Soften Your Lighting: LimoStudio Photo Umbrella
If you have followed my previous reviews, you are well on your way to creating beautiful studio quality photos for a minimal investment. The real secret to “beautiful” is the quality of the light. Flashes tend to be a bit harsh and cause sharp shadows. The trick is to use soft light. That’s why people in outdoor shots look beautiful on cloudy days. The trick for when you don’t have that cloud cover or if you are shooting indoors, is to soften the light source yourself. The easiest way is to use some diffusion on the light or in front of the light.
If you look at the bracket that I recommended to hold your flash,
you will see a hole halfway up that is intended to permit the use of a photo umbrella to be mounted. Putting the umbrella between the light and subject will diffuse the light. The rule of thumb is “the larger the light source, the softer the light.” So I am recommending a 43″ umbrella that you should shine the light through and place it as close to the subject as possible without getting it in the shot.
I have found a very inexpensive umbrella from LimoStudio.
Don’t forget to keep the light at a 45 degree angle to the side and above the subject for “perfect” wrap around lighting. You can experiment with moving it to the side to 60 or 80 degrees for a more dramatic “Old Hollywood” look but understand that this increases the nose shadows and any facial features, so it is not for all faces. You can have the model facing this more angled light, which will give a great dramatic shot.
Phil Ramuno is an award-winning director, producer, writer, photographer, teacher and published author. He is currently directing BzS – the Business Spotlight Webisode Series specializing in small business and corporate video production in Los Angeles, California.