Photography Studio and Lighting Forum

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  1. #1
    Member benjikan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Canadian in France

    The Umbrella Light (Brolly) Controversy

    The Umbrella Light (Brolly) Controversy

    I never would have expected that sharing my "GENERALIST" view of a lighting technique could cause such a stir. In fact it was based on a personal preference only and was NOT written for any other reason but to challenge you to think about the why and how one might consider the tool they wish to employ for a certain effect.

    Now in reading many of the responses to my essay, it seems that I could perhaps give greater clarification to what I stated.

    When ever there are adverts for lighting kits, they are generally shown sold with a soft box and an umbrella or two. So I can understand where the "Got it with the kit. May as well use it..." conditioning comes from. Personally, I find that rather unfortunate,as this inadvertently sets up a mind set about what studio lighting is and in my opinion falsely represents. I would prefer if flash heads, continuous lighting kits and mono blocks were just sold as is and the client could then be informed of the optional accessories available and what they can produce as a result of using them.

    An umbrella is in fact a very interesting utility if understood and applied creatively. Like all light modifiers, they create an ambiance that is unique to the manner it diffuses light. I recently saw an illustration that made me laugh. It was showing how to set up an umbrella and the distance from the light source. It showed the light source close to the center of the umbrella with a "No No" sign next to it and then another far from the center of the light source with another "No No" sign next to it. Finally hey showed what they considered the proper placement of the light source within the umbrella. That was a "Yes Yes" sign. All of that is utter nonsense, as there is NO proper placement. It all depends on how concentrated the light source you want will be.

    Lighting is a very complex art form and to master it takes several life times in my opinion. There are absolutely "ZERO" rules about how to light and what is correct or incorrect. If what you are attempting to do or NOT works out as desired or as a pleasant surprise, that is what it is all about. Hopefully you will have logged how you attained that pleasant mistake, so that you can replicate it again.

    What is more important than the umbrella, light-box, snoot, bowl, opalite, kino light etc., is the capturing of an image that is poignant, powerful and meaningful. The tool you captured it with is meaningless if what you captured leaves a lasting impression on those viewing it.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails The Umbrella Light (Brolly) Controversy-inthemoodsmall.jpg  

  2. #2
    project forum co-moderator Frog's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    wa state

    Re: The Umbrella Light (Brolly) Controversy

    I know nothing about studio lighting. I did read your first 'umbrella' post and the replies.
    I think most of the objections came from the feeling you may have inadvertantly given that those who do use umbrellas, are somehow not good at what they do or the results they get.
    I will say that I like the lighting effect on this posted picture a lot, well except for that one bright spot on the right.
    I try to get use natural light because I have no lighting equipment other than a single sb800 flash and I haven't figured out how to use that to its potential yet.
    For myself, I do like civil controversy, as it lets me discover different views about something I may someday explore and I generally look at all sides and then go off on my own.
    Keep Shooting!


    Please refrain from editing my photos without asking.

  3. #3
    mod squad gahspidy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    N.Y. U.S.A.

    Re: The Umbrella Light (Brolly) Controversy

    Excellent image and great post, Ben
    frog, that bright spot is a light in the doorway.
    please do not edit and repost my photos


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