Some Of My Favorite Lighting Tools

Every now and then, I get asked on how I create some of my photos.

"The lighting is crazy! How did you do that?!"

So I figured it would be cool to give a rundown on some of my lighting equipment (my umbrellas), and how I utilize these tools.

As crazy as it sounds, these two umbrellas are what I use for everything. There's certain qualities of light for certain situations thats more fitting per assignment, but I feel like these two options seal the deal for me. I personally don't like the "look" of more harsh light (silver bare reflective umbrellas, bare beauty dishes, bare flashes, reflectors, etc) when it comes to main lights, but I think they have their place for other uses. In most situations, its usually just an A or B decision on which of these umbrellas I choose from. I'll break it down a little bit:

This is the smaller of the options...Option A. I have 3 of these umbrellas just in case. They produce a soft quality of light due to the matte silver of the umbrella on the inside, plus the diffusion layer. They are small enough to be utilized in almost any situation, and would be my main choice if my option  B does not work on size of workspace.

36" from front

36" from side

36" lit from front

36" lit from side

Option B...This is my baby right here. Of course its pretty large (5ft), so I can only use this when the space allows for it. If I'm outdoors shooting and use this, I usually have to have an assistant since its also basically a giant sailboat. 

With this one, I have options when it comes to the quality of light I want as a result. Since its a bigger umbrella, the light may naturally be a little bit softer than a smaller umbrella, but theres still a nice "shimmer" when I use the bare umbrella. I can also add the layer of diffusion if I want to soften the light even more.

60" no cover

60" with diffusion

60" lit bare umbrella 

60" lit umbrella with diffusion layer

This is just a size reference to how big this beast is (lol).

One thing to keep in mind when it comes to choosing light modifiers...bigger does not always mean better.

Choosing a modifier is like balancing an equation; size, texture, diffusion, shape, and position all take affect on your overall quality of light. A few basics that make you decide:

1. The smaller the light, the more harsh the quality will be. The bigger the light, the softer it will be.

2. The closer the light is to the subject, the softer the light will be. The further the light from the the subject, the more harsh it becomes.

3. Bare umbrellas create a more harsh light than a diffused umbrella.

4. Deeper umbrellas create softer light; shallow umbrellas create more harsh light.

Last thing to add: These are NOT the only modifiers I own..just my favorite ones that stay in my bag at all times. If ever need other options for a particular project, I would utilize the required tools to achieve the mission.


Hope you liked this :)