Today we are going to run and gun with umbrellas. Umbrellas have been the main stay of light modification in photography from the beginning. They are a lightweight, cheap, portable way to modify the light. We will concentrate on the large 72-inch umbrellas and see how we can create different looks with them. We will apply some of the interesting things that we learned in our past lesson, Umbrellas 101. Let's get started and see what we can do.
1. We are going to start by turning our 72-inch umbrella into a soft window light. I placed the umbrella to camera left to imitate one of the rows of windows. This created a strong key light resembling the sun coming through the window. Then we added a 72 inch Lite Panel with a white cover as a fill.
2. Here is the shot at 1/80 of a second and f 7.1. I’m using the Tamron 24-70mm lens at 70mm. There are no lights and no fill in this image.
3. Next we added our light to give us the feeling of sunlight. I like using strobes to reinforce the light and look that already exists. The light looked great but needed a fill to open up the shadows. Here are some of the images from our first set up.
4. Here is another image with just ambient light. The lighting concept is the same here but I have gone to 38mm. I see more of the room's floor. My desire is to see the curtains blur in the background so I am moving my shutter speed to 1/25th of a second and f16. I don’t mind the deep depth of field as long as I can see motion in the curtains with the long shutter speed.
5. Here is our light on her face. I have placed it higher to create a nice Rembrandt light on her face. I will still use the Lite Panel as a fill.
6. I played around with blurring the background. I was handholding the camera at 1/25th of a second. I know that is not a good idea unless you are planning on the strobe freezing her action and allowing the motion of the camera to blur the BG. I would make large movements. In this silhouette we see that everything is moving and blurring. During the movement the strobe goes off and gives this effect.
7. Let's move on to our next set up. We’re going to switch to the 72 inch silver umbrella. I’m going to backlight her and allow the white curtain to bounce the light back onto her face.
8. The Umbrella acts as a rim light and bounce onto her face. I’m at 200mm and f11 at 1/60th of a second. The silver gives us a nice rim light.
9. We next turned the silver 72-inch umbrella into a beauty light. It was high above my head and a single source on her face. I’m standing right next to the stand holding the light. It’s such a large source that it acts as a key light and creates some fill as well. We placed a fan from camera left to bring her hair alive.
10. Here is our ambient light reading. To overpower the sunlight I shot at 1/80 of a second at f18. She is pretty much a silhouette.
11. We next added our single light on her face. This is in a butterfly position and creates wonderful shadow lines under her cheekbones and under her nose. This light position and specula quality of light is a softer broader version of a beauty dish.
12. An interesting thing was happening in this set up. At an 80th of a second the strobe shutter was starting to clip the image causing a vignette from the bottom of the image. I liked the look but knew it made no sense for this 72-inch umbrella to vignette like this on the bottom.
13. When I moved my shutter speed to 1/60th of a second it cleans right up. This is caused when the shutter starts to close while the strobe is still firing. The flash duration is too long for an 80th of a second. This depends on the power setting of the strobe. At 1/60th many strobes will start to vignette. I went back to 1/80 because I like the look.
14. For the last lighting set up we moved the 72-inch umbrella in front of one of the windows. I used it to clean up the light that was already coming through the window.
15. Here is our exposure at 1/60th of a second and f14. It’s too dark and needs that open window looking light.
16. By adding a strobe head I get the nice window light and don't blow out the curtains and windows in the BG. I opened the shutter up to 1/30th of a second and added the 72-inch umbrella, shooting through the umbrella. It’s a soft and open light. Keep those cameras rolling and keep on clickn'.
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