light forward toward the subject, and half of ther light backwards, causing the spill light to go in all directions, especially in small rooms, or where the umbrella happens to be close to a wall; this can cause a LOT of what is called "ambient spill", which leads to a lower-contrast image and weaker color saturation and a sickly, cheezy light quality that I think looks sub-optimal. (I think very poorly of most shoot-through umbrellas, after having used them for quite some time.)
     
  4. puyjapin

    puyjapin TPF Noob!

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    so do the silver, black, gold umbreallas get used in front of the flash or other purposes? i was just going to get some cheap white umbrellas first ....
     
  5. Christie Photo

    Christie Photo No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Rob... usually the strobe is pointed into the umbrella, allowing it to "bounce" back. In some applications, the strobe shoots through the umbrella. You can get cheap umbrellas that can be used either way.

    -Pete
     
  6. puyjapin

    puyjapin TPF Noob!

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    so if the light is bouncing back does that mean the strobe is not pointing at the subject as in the inside of the umbrella is??
     
  7. Christie Photo

    Christie Photo No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Yes... that's right. That's how umbrellas are most often used.

    -Pete
     
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2010
  8. kundalini

    kundalini Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Lastolite's School of Photography has some pretty decent tutorials about well, lots of stuff and it is bent towards their product, but can to adapted to any gear you have on hand.

    This tutorial is about their TriFlash Bracket, but it goes into using umbrellas.
     
  9. puyjapin

    puyjapin TPF Noob!

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    ive bought 2 translucent shoot throughs on e bay, very cheap and probably not the best quality. im guessing a couple of silver ones would be very useful now. i was considering the multi use ones but they still work out much more expensive than 2 white ones and 2 silver ones on e bay. i realise i am compromising quality but i want to try and do some studio stuff on a budget. i managed to get 2 bowens monolites 400s and some old stands for £65 ! which i thought was very cheap? also thinking of what to use as some cheap backdrops... bed sheets??? different colours??
    thanks for all your advice as well!
     
  10. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    Quote: "....2 bowens monolites 400s and some old stands for £65"

    SCORE! That's a big score on two lights!
     
  11. puyjapin

    puyjapin TPF Noob!

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    i just need to learn how to use them!! had 4 modelling lamps as well , 2 at 275 watt and 2 at 500 watt!!
     

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