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What Umbrella Do I Need?

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BY Quentin Décaillet May 09, 2017 · Published by Elinchrom

Umbrellas are the perfect tool for both starters and advanced photographers. It's a great and inexpensive tool to experiment with lighting. They produce a soft light well-suited to wedding and portraiture photography


Why Umbrellas?

All in one

What makes umbrellas so interesting is the light weight, the portability, the fast opening system, and its affordable price!

But when buying an umbrella, it's important to know which one to use for your photography style.

Let’s take a closer look together and see which one you should get.

Size and Space

The first thing to consider is size.

Elinchrom offers umbrellas in either 105 cm or 85 cm.

The choice is a matter of whether you intend to shoot outdoors, on location, or in a big studio.

So, if you have space and want a slightly softer quality of light, then 105 cm is perfect. 105 cm may not seem big at first but, if you shoot in your apartment, the 85 cm will probably be a better choice, leaving you with more space to refine your lighting.

The Umbrellas

Translucent

A great option for beginners

© Quentin Decaillet

The translucent is a great option for beginners with no experience with off camera flashes. It creates a very soft light, similar to a diffused window light.

What is so great about this kind of light is that it won’t make skin imperfections as visible as what a beauty dish or a silver umbrella would.

It’s also interesting when a wide spread of light is required. For example, wedding photographers will love this for group shots, while portrait and studio photographers may use it as a fill light.

Silver

The definite fashion photographer’s choice

© Quentin Decaillet

The silver umbrella is the definite fashion photographer’s choice. It’s fantastic in many ways.

As you can notice with the  comparative images, it offers great control over the spread of light.

The light is harder than with the translucent umbrella. The shadows are well defined and the highlights are crispier.

This kind of light is appreciated when details are key, which is why many fashion photographers use it – it makes fabrics’ details stand out like nothing else while being less harsh than a metallic reflector.

2-in-1

2 umbrellas for the price of 1

© Quentin Decaillet

As starter in the flash photography, you may want to invest in an umbrella with a removable cover. This way you can use it as both a reflective or as a shoot-through/translucent umbrella.

Remove the black reflective fabric and you have a translucent umbrella. Need more control over the light? Put the reflector back on and you have a reflective umbrella.

It’s also a great tool as a backup light shaper because it’s versatile and doesn’t eat space at all!

Comparison

Takeaways

No matter what umbrella you go for, you will love it!

Soft light

Umbrellas do a fantastic job to softly illuminate the subject in a very simple way.

Portable

Umbrellas are very small and can easily be stored and taken anywhere.

Easy set up

Everyone knows how to unfold an umbrella.

Inexpensive

Photography gear is usually quite expensive, umbrellas are not.

Get all of them and start to experiment and find out what works best for you.

Have fun, be creative, and make great pictures!



Category:
Color Management and Workflow
Lighting

Featured photographer: Quentin Décaillet

Featured gear:
Umbrella Shallow Translucent 41"
Umbrella Shallow Silver 41"
Umbrella Shallow White/Translucent 41"
Umbrella Deep Silver 41"
Umbrella Deep White 41"

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